Log In

Andrew Lloyd Webber Edit Profile

Composer , impresario

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber is an English composer and impresario of musical theatre.

Background

Andrew Lloyd Webber was born on March 22, 1948, in London, England. His father was the director of the London College of Music and his mother, a piano teacher.

His younger brother, Julian Lloyd Webber, is a noted solo cellist. As a child, Webber aspired to become Britain's chief inspector of ancient monuments.

Education

Lloyd Webber came by his musical ability naturally. As a boy he played piano, violin, and French horn.

He won a Challenge Scholarship to Westminster and in 1965 entered Oxford as a history major. Webber's formal education ended after only one term at Oxford.

Career

Excerpts from his first musical composition, The Toy Theatre, were published in a British music magazine.

In the 1980s he exercised his love for history via Sydmonton Court, his country estate, whose oldest section dates from the 16th century and where his compositions were tried out at yearly festivals.

Other childhood pastimes of Webber's surface in his works and his approach to their staging. His keen ability to envision fully-mounted productions of even his most spectacular pieces may have emanated, at least in part, from his experience as an 11-year-old working with his elaborate toy theater, built to scale. Webber's lifelong fascination with trains was exhibited in Starlight Express (1984). Some consider this his childhood fantasy gone awry, an adulteration of the famous story of the little engine that could.

He left Oxford to begin work on the never-to-be-produced musical The Likes of Us, which is based on the life of British philanthropist Dr. Bernardo. Webber's career was inextricably linked with that of lyricist Tim Rice, and their partnership began with this musical.

The duo's next effort was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968, extended 1972), at first a concert piece, then expanded into a two-act production. The score demonstrates what were to become the Webber trademarks of shifting time signatures and styles, ranging from French cafe music to calypso, country, jazz, and the popular rock idiom.

In Jesus Christ Superstar (1971), popular music was presented in classical operatic form. Conceived first as a demonstration disc for Decca, it began the Webber/Rice tradition of recording first, then producing. The score boasts the hit single "I Don't Know How To Love Him. " The 1971 Broadway version was directed by Tom O'Horgan, of Hair notoriety.

When Rice became disenchanted with a proposed musical based on the works of P. G. Wodehouse, Webber teamed up with British playwright Alan Ayckbourn on the unsuccessful Jeeves (1974). During this period Webber also composed the film scores for Gumshoe (1971) and The Odessa File (1973).

Webber and Rice were paired once again for Evita (1976), the story of the dangerously manipulative actress-courtesan who married Argentinean dictator Juan Peron. Veteran Broadway producer Harold Prince was commandeered to direct the 1978 and 1979 productions on both sides of the Atlantic. Evita faced the criticisms that have consistently plagued Webber's compositions. He was accused of "borrowing" songs and his work was called "derivative, " "synthetic, " and a "pastiche. "

Webber's next (and less impressive) production, Song and Dance (1982), was the result of the fusion of two of his earlier pieces: Variations (1978) and Tell Me on a Sunday (1979). Variations (1978) is a set of cello variations written for his brother, Julian, and Tell Me on a Sunday (1979), is the story of an English working girl who moves to New York and through a series of relationships.

Cats (1981) constituted the composer's personal and professional watershed. Based on T. S. Eliot's volume of children's verses, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, the production was staged by Royal Shakespeare director Trevor Nunn and its extravagant scenery was created by John Napier. Rice was called in to provide assistance on the lyrics for the now-famous "Memory, " but his words were abandoned in favor of Nunn's.

Webber found himself attracted at first vocally, then romantically, to performer Sarah Brightman. She was a castmember in Cats, and in 1983 he abandoned his first wife, Sarah Hugill, for her. He later married Brightman and she was cast as the female lead, Christine Daae, in The Phantom of the Opera.

Webber's production Aspects of Love (1989) was in many ways a "retread. " The score is filled with tunes retrieved from Webber's past, reworked for the occasion.

Webber turned his attention toward his production company, Really Useful Theatre Group, Inc. , in the 1980s. In April 1990 he announced his intention to take a hiatus from writing musicals and to turn to moviemaking, perhaps even a film version of Cats with Stephen Spielberg.

Webber went on to produce Sunset Boulevard, in London, 1993, and in Los Angeles and on Broadway, both in 1994. Besides The Likes of Us (lyrics by Rice), his other unproduced plays include Come Back Richard, Your Country Needs You (with Rice) and Cricket.

In 1998, Lloyd Webber released a film version of Cats, which was filmed at the Adelphi Theatre in London.

In 1998 Whistle Down the Wind made its debut, a musical written with lyrics supplied by Jim Steinman.

In 2002 he turned producer, bringing the musical Bombay Dreams to London. With music by Indian Music composer A. R. Rahman and lyrics by Don Black, it ran for two years at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. A revised Broadway production at the Broadway Theatre two years later ran for only 284 performances.

On 16 September 2004, his production of The Woman in White opened at the Palace Theatre in London. It ran for 19 months and 500 performances. A revised production opened on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre on 17 November 2005. Garnering mixed reviews from critics, due in part to the frequent absences of the show's star Maria Friedman due to breast cancer treatment, it closed only a brief three months later on 19 February 2006.

