Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber (born 22 March 1948) is a British composer of musical theatre, the elder son of William Lloyd Webber and also the brother of renowned cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. Lloyd Webber started composing at the age of six and published his first piece at the age of nine.
Lord Lloyd-Webber has achieved great popular success, with several musicals that have run for more than a decade both in the West End and on Broadway. He has composed 13 musicals, a song cycle, a set of variations, two film scores, and a Latin Requiem Mass. He has also gained a number of honors, including a knighthood in 1992, followed by a peerage, seven Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, seven Olivier Awards, a Golden Globe, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006. Several of his songs, notably "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from Evita, "Memory" from Cats, and "The Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera have been widely recorded and were hits outside of their parent musicals. His company, the Really Useful Group, is one of the largest theatre operators in London.
Producers in several parts of the UK have staged productions, including national tours, of Lloyd Webber's musicals under licence from the Really Useful Group.
He married his first wife, Sarah Hugill, on 24 July 1972, and had two children, Imogen (born 31 March 1977) and Nicholas (born 2 July 1979). Lloyd Webber and Hugill were divorced in 1983, and he married singer/dancer Sarah Brightman on 22 March 1984. He cast Brightman as Christine, the lead role in his musical, The Phantom of the Opera. They divorced in 1990 but remained friends.
He married his third wife, Madeleine Gurdon, on 9 February 1991, and they had three children: Alastair (born 3 May 1992), William (born 24 August 1993), and Isabella (born 30 April 1996). Alastair and William attend the prestigious boarding school Eton College.
Knighted in 1992, he was created an honorary life peer in 1997 as Baron Lloyd-Webber, of Sydmonton, in Hampshire (his title is hyphenated but his surname is not). In 2006, Sunday Times Rich List ranked him the 87th richest Briton with an estimated fortune of £700 million. His wealth increased to £750 million in 2007, but in the Sunday Times Rich List 2008 he slipped to 101st place. He also owns much of Watership Down, the down made famous by Richard Adams' novel. Politically, he has supported the UK's Conservative Party, allowing his song Take That Look Off Your Face to be used on a party promotional film seen by an estimated 1 million people in 80 cinemas before the 2005 UK General Election to accompany pictures of the country's Prime Minister Tony Blair allegedly "smirking", the party said.
Lord Lloyd-Webber is an art collector with a passion for Victorian art. An exhibition of works from his collection was presented at the Royal Academy in 2003 under the title Pre-Raphaelite and Other Masters – The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection. He is also a devoted supporter of Leyton Orient Football Club.
Lloyd Webber has two children from his first wife, Sarah Hugill:
Having divorced in 1983, he married Sarah Brightman in 1984. The couple divorced in 1990.
He married Madeleine Gurdon in 1991 with whom he has three children:
His current wife, Madeleine, became Lady Lloyd Webber in 1992 when her husband was knighted, and Lady Lloyd-Webber (officially Baroness Lloyd-Webber) when her husband was created a life peer in 1997.
Around this time, Lloyd Webber and Rice also wrote a number of individual pop songs that were recorded as singles for record labels. Wes Sands, Ross Hannaman, Paul Raven, and Gary Bond are among the many artists to have recorded early Lloyd Webber/Rice tunes. A selection of these early recordings were re-released on the 5-CD compilation, Andrew Lloyd Webber: Now and Forever (2003).
In 1967, Lloyd Webber and Rice wrote a song for the Eurovision Song Contest called "Try It and see", which was unsuccessful. The tune of this song eventually became the tune for "King Herod's Song" in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
In 1968, Lloyd Webber and Rice were commissioned to write a piece for Colet Court which resulted in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a retelling of the biblical story of Joseph in which Lloyd Webber and Rice humorously pastiche a number of musical styles such as Calypso and country music. The musical follows the light-hearted, irreverent tone of The Likes of Us but is more modern in style, with a closer affinity to contemporary pop music than its predecessor and reflecting a wider range of musical styles. Andrew Lloyd Webber, who is a devoted admirer of Elvis Presley, based the character of Pharaoh on the singer, who in turn recorded It's Easy for You, one of Lloyd Webber's compositions during his last session on 29 October 1976, and featured as the last track on the Moody Blue album. Joseph began life as a short cantata that gained some recognition on its second staging with a favourable review in The Times. For its subsequent performances, the show underwent a number of revisions by Lloyd Webber and Rice with the inclusion of additional songs that expanded the musical to a more substantial length. This culminated in a two hour long production being staged in the West End on the back of the success of their third musical, Jesus Christ Superstar (1970).
