Lyrics By Don Black, with Friedman, Mead, Webb and More, Plays London Palladium Aug. 17 | Playbill

News Lyrics By Don Black, with Friedman, Mead, Webb and More, Plays London Palladium Aug. 17
The recent 70th birthday of Don Black — the Oscar-winning "Born Free" lyricist who has also penned lyrics to Andrew Lloyd Webber's scores for Tell Me on a Sunday, Aspects of Love and Sunset Boulevard — is being marked with a gala concert at the London Palladium Aug. 17.

The evening, entitled Lyrics By Don Black, will be recorded for broadcast Aug. 22 on BBC Radio 2 as part of Friday Night is Music Night.

Veteran talk show host Michael Parkinson will introduce performances from a cast that is scheduled to include Jonathan Ansell, Gary Barlow, Elkie Brooks, Craig David, Maria Friedman, Raza Jaffrey, Joe Longthorne, Lee Mead, Ryan Molloy (currently to be found playing Frankie Valli in the London production of Jersey Boys), Mica Paris, Matt Rawle (currently playing the title role of Zorro), Marti Webb and Hayley Westenra. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is leading the festivities, with Mike Dixon as the musical director and David Arnold as a guest conductor.

Black, who celebrated his 70th birthday June 21, began his career working in music publishing, where he worked as an office boy and later a song-plugger and was a sometime stand-up comic. He was later personal manager to singer Matt Monro. His movie lyric credits include the themes to the James Bond films "Thunderball," "Diamonds Are Forever," "The Man with the Golden Gun," the song "Surrender" from "Tomorrow Never Dies" and "The World is Not Enough," all written with John Barry, with whom he also worked on the films "Out of Africa" and "Dances with Wolves."

His West End stage credits include Billy (to music by John Barry, that played at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1974 starring Michael Crawford), Bar Mitzvah Boy (to music by Jule Styne and based on Jack Rosenthal's 1976 television play, that played briefly at Her Majesty's in 1978), Dear Anyone (to music by Geoff Stevens, that played at the Cambridge in 1983) and Budgie (to music by Mort Shuman, again at the Cambridge, in 1988).

Tell Me on a Sunday, the song cycle that he wrote with Andrew Lloyd Webber, was first performed at Lloyd Webber's private Sydmonton Festival in 1979, and subsequently recorded as an album and TV special, before being incorporated into Song and Dance, premiered at the Palace Theatre in 1982. It was also seen in a revised version on Broadway in 1985. Black also worked with Lloyd Webber on Aspects of Love (premiered at the Prince of Wales in 1989, and subsequently seen at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre in 1990, for which he was jointly credited for the lyrics with Charles Hart), and Sunset Boulevard (premiered at the Adelphi Theatre in 1993 and subsequently seen at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre in 1994, for which he was jointly credited with playwright Christopher Hampton for book and lyrics). In 2002 he joined forces with Indian composer AR Rahman to pen the lyrics to Bombay Dreams, which premiered at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and was subsequently seen at New York's Broadway Theatre in 2004. Other Broadway credits include the ill-fated The Prince and Aviator, which began previews at the Alvin Theatre Dec. 16, 1981 and closed Jan. 17, 1982, without ever officially opening, featuring music by John Barry; Merlin, which premiered at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in 1983, to music by Elmer Bernstein; Dance of the Vampires, the 2002 musical at the Minskoff Theatre for which he was credited with providing additional lyrics; and Dracula, the Musical, the 2004 musical at the Belasco for which he was jointly credited with Christopher Hampton for providing the book and lyrics to Frank Wildhorn's music.

According to press materials, Michel Legrand will also be on hand at the concert on Sunday to preview his collaboration with Black on a musical version of The Count of Monte Cristo.

For tickets contact the box office at 0844 412 4657.

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