All tagged Andrew Lloyd Webber
Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber often gravitates toward writing musicals that are both family friendly and that will ignite the curiosity of the kid in us all. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Cats continue to be revived, again and again, particularly for their universal appeal. And yet, perhaps the most family-friendly and imaginative of all of Webber’s musicals to date is one about anthropomorphized racing trains. I am, of course, referring to Starlight Express, which opened in London’s West End on March 27, 1984 where it ran for 7,409 performances. The musical came to Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre in 1987, and despite having the London creative team in tow, it made the journey with major revisions from its London incarnation. Starlight Express ran on Broadway for 761 performances and won a singular Tony Award for John Napier’s costume design.
Chita Rivera is not the only person getting a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Tonys. Andrew Lloyd Webber, a Broadway composer who has certainly had his share of megahits over the years, was single-handedly the force that introduced the pop opera to Broadway and also utilized rock and roll for many of his scores. Inspired by classical sounds bought into the pop world, Webber is the musical voice behind such scores as Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats, Song & Dance, Starlight Express, The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard, and School of Rock (that’s just to name a few). In celebration of the composer’s big night at the Tonys, here is a compilation of some of Broadway’s best singing some of his greatest hits.
My piece ranking the musicals of Stephen Sondheim was very popular and it incited some great dialogue on how opinions differ depending on our experiences, emotions, and the criteria that draws us to musicals in the first place. Several of you wrote to me asking that I unleash my same ranking process on the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. I will gratefully oblige, though I must warn you that my opinions on Sir Andrew are more extreme than those I have for Sondheim. Webber tends to only be as good as his lyricist at the moment, an ever-changing array of collaborators who have come and gone. Stephen Ward aside (which I don't know enough about yet to weigh-in), here are my opinions of his work, from worst to the best.
Cats is back. Though I am not particularly ready for it, I cannot dispute the fact the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of my childhood, based on the poems of T.S. Eliot, is readying itself for a revival at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre. I imagine many folks are excited by its return, especially those who have a fond “Memory” of their first visit to a Broadway show, ushered into the thrill of live theatre by this feline extravaganza. For some, this revival will be a cosmic return from the Heavyside Layer.