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Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber was born in Kensington, London, the elder son of William Lloyd Webber (1914–1982), a composer, and Jean Hermione (née Johnstone; 1921–1993), a violinist and pianist. His younger brother, Julian Lloyd Webber, is a renowned solo cellist.
Lloyd Webber started writing his own music at a young age, a suite of six pieces at the age of nine. He also put on "productions" with Julian and his Aunt Viola in his toy theatre (which he built at the suggestion of Viola, of whom he was fond). Later, he would be the owner of a number of West End theatres, including the Palace. His aunt Viola, an actress, took him to see many of her shows and through the stage door into the world of the theatre. He also claims that he had originally set music to Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats at the age of fifteen.
In 1965, Lloyd Webber was a Queen's Scholar at Westminster School and studied history for a term at Magdalen College, Oxford, although he abandoned the course in Winter 1965 to study at the Royal College of Music and pursue his interest in musical theatre.
 Professional career
 Early years
Lloyd Webber's first collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice was The Likes of Us, a musical based on the true story of Thomas John Barnardo. Although composed in 1965, it was not publicly performed until 2005, when a production was staged at Lloyd Webber's Sydmonton Festival. In 2008, amateur rights were released via the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) in association with the Really Useful Group. The first amateur performance was by a children's theatre group in Cornwall called "Kidz R Us". Stylistically, The Likes of Us is fashioned after the Broadway musical of the '40s and '50s; it opens with a traditional overture comprising a medley of tunes from the show, and the score reflects some of Lloyd Webber's early influences, particularly Richard Rodgers, Frederick Loewe, and Lionel Bart. In this respect, it is markedly different from the composer's later work which tends to be either predominantly or wholly through-composed and closer in form to opera than to the Broadway musical.
Around this time, Rice and Lloyd Webber 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 1968, Rice and Lloyd Webber were commissioned to write a piece for the Colet Court preparatory school 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 Elvis-style rock'n'roll, Calypso and country music. 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, Rice and Lloyd Webber revised the show and added new songs to expand it 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 Jesus Christ Superstar.
In 1969 Rice and Lloyd Webber wrote a song for the Eurovision Song Contest called "Try It and See", which was not selected. The Demo version, sung by Rita Pavone (sounding remarkably like Lulu, for whom the song was written) is available on, 'Now and Forever' – The 5 CD box set. With rewritten lyrics it became "King Herod's Song" in their third musical, Jesus Christ Superstar (1970).
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. 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. 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 entitled By Jeeves (1996). Only two of the songs from the original production remained ("Half a Moment" and "Banjo Boy").
Lloyd Webber collaborated with Rice once again to write Evita (1976 in London/1979 in U.S.), a musical based on the life of Eva Perón. As with Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita was released first as a concept album and featured Julie Covington singing the part of Eva Peron. 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.
Patti LuPone created the role of Eva on Broadway for which she won a Tony. 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.
In 1978, Lloyd Webber embarked on a solo project, the "Variations", with his cellist brother Julian based on the 24th Caprice by Paganini, which reached number two in the pop album chart in the United Kingdom. The main theme was used as the theme tune for ITV1's long-running South Bank Show throughout its 32-year run.
Lloyd Webber embarked on his next project without a lyricist, turning instead to the poetry of T. S. Eliot. Cats (1981) was to become the longest running musical in London, where it ran for 21 years before closing. On Broadway, Cats ran for eighteen years, a record which would ultimately be broken by another Lloyd Webber musical, The Phantom of the Opera.
Starlight Express (1984) 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 two years on Broadway. The show has also seen two tours of the US, as well as an Australian/Japanese production, a three-year UK touring production, which transferred to New Zealand later in 2009. The show also runs full-time in a custom-built theatre in Bochum, Germany, where it has been running since 1988.
Lloyd Webber wrote a Requiem Mass dedicated to his father, William, who had died in 1982. It premiered at St. Thomas Church in New York on 24 February 1985. Church music had been a part of the composer's upbringing and the composition was inspired by an article he had read about the plight of Cambodian orphans. Lloyd Webber had on a number of occasions written sacred music for the annual Sydmonton Festival. Lloyd Webber received a Grammy Award in 1986 for Requiem in the category of best classical composition. Pie Jesu from Requiem achieved a high placing on the UK pop charts.
Cricket (1986), also called Cricket (Hearts and Wickets), reunited Lloyd Webber with Tim Rice to create this short musical for Queen Elizabeth's 60th birthday, first performed at Windsor Castle. Several of the tunes were later used for Aspects of Love and Sunset Boulevard.