"Jesus Christ Superstar" had been released as a concept album starring Ian Gillan prior to being staged in the West End at the Lyceum Theatre. The musical is based on the last days in the life of Jesus Christ. While Joseph was intended as a light-hearted family show, the music in Jesus Christ Superstar is at times dark and unsettling, particularly in the scenes that deal with the crucifixion, the plotting priests and the conflict between Jesus and Judas. The rock idiom is used as a thematic device in Jesus Christ Superstar and the musical was billed as a Rock Opera in much the same way as Tommy by The Who had been before it. However, some of the music is inherently classical in style, particularly the instrumental passages such as John Nineteen: Forty-One and the more avant-garde music that accompanies the crucifixion scene. Unfortunately for some listeners, the main theme of this work is uncomfortably close to a melody from the 'Four Last Songs' of Richard Strauss.
The planned follow up to Jesus Christ Superstar was a musical comedy based on the Jeeves and Wooster novels by P. G. Wodehouse. Tim Rice was uncertain about this venture, partly because of his concern that he might not be able to do justice to the novels that he and Lloyd Webber so admired (Rice, 1999). After doing some initial work on the lyrics, he pulled out of the project and Lloyd Webber subsequently wrote the musical with Alan Ayckbourn who provided the book and lyrics. The musical, Jeeves, failed to make any impact at the box office and closed after a short run of only three weeks. Many years later Lloyd Webber and Ayckbourn revisited this project, producing a thoroughly reworked and more successful version of the musical entitled By Jeeves (1996). Only two of the songs from the original production remained ("Half a Moment" and "Banjo Boy").
The song "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" became a hit single and the musical was staged at the Prince Edward Theatre in a production directed by Harold Prince and starring Elaine Paige in the title role. The first Eva Peron on Broadway in NYC was played by Patti Lupone. She won a Tony for the role, and after experienced growth of nodes on her vocal cords. Much of the music in Evita is classical in style: the opening features a choral piece ("Requiem for Evita"), and there is a choral interlude in "Oh What a Circus". There are a number of instrumental passages throughout the musical such as the orchestral version of the "Lament" and the introduction to "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," all of which form an integral part of the framework of the composition. There is, however, quite an eclectic use of styles in Evita, with some gentle ballads such as "High Flying, Adored" and "Another Suitcase in Another Hall", and the rhythmic, Latinate styles prominent in pieces such as "Buenos Aires", "And the Money Kept Rolling in (And Out)" as well as the slower "On This Night of a Thousand Stars". There is some rock music that can be heard briefly in "Oh What a Circus", "Peron's Latest Flame" and "The Lady's Got Potential" (a rock song that was cut from the original production but reinstated for the 1996 film with revised lyrics by Tim Rice). Evita was a highly successful show that ran for ten years in the West End. It transferred to Broadway in 1979. Rice and Lloyd Webber parted ways soon after Evita.
Lloyd Webber then embarked on a solo project, the Variations (album), with his cellist brother Julian Lloyd Webber based on the 24th Caprice by Paganini. It was a massive hit in the United Kingdom reaching number two in the pop album chart (1978). The main theme is still used as the theme tune for London Weekend Television's long-running South Bank Show.
Starlight Express, a musical also directed by Trevor Nunn, is similar in its theatrical concept to Cats in that it also features dancers in costume representing non-human characters. However, unlike Cats, the music is mostly in the realm of disco and pop with one or two pastiche songs such as the Country and Western styled "U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D." In some ways this musical could be seen as more of a return to the style of Joseph, although the latter was more varied in its use of musical styles and influences. Starlight Express was a commercial hit but received negative reviews from the critics. It enjoyed a record run in the West End, but ran for less than three years on Broadway.
Lloyd Webber wrote a Requiem Mass which premiered in New York on 25 February 1985, at St. Thomas Church. This composition had been inspired by an article he had read about the plight of Cambodian orphans. It was dedicated to his father, William Lloyd Webber, who had died in 1982. Although this might seem like a surprising shift in direction from the modern musical, church music had been a part of the composer's upbringing and Lloyd Webber had on a number of occasions written sacred music for the annual Sydmonton Festival (Snelson, 2004). Lloyd Webber received a Grammy Award in 1986 for Requiem in the category of best classical composition. Perhaps surprisingly given the classical nature of the work, the Pie Jesu from Requiem achieved a high placing on the UK pop charts.