Lloyd Webber produced a staging of The Sound of Music, which débuted November 2006.

In 2014, it was announced that Webber's next project would be a musical adaptation of the 2003 film School of Rock. On 19 January 2015 auditions opened for children aged nine to fifteen in cooperation with the School of Rock music education program, which predated the film by several years.

Achievements

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber was the composer of such musical theater hits as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, Starlight Express, The Phantom of the Opera, and Aspects of Love. His early successes brought him four Tony awards, four Drama Desk awards, and three Grammys.

    Lloyd Webber was knighted in the 1992 Birthday Honours. In the 1997 New Year Honours, he was created a life peer as Baron Lloyd-Webber, of Sydmonton in the County of Hampshire. He is properly styled as The Lord Lloyd-Webber; the title is hyphenated, although his surname is not.

Works

Politics

Lloyd Webber was made a Conservative life peer in 1997, however by the end of 2015, he had voted only 33 times. Politically, Lloyd Webber has supported the UK's Conservative Party, allowing his song "Take That Look Off Your Face" to be used on a party promotional film seen by an estimated 1 million people before the 2005 general election. In 2009, he publicly criticised the Labour government's introduction of a new 50% rate of income tax on Britain's top earners, claiming it would damage the country by encouraging talented people to leave. In August 2014, Lloyd Webber was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue. In October 2015 Lloyd Webber was involved in a controversial House of Lords vote over proposed cuts to tax credits, voting with the Government in favour of the plan. In October 2017 Webber retired from the House of Lords, stating that his busy schedule was incompatible with the demands of Parliament considering the upcoming crucial Brexit legislation.

Views

Quotations: "No matter what they tell you, no matter what they do, no matter what they teach you, what you believe is true. "

"Look with your heart and not with your eyes. The heart understands. The heart never lies. Believe what it feels, and trust what it shows. Look with your heart; the heart always knows. Love is not always beautiful, not at the start. But open your arms, and close your eyes tight. Look with your heart and when it finds love, your heart will be right. "

"What strikes me is that theres a very fine line between success and failure. Just one ingredient can make the difference. "

"As a composer at a point where I can absolutely pick and choose what I want to do, I don't want to write about anybody I don't care about. "

"I often think of random melodies. And I pretty much hear in my head what I want to do with the orchestra as I'm writing on the piano. "

"You're the luckiest person in the entire world if you know what you really want to do, which I was lucky enough to know when I was very young. And you're the luckiest person in the world if you can then make a living out of it. "

"People in Britain always think of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' as a musical - it wasn't. "

"Love can make a summer fly, or a night seem like a lifetime. "

"Surely, you go to the theater because you want to have a great evening in the theater. "

"Softly, deftly, music shall caress you. Hear it, feel it, Secretly possess you. "

"Music, architecture and pictures have always been my passions, and all that material wealth has meant for me, is being able to have some of the pictures I liked. "

Membership

He is a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Personality

In late 2009, Lloyd Webber had surgery for early-stage prostate cancer, but had to be readmitted to hospital with post-operative infection in November. In January 2010, he declared he was cancer-free. He had his prostate completely removed as a preventative measure.

Interests

  • Other Interests

    Lloyd Webber is an art collector, with a passion for Victorian art. An exhibition of works from his collection was presented at the Royal Academy in 2003 under the title Pre-Raphaelite and Other Masters – The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection. In 2006, Lloyd Webber planned to sell Portrait of Angel Fernández de Soto by Pablo Picasso to benefit the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. In November 2006, he withdrew the painting from auction after a claim that the previous owner had been forced to sell it under duress in Nazi Germany. An out-of-court settlement was reached, where the foundation retained ownership rights. On 23 June 2010, the painting was sold at auction for £34. 7 million to an anonymous telephone bidder.

Connections

Lloyd Webber has married three times. He married first Sarah Hugill on 24 July 1971 and they divorced on 14 November 1983. Together they had two children: a daughter and a son.

He then married singer Sarah Brightman on 22 March 1984 in Hampshire. He cast Brightman in the lead role in his musical The Phantom of the Opera, among other notable roles. They divorced on 3 January 1990.

Thirdly, he married Madeleine Gurdon in Westminster on 9 February 1991. They have three children, two sons and one daughter, all of whom were born in Westminster.

father:
William Southcombe Lloyd Webber

(11 March 1914 – 29 October 1982)

mother:
Jean Hermione Johnstone

(1921–1993)

Brother:
Julian Lloyd Webber

(born 14 April 1951)

Spouse (3):
Madeleine Astrid Gurdon, Baroness Lloyd-Webber

(born 30 November 1962)

daughter:
Isabella Aurora Lloyd Webber

(born 30 April 1996).

daughter:
Imogen Anne Lloyd Webber

(born 31 March 1977)

son:
Alastair Adam Lloyd Webber

(born 3 May 1992)

son:
William Richard Lloyd Webber

(born 24 August 1993)

son:
Nicholas Lloyd Webber

(born 2 July 1979)

spouse (2):
Sarah Brightman

(born 14 August 1960)

spouse (1):
Sarah Hugill