Lloyd Webber and Ian deny rift over US Maria spin-off

Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian have denied reports they have fallen out over the latter’s plans to appear in a US television series inspired by the pair’s current show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

The duo are both involved as judges on the UK reality TV programme to discover a leading lady for a new production of The Sound of Music and will co-produce the theatre production in which the chosen performer will star.

However, according to the New York Post, Lloyd Webber is unhappy that Ian is lined up as a judge on forthcoming NBC reality series You’re the One That We Want – a US show based upon the How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? format – when the composer had thought they would be working together on any US spin-off. The report also says that Lloyd Webber has issued a cease-and-desist letter to BBC Worldwide which is producing the show for broadcast on NBC.

Both parties, however, have denied the claims. Lloyd Webber commented: “David is a good friend and my co-producer and our sole concern at present is to find the right girl to play Maria in The Sound of Music.” Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the composer added that they expected that NBC would soon be approaching Lloyd Webber over a possible involvement with the US show, having been “very impressed” by his performance in the UK version.

Ian also stressed the pair had not fallen out. He commented: “Andrew and I are having great fun on How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and are extremely focused on creating a wonderful new version of The Sound of Music for the London Palladium this autumn.”

Ian and Lloyd Webber were placed number one and two respectively in the Stage100 earlier this year – the publication’s guide to the most influential figures in UK theatre.

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