In 1986, Lloyd Webber premiered his next musical, The Phantom of the Opera, inspired by the 1911 Gaston Leroux novel. He wrote the part of Christine for his then wife, Sarah Brightman, who played the role in the original London and Broadway productions alongside Michael Crawford as the Phantom. The production was directed by Harold Prince, who had also earlier directed Evita. Charles Hart wrote the lyrics for the musical with some additional material provided by Richard Stilgoe, and Lloyd Webber co-wrote the musical's book with Stilgoe. Lloyd Webber's score is sometimes operatic in style but he maintains the form and structure of a musical throughout. The fully-fledged operatic writing is reserved principally for the subsidiary characters such as the theatre managers, Andre and Firmin; their Prima Donna, Carlotta; and principal tenor, Piangi. Fittingly, it is also used to provide the content of the fictional "operas" that are taking place within the show itself. Here, Lloyd Webber affectionately pastiches various styles from the grand operas of Meyerbeer through to Mozart and even Gilbert and Sullivan (Coveney, 1999). These pieces are often presented as musical fragments, interrupted by dialogue or action sequences in order to clearly define the musical's "show within a show" format. The musical extracts we hear from the phantom's opera, "Don Juan Triumphant", during the latter stages of the show, are much more dissonant and modern - suggesting, perhaps, that the phantom is ahead of his time artistically (Snelson, 2004). This is also displayed when The Phantom makes his entrance on the show's title song. Andrew had said himself that the title song was "Rock n' roll merely masquerading as opera." For the characters of Christine, the Phantom, and Raoul, the direct and "natural" style of modern song is used rather than the more decorative aspects of aria; their material provides the musical centre of the piece.
The musical became a phenomenal hit and is still running in both the West End and on Broadway; in January 2006 it overtook Cats as the longest running musical on Broadway.
Aspects of Love followed in 1989, a musical based on the story by David Garnett. The lyrics were by Don Black and Charles Hart and the original production was directed by Trevor Nunn. There was a noticeable shift of emphasis towards a quieter and more intimate theatrical experience; the staging and production values were less elaborate than Phantom of the Opera and Lloyd Webber chose to write for a smaller musical ensemble making the through composed score more akin to a chamber work. The musical had a successful run of four years in London but did not fare nearly as well on Broadway, where it closed after less than a year.
Lloyd Webber had toyed with the idea of writing a musical based on Billy Wilder's critically acclaimed movie, Sunset Boulevard, since the early 1970s when he saw the film, but the project didn't come to fruition until after the completion of Aspects of Love when the composer finally managed to secure the rights from Paramount Pictures The composer worked with two collaborators, as he had done on Aspects of Love; this time Christopher Hampton and Don Black shared equal credit for the book and lyrics. The show opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London on 12 July 1993, and ran for 1,529 performances. Patti LuPone, who had played the role of Eva Peron in the original Broadway production of Evita, was cast as Norma Desmond, a former silent film star who is shunned by Hollywood in the era of talking pictures. Lloyd Webber wrote for a larger musical ensemble than he had done on Aspects of Love; the sweeping romanticism of the overture and of Norma Desmond's themes echo the grandiose style associated with the golden era of Hollywood, whilst the jazz elements in the score and the restless quality of Joe Gillis's music are used, in contrast, to represent a more modern age. Although Sunset Boulevard is a book musical, the score is predominantly through-composed with much of the dialogue underscored and recitatives used at certain key moments between songs. In spite of the show's popularity and extensive run in London's West End, it lost money due to the sheer expense of the production.
Lloyd Webber's many other musical theatre works include Whistle Down the Wind, Song and Dance, The Woman in White and The Beautiful Game (musical) which has just been re-worked into a new musical The Boys in the Photograph which had its world premier at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in April 2008 . While some of his works have had enormous commercial success, his career has not been without failures, especially in the United States. Song and Dance, Starlight Express, and Aspects of Love, all successes in London, did not meet the same reception in New York, and all lost money in short, critically panned runs. In 1995, Sunset Boulevard became a very successful Broadway show, opening with the largest advance in Broadway history, and winning seven Tony Awards that year. However, owing to high weekly costs, it became the biggest economic musical failure in history, losing 25 million dollars. His subsequent shows (Whistle Down the Wind and The Beautiful Game) did not make it to Broadway, and his most recent musical The Woman in White closed after a very short run in New York. This closing is largely credited to many absences in the cast for many of the shows; only 39 of the 108 performances had the full cast. Maria Friedman and Michael Ball both missed shows frequently; the former was battling breast cancer and the latter suffered a throat infection.
Somewhat unusually, Lloyd Webber (along with Nigel Wright) was responsible for a 1992 Eurodance single featuring music from the computer game Tetris. Released under the name Doctor Spin, Tetris reached #6 on the UK charts, although Lloyd Webber's involvement was not publicised. He was also involved with Bombalurina's 1990 cover of "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (UK #1). The band, whose lead singer was children's TV presenter Timmy Mallett was named after a character in the musical Cats.
There have been a number of film adaptations of Lloyd Webber's musicals: Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) was directed by Norman Jewison, Evita (1996) was directed by Alan Parker, and most recently The Phantom of the Opera was directed by Joel Schumacher (and co-produced by Lloyd Webber). Lloyd Webber produced Bombay Dreams with Indian composer A. R. Rahman in 2002.
