Entertainment » Theatre

Andrew Lloyd Webber Weighs in on Tony Awards Favorite

by Mike Cidoni Lennox
Friday May 4, 2018
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber   (Source:AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Andrew Lloyd Webber has written some of the most successful stage musicals of all time. So, when he weighs in on the year's Tony contenders, announced earlier this week, it's time to listen.

"I'm very interested that 'The Band's Visit' has been celebrated," commented the composer of the best-musical winners "Cats," ''The Phantom of the Opera" and "Sunset Boulevard."

"The Band's Visit," from composer David Yazbek, is based on an Israeli film about an Egyptian police band lost in a small Israeli town. The musical this week was among year's top Tony nominees.

"I found it very exciting," Lloyd Webber said Thursday. "I loved the score. I hope that does well." The six-time Tony winner said he's seen all the shows on Broadway: "It's an intriguing season."

Lloyd Webber himself is part of the latest Tonys mix. He and actress Chita Rivera each will receive 2018 awards for Lifetime Achievement.

Lloyd Webber was at the Hollywood Pantages theater this week to promote the Los Angeles premiere of his Broadway and London hit "School of Rock - The Musical," based on the 2003 movie that starred Jack Black as a down-and-out musician who stumbles into a gig as a prep-school teacher.

Lloyd Webber said he originally only planned to produce the project, but found the show's pop-rock sensibility so appealing that he ended up as the show's composer.

The contemporary style is different from the classic Broadway bombast of Lloyd Webber's "Evita," ''Phantom" and "Boulevard." But, Lloyd Webber reminded, his Broadway debut was the rock-opera smash "Jesus Christ Superstar."

"I think it's that so many of my musicals have hung around for such a long time, that people maybe forget," he said. "But I enjoy writing in many different ways and styles."

As for his next show, Lloyd Webber seemed eager to discuss it - but just can't. He said its fate is currently in the hands of higher powers - in this case, rights holders.

"You've got to remember musicals are incredibly collaborative," he explained. "But I'm only one cog in the wheel."

It's the same story with one of his passion projects: a film version of his musical adaptation of the 1950 film-noir classic "Sunset Boulevard." Paramount first announced it was in the works __ way back in 2005.

"The situation with 'Boulevard' is that I don't control it," Lloyd Webber said. "Glenn Close desperately wants to make it, as I do. But we haven't had a green-light from the studio."

Lloyd Webber, who turned 70 in March, has written a recently published autobiography that ends with "Phantom" and covers the first part of his life.

"I don't intend to do the second," the composer said. "As much as I enjoyed writing it, I must get on and work."

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Los Angeles newsperson Robert Jablon contributed to this story.

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