| Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber was born on March 22, 1948 in London, to composer William Lloyd Webber and piano teacher Jean Johnstone Lloyd Webber. Andrew had a passion for music throughout his whole childhood, and he began composing his own music at a very early age. When he was introduced to musical theater he immediately fell in love with it, and started to compose music for his school plays. For a brief time he studied history at Oxford, but he never completed the course, and instead switched his focus to his true passion; musical theater. Since then, he has made magic happen with his work.
Andrew's first musical, based on the life of Irish philanthropist Thomas John Barnardo, was created with lyricist Tim Rice, and it was titled The Likes of Us. This production, however, never saw the stage until the 2005 Sydmonton Festival held at Andrew's home. Tim Rice and Andrew continued to work together on a few pop songs after the The Likes of Us, and then delved into another musical together called Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This production held the same light and breezy charm that The Likes of Us had, as compared to their third hit musical Jesus Christ Superstar, which was classified as a Rock Opera.
Andrew continued to collaborate with Rice in 1976 to write Evita, based on the life of Eva Peron. It became a box office hit, and the song "Don't Cry for me Argentina" became a hit single. After the success of Evita, Tim Rice and Andrew parted ways and Andrew went on to write what was going to be one of the longest running musicals of all time, Cats. Without a lyricist, Andrew looked towards T.S. Elliot's poetry Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats for inspiration. Cats played a total of 16,484 performances between New York and London, with its final performance in London on May 11, 2002.
|Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler in Phantom of the Opera
After the blinding success of Cats, Andrew continued to weave his musical magic with my personal favorite, The Phantom of the Opera, inspired by Gaston Leroux's novel. The lead roles, played by Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, entranced the world with their talent and helped lead the production to the great success that it is today. Though the musical received mixed reviews by the critics, the production surpassed Cats as the longest running production ever as of 2006, and still continues to climb. In 2004 Andrew produced a movie adaptation for the play, casting Gerard Butler as the Phantom, Emmy Rossum as Christine, and Patrick Wilson as Raoul. This film generated mixed reviews by the critics and the public alike. Hardcore fans of the original Broadway cast strongly disagreed with Andrew's choices on the cast, however the general public, including myself, enjoyed the more mainstream and realistic voices of the actors.
Today, Andrew is holding a stage production of the Sound of Music, and was a judge on the reality show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, which was held to find an unknown to fill the roll of Maria in his production. He is currently living with his wife Madeleine Gurdon and his children Alastair, William, and Isabella in Sydmonton in the County of Hampshire. His many awards until November of 2006 include seven Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, an International Emmy, an Oscar, a Golden Globe Award, a Kennedy Center Honor, and six Oliver Awards for his success in theater. He was knighted in 1992, declared an honorary life peer in 1997, and named the 87th richest Briton in the Sunday Times Rich List 2006 with a net wealth of around £700m.
Over the years, Andrew Lloyd Webber has inspired thousands of young musicians and playwrights with his unforgettable work. He follows his deep passion of music and the arts, and doesn't let anything get in the way of his ambitions and goals. He is also quite modest, and surprisingly shy in all of his interviews. Andrew has influenced my life by not only captivating my mind with his compelling music, but also by introducing me to a whole new genre of music that I had never thought I would be interested in. I had never cared about Broadway or musicals before I got hooked on The Phantom of the Opera, and afterwards I thought that if Phantom was so amazing, there must be other musicals out there that can meet my expectations. Sure enough, there were plenty. Now, I try to find every new Broadway soundtrack that is released, and hopefully in the near future I can make it to New York to actually see a production of the many shows I enjoy listening to. Andrew truly is a hero for his outstanding achievements throughout the years, and for his constant inspiration to delighted fans all across the world. He represents what most musicians always dream of accomplishing, and he will probably continue to write and produce his beloved musicals until he is on his deathbed, and I certainly have no objection to that.
Page created on 12/24/2006 12:00:00 AM
Last edited 12/24/2006 12:00:00 AM