It was announced on 25 August 2006, on his personal website that his next project would be The Master and Margarita (however, Lloyd Webber has stated that the project will most likely be an opera rather than a musical).
In September 2006, Lloyd Webber was named to be a recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors with Zubin Mehta, Dolly Parton, Steven Spielberg, and Smokey Robinson. He was recognized for his outstanding contribution to American performing arts. He attended the ceremony on 3 December 2006; it aired on 26 December 2006.
On 11 February 2007, Lloyd Webber was featured as a guest judge on the reality television show Grease: You're the One that I Want! The contestants all sang "The Phantom of the Opera". On his website, Lloyd Webber announced that he was planning to write a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, based on the novel, The Phantom of Manhattan, by Frederick Forsyth, who will collaborate. The sequel is to be set in New York, although no further details have been given. In June 2007, parts of the new musical were inadvertently destroyed when Lloyd Webber's cat, Otto, climbed up on his Clavinova digital piano, jumped onto the computer that held the score, and caused the score to be erased.
Between April and June 2007, appeared in BBC One's Any Dream Will Do!, which followed the same format as How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?. Its aim was to find a new Joseph for his revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Lee Mead won the contest after quitting his part in the ensemble - and as understudy in The Phantom of the Opera to compete for the role. Viewers' telephone voting during the series raised more than £500,000 for the BBC's annual Children in Need charity appeal, according to host Graham Norton on air during the final.
Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group on 27 June 2007 announced that it would donate all receipts from two special benefit performances of the revived West End production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (starring Lee Mead) to Children in Need. The charity would benefit from ticket sales income from the 16 July booked-out preview and the sold-out performance on 16 November, the night of the annual Children in Need telethon. Cast members, the group said, would not get the usual first night gifts on 17 July – the money would, instead go to the Children in Need. Before the viewers' votes were known, Lloyd Webber told Lee Mead: "You're a fantastic performer...You're phenomenal. You're a great showman. You've got everything there."
On 1 July 2007, Lloyd Webber presented excerpts from his musicals as part of the Concert for Diana organized to celebrate the life of Diana, Princess of Wales. The finale was Any Dream Will Do sung by the movie Joseph, Donny Osmond, 1991's stage Joseph, Jason Donovan, and 2007 Joseph, talent search winner Mead. The concert was seen in full or in highlights shows in 140 countries by between 500 million and 1 billion, according to BBC One anchors Jamie Theakston and Claudia Winkleman on air.
On the 16 November, he appeared on BBC's Children in Need, donating a cheque for £166,000.
The BBC's Radio 2 broadcasted a concert of music from Lloyd Webber's shows on 24 August 2007. Denise Van Outen introduced songs from Whistle Down the Wind, The Beautiful Game, Tell Me on a Sunday, The Woman in White, Evita and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – as well as Rogers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, which Lloyd Webber revived in 2006 at the London Palladium and 2002's Lloyd Webber-produced Bollywood-style musical Bombay Dreams by A. R. Rahman and Don Black.
Among the artists that appeared were Lee Mead, voted by viewers to take the lead in Joseph in BBC One's 2007 television search for a star Any Dream Will Do; Connie Fisher, who won the lead in The Sound of Music in BBC One's first search for a new West End star, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?; former Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, who played Joseph in the 2003 tour of that show; Preeya Kalidas, cast opposite Mead in the 2007 revival of Joseph and the female lead in Bombay Dreams ; Elena Roger, the lead in the 2006 revival of Evita; Dean Collinson, appearing as Pharaoh in 2007's revived Joseph; Aoife Mulholland, the alternate for Connie Fisher as Maria in The Sound of Music; Duncan James, who had just come out of a West End revival of Chicago and The Capital Voices. Mike Dixon conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra. On 28 February 2008, Andrew made a guest star appearance in Hollyoaks, publicising a cross-over storyline involving the character Summer Shaw.
In April 2008, Lloyd Webber reprised his role as judge, this time in the BBC musical talent show, I'd Do Anything. The show followed a similar format to its 'Maria' and 'Joseph' predecessors, this time involving a search for an actress to play the role of Nancy in an upcoming West End production of the Lionel Bart musical Oliver! The show also featured a search for a young actor to play the title character, however the show's main focus was on the search for Nancy. The role was won by Jodie Prenger despite Lloyd Webber's stated preference for one of the other contestants. Also in April 2008 he was featured on the U.S. talent show American Idol, when the 6 finalists had to select one of Lloyd Webber's songs to perform for the judges that week.
Plus 9 additional nominations
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An Eminent Victorian Andrew Lloyd Webber Can Take Bad Reviews, but Hates Losing a Pre- Raphaelite Painting. by Robert Winder
Aug 16, 1998; The announcement that Lord Sherfield's pounds 60m collection of Pre- Raphaelite art will be exported to America will have annoyed...