Lloyd Webber also premiered The Phantom of the Opera in 1986, 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 Phantom with some additional material provided by Richard Stilgoe, with whom Lloyd-Webber co-wrote the book of the musical. It became a 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. Aspects had a run of four years in London but closed after less than a year on Broadway. It has since gone on a tour of the UK, and is beginning to enjoy more acclaim than its original production.
Lloyd Webber was asked to write a song for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and composed "Amigos Para Siempre — Friends for Life" with Don Black providing the lyrics. This song was performed by Sarah Brightman and José Carreras.
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. 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.
In 1994, Sunset Boulevard became a successful Broadway show, opening with the largest advance in Broadway history, and winning seven Tony Awards that year. Even so, by its closing in 1997, "it had not recouped its reported $13 million investment."
In 1998, Lloyd Webber released a film version of Cats, which was filmed at the Adelphi Theatre in London. David Mallet directed the film, and Gillian Lynne choreographed the film. The cast consisted of performers who had been in the show before, including Ken Page (Original Old Deuteronomy on Broadway) as Old Deuteronomy, Elaine Paige (Original Grizabella in London) and Sir John Mills as Gus: the Theatre Cat.
In 1998 Whistle Down the Wind made its debut, a musical written with lyrics supplied by rock legend Jim Steinman. Originally opening in Washington, Lloyd Webber was reportedly not happy with the casting or Harold Prince's production and the show was subsequently revised for a London staging directed by Gale Edwards, the production is probably most notable for the Number One hit from Boyzone "No Matter What" which only left the UK charts when the price of the CD single was changed to drop it out of the official top ten. His The Beautiful Game opened in London and has never been seen on Broadway. The show had a respectable run at The Cambridge Theatre in London. The show has been re-worked into a new musical The Boys in the Photograph which had its world première at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in April 2008.
On 16 September 2004, his production of The Woman in White opened at the Palace Theatre in London. It ran for 19 months and 500 performances. A revised production opened on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre on 17 November 2005. Garnering mixed reviews from critics, due in part to the frequent absences of the show's star Maria Friedman due to breast cancer treatment, it closed only a brief three months later on 19 February 2006.
Lloyd Webber produced a staging of The Sound of Music, which débuted November 2006. He made the controversial decision to choose an unknown to play leading lady Maria, who was found through the reality television show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, in which he was a judge. The winner of the show was Connie Fisher.
It was announced on 25 August 2006, on his personal website that his next project would be The Master and Margarita (Lloyd Webber has stated that the project will most likely be an opera rather than a musical), however it was announced in late March 2007 that he had abandoned the project.
Then U.S. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush stand with the Kennedy Center honourees in the Blue Room of the White House during a reception Sunday, 3 December 2006. From left, they are: singer and songwriter William "Smokey" Robinson; Andrew Lloyd Webber; country singer Dolly Parton; film director Steven Spielberg; and conductor Zubin Mehta.
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 recognised 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".
Between April and June 2007, he 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. On 1 July 2007, Lloyd Webber presented excerpts from his musicals as part of the Concert for Diana organised to celebrate the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.
The BBC Radio 2 broadcast a concert of music from the Lloyd-Webber musicals 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 Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, which 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.
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 three young actors to play and share the title character's role, 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; the winners of the Oliver role were Harry Stott, Gwion Wyn-Jones and Laurence Jeffcoate. Also in April 2008 he was featured on the U.S. talent show American Idol, acting as a mentor when the 6 finalists had to select one of Lloyd Webber's songs to perform for the judges that week.
Lloyd Webber and Jade Ewen
Lloyd Webber accepted the challenge of managing the UK's entry for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Moscow. In early 2009 a series, called Eurovision: Your Country Needs You, was broadcast to find a performer for a song that he would compose for the competition. Jade Ewen won the right to represent Britain, winning with It's My Time, by Lloyd Webber and Diane Warren. At the contest, Lloyd Webber accompanied her on the piano during the performance. Great Britain finished 5th in the contest.
On 8 October 2009, Lloyd Webber launched the musical Love Never Dies at a press conference held at Her Majesty's Theatre, where the original Phantom has been running since 1986. Also present were Sierra Boggess, who has been cast as Christine Daaé, and Ramin Karimloo, who portrayed Phantom, a role he most recently played in the West End.
Following the opening of Love Never Dies, Lloyd Webber again began a search for a new musical theatre performer in the BBC One series Over the Rainbow. He cast the winner, Danielle Hope, in the role of Dorothy and a dog to play Toto in his forthcoming stage production of The Wizard of Oz. He and lyricist and composer Tim Rice wrote a number of new songs for the production to supplement the songs from the film.
On 26 February 2010, he appeared on BBC's Friday Night with Jonathan Ross to promote Love Never Dies.
On 7 March 2011, The Wizard of Oz opened at The Palladium Theatre, starring Danielle Hope as Dorothy and Michael Crawford as the Wizard.