The Day Before Spring

For five consecutive Sundays in June and July 2010, Nathan could be found in the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler's Wells, performing the role of Bill Tompkins in Lerner and Loewe's The Day before Spring, as part of the long-running and successful Lost Musicals Series.

The Lost Musicals have been running for around 20 years, under the guidance of director, Ian Marshall Fisher, with their central tenet being to provide modern audiences with an opportunity to see less well-known works by the very best musical theatre writers of the 20th Century.

The Day Before Spring was first performed on Broadway at the National Theatre (Now the Nederlander Theatre) in 1945, and ran for 167 performances. After that, it was pretty much forgotten about, and much of the music was completely lost. There was a production in 2007 in New York, but with many holes in the score remaining unfilled.

In July 2009, Dominic McHue, while researching his PHD on My Fair Lady (another show by the same writers), stumbled across a piano/vocal score for the entire show in a library in California. Some of the songs in the Sadler's Wells production wont have been heard for nearly 65 years!

The plot is very simple: Katherine and Peter Townsend have been married for ten years. For Katherine, the marriage has gone a little stale, and she fantasizes about what might have happened if she had eloped with her old love from University, a writer called Alex Maitland. Alex has written a popular novel called "The Day Before Spring," which stars a recognizable Katherine as its heroine, and demonstrates what her life might have been like if she had stayed with Alex, instead of marrying Alex.

Friends Bill and May arrive, to take Peter to their 10th anniversary college reunion. Bill is dismayed to learn that Katherine isn't coming, and tries to persuade her. When she realises that Alex will be there, making a speech, she can't resist, and decides to go after all

The rest of the piece shows a series of events where history from ten years before repeats itself, and Katherine is torn between Peter and Alex. She decides to leave Peter, and go off with Alex, in a repeat of what happened a decade earlier. She is helped to make this decision by the appearance of three historic figures: statues of Plato, Voltaire and Freud come to life to give her advice.

When their car breaks down (like ten years before), Peter arrives, (like ten years before), and Katherine eventually realises that she loves him too much to leave him, and returns home to him.

The Day Before Spring contains some of Loewe's most sumptuous melodies, even though it was written before they became really well known. In fact, Loewe "borrowed" from some of the songs in this show for later use! The middle section of My Fair Lady's "On the Streets Where You Live" (The bit that has the lyrics, "And oh the towering feeling, just to know somehow you are near.") has been lifted note for note, and chord for chord from the "You Haven't Changed at All" sequence in Act I.

The Day Before Spring had its first performance on June 20th 2010, and played on consecutive Sundays until July 11th.

PHOTOS

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Cast Details

Katherine Townsend
Madeleine Worrall
Peter Townsend
Henry Luxemburg
Bill Tompkins
Nathan Taylor
May Tompkins
Michele Moran
Alex Maitland
David Habbin
Eddie Warren
Matt Stevens
Joe McDonald
Stephen Reynolds
Josephine
Lisa Lynch
Nancy
Cristin Curtin
Gerald Barker
Vlach Ashton
Christopher Randolph
Kaisa Hammarlund
Plato
Christopher Connah
Voltaire
Tim Thomas
Freud
Harry Landis