Andrew Lloyd Webber On Sunday's ITV Special, STEPHEN WARD & SUPERSTAR
Theatrical titan Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber has given a fascinating new interview in anticipation of Easter Sunday's 90-minute ITV special salute to the world's most successful composer, ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER: 40 MUSICAL YEARS, which will feature the world premiere of a brand new tune from his forthcoming biomusical of the same name based on the life of the title character, Britain's notorious STEPHEN WARD.
In discussing his forthcoming STEPHEN WARD musical, Lloyd Webber states, "...because of the period and everything, the Stephen Ward show is going to feature much more of my other side. This is going to be the antithesis of LOVE NEVER DIES or PHANTOM."
He continues, "I didn't really know much about the character of Stephen Ward, apart from the fact that he was the one who was convicted, but then I happened to read an interview with him from 1962 which said he was a bore about the Cold War. And then I read the Ludovic Kennedy book about the trial. He called it 'The Martyrdom of Dr Stephen Ward' and so I thought 'this is getting very very interesting'."
Lloyd Webber concludes, "[Don Black, Christopher Hampton and I] talked over dinner and we concluded how extraordinary this man Stephen Ward was, probably the most sought after dinner guest in London, the world's top osteopath and a man who knew absolutely everybody from Kennedy to Gandhi to Churchill and was great friends with Prince Philip."
Another intriguing insight from the Lord in this wide-ranging conversation involves legendary director Hal Prince, whom Lloyd Webber alleges originally contacted him to direct the Broadway premiere of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR.
In speaking of this incident while recounting regrets in his career, Lloyd Webber remembers, "Another example is Harold Prince. He wanted to direct JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and I never got the telegram because I was in America and so it went to my father's college of music and I never got it. I often think how different my career would have been if Harold Prince had directed it on Broadway."
He adds, "I remember the telegram to this day. It was: 'I am the producer of CABARET, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and WEST SIDE STORY and I'd like to do JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR,' signed Harold Prince. I thought, 'I know who you are!'"
He offers, "Instead the production was the most vulgar horror."
Also, it has been announced that Nicole Scherzinger, Sierra Boggess, Samantha Barks, Denise Van Outen, Kimberley Walsh, Mel C, Tim Minchin, Il Divo, Simon Cowell, Michael Caine and many more entertainment heavyweights will join in Sunday's celebration honoring Andrew Lloyd Webber's decades of patronship and creative output.
The special will be hosted by iconic Lloyd Webber ASPECTS OF LOVE leading man Michael Ball, who himself will end the telecast with one of Lloyd Webber's most beloved anthems, "Love Changes Everything", backed up by a children's chorus.
Additionally, it has been reported that Nicole Scherzinger will perform "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" and Lloyd Webber is not at a loss for an opinion on that huge hit, either.
Lloyd Webber says, "Nicole Scherzinger's going to do 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' which is going to be interesting because she's really a musical theatre actress, and I'm going to be intrigued to see what she makes of it. I've been through it with her and she really thinks about what she's saying, which is Awkward in the case of 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' because, when she asks me questions about it, it doesn't really mean anything."
He relays, "Because it was originally called 'It's Only Your Lover Returning', 'the truth is I never left you' makes a great deal of sense. But the title got altered at the last minute and it's one of those examples of, you know, you don't ask, you don't explain. So when she said immediately 'I'm trying to make sense of this', I said 'actually don't.'"
Let's just hope Sunday's ITV special is a little easier to understand!
Check out the original Telegraph interview by Charles Spencer here.