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Andrew Lloyd Webber: ‘West End musicals are not matching Broadway’s success’

Andrew Lloyd Webber Andrew Lloyd Webber. Photo: John Swannell
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Andrew Lloyd Webber has claimed the West End is falling behind Broadway in terms of creating original musicals.

Speaking to the BBC’s Front Row programme, Lloyd Webber claimed there was an “energy” and movement on Broadway reminiscent of the 1950s, when composers such as Rodgers and Hammerstein were creating new work for the theatres there.

He said writers such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul were creating shows using a “much broader spectrum” and that their influences were much wider.

“Shows such as Cats, Phantom and Les Miserables did take over Broadway in the 1980s. Then there was a patch where all the younger writers were writing to please the critics – writing what they felt they should be writing,” he said.

He added: “In the last five or six years that’s gone out the window and there are new writers who are writing with a much broader spectrum. And they are much more based in rock and pop, like mine were.”

He claimed he had felt “for a long time that I was working in a vacuum” and that the success of Broadway shows was inspiring him and making him “excited” about writing again. But he claimed this was not being replicated in London.

“We are not right at the moment [in London]. The atmosphere in London in my little corner of musical theatre is not the same as it is on Broadway at the moment,” he said.

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