ITV to celebrate Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 40-year career with 90-minute special

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Samantha Barks, Kimberley Walsh, Tim Minchin and Nicole Scherzinger are among the performers who will take part in an ITV show celebrating the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Andrew Lloyd Webber: 40 Years is a 90-minute programme hosted by Michael Ball that will include performances of songs from the composer’s shows, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats and Evita.

The evening will also feature the first performance of a song from Lloyd Webber’s forthcoming show, Stephen Ward.

Lloyd Webber said: “I was flattered when ITV approached me about a 90-minute special, but I said I would only do it if it wasn’t some po-faced tribute to a bloke who’s about to collect his bus pass. I still don’t know what I am letting myself in for.”

The programme will include Lloyd Webber sharing anecdotes and discussing his influences.

It will also include contributions from people who have worked with him.

ITV controller of entertainment John Kaye Cooper described Lloyd Webber’s contribution to theatre as “unrivalled”.

“We are delighted to be celebrating his four decades in the West End with an evening that promises some spectacular performances and a deeper insight into the man himself,” he added.

1 Comment

  1. It is a curious fact that despite having composed comparively few original shows personally in recent years Andrew Lloyd Webber still often describes himself as “a theatrical composer” by profession What makes this statement also rather ironic is that the often-cited claim that he has not had a true hit show since ” The Phantom of the Opera” is almost certainly true.
    Virtually every musical that has had his name attached to it had failed either commercially or artistically.There have been a wide variety of reasons for these failures ranging from boredom ( the plot and characters in “Aspects of Love”) to casting problems ( in the end it was obvious that no one could play Norma Desmond in “Sunset Blvd” but Gloria Swanson and the same can be said of Michael Crawford’s Count Fresco in “The Woman in White”)
    But most of all Lloyd-Webber’s greatest weakness as a creator of musicals had been his crucial inability to come up with- to become inspired by stories and themes which not only interested him but also the critics and/ or the public.
    Again and again after agonising for years he has finally settled on material which simply failed to click; which had no frisson or excitement and lack the originality of a “Spring Awakening ” or- god help us- the current “Book of Morman” appalling as this so – called musical is.
    So- as he turns 65 and tradition has it that every time he hits an age ending in a nought or a five,we have the inevitable special with the equally predictable preview of a song from his latest show.
    Now the last time this happened we ended up with a number which went through three different incarnations before ending up in his Lordship’s own “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” but unlike Steven Speilberg he refused to accept failure ( fiasco really) and move on and kept on flogging the dead horse of “Love Never Dies” until it did (hopefully)
    Unfortuntely the reverse midas touch that ALW has displayed since the original Phantom seems very unlikely to be ended by his project.”Stephen Ward” – or whatever it is eventually titled is a very peculiar subject to have inspired him; it is a very strange career arc to go from a show based upon the life of Jesus Christ-albeit seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot, to the sleazy,sordid osteopath- pimp ( in the old- fashioned sense of the term) who was not only at the centre of of the Profumo scandal,but who can be said to have initiated it ( by introducing Profumo to Ms Keeler)
    Now according to ALW his fascination with this guy lies in the apparent mis-carriage of justice that he suffered from which lead to his suicide.But two things need to be said about this.First,however badly the law treated him, however ridiculous his trial,this has to be seen in the context of the time when ” rough justice” at the hands of the police and the courts was very much par for the course (see under Derek Bentley,Timothy Evans and Ruth Ellis/ and oh! By the way, did I not mention that Ellis was in fact one of the many girls that the saintly Mr Ward groomed for prositution purposes?)
    Stephen Ward was a thoroughly rottern character who did not even have the moral fibre to accept his punishment ( unlike Profumo) and expecting audiences to pay West End prices to spend two hours or so following his career and wallow in the filth of faraway scandal that should be left to the historians is arrogant.
    It is also rather dangerous; there is a reason why certain aspects of this affair are still subject to the Official Secrets Act and likely to remain so until 2031 and I have a feeling that certain parts of the security services will not be happy to see this particular can of worms reopened at this time.
    This is a thoroughly ugly and at the same time silly subject to have people singing sweet about; the fact that there have been other shows about this business and Ward is no excuse and certainly not a reason for what used to be the classiest outfit in town- The Really Useful Group to get mixed up with.
    Bad though othet ALW shows have been they at least lacked the inherent tastelessness of this subject which sits badly alongside it’s other productions.
    This week it was revealed that when he wants to ALW can simply write “The Petfect Song” wihout needing a musical to stimulate him ( only a bet!) If the likes of Stephen Ward are the only people who can entrance him theatrically then perhaps this sad,old composer better settle for bets….

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