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Was Andrew Lloyd Webber Born Into Money?
Posted by RippedMan 2013-01-16 03:14:25


I was reading Reidel's column today, and he wrote about this festival that Webber has every year at his estate in England. The highlight of the event is when Webber unveils a fully-staged reading of his new musical. He says that "Sunset, "Cats," and "Evita" were all unveiled there.

Was he rich before Evita? I would think Evita is when he was becoming an up-and-comer, but he must have had money before that to throw such a lavish festival?

Was Andrew Lloyd Webber Born Into Money?
Posted by muscle23ftl 2013-01-16 03:18:19


I'd guess he was upper middle class, because he probably had piano lessons, etc. as a kid.
Although that's just what I'd think, I haven't googled him or anything.
But he certainly created his own empire and made a lot of money himself, which is very well deserved. A huge talent.

Was Andrew Lloyd Webber Born Into Money?
Posted by bwayto 2013-01-16 03:32:36


His father was a fairly successful composer and organist.
His mother was a violinist.

They were fairly upper middle class - not Mega Rich - but definitely not poor. Based on the readings I've done (not going to source them here), they frequented the theatre a lot, so they were fairly comfortable.

Yes, many of his works were unveiled at his estate. It was purchased with Joseph & the Technicolor Dream Coat money. Phantom was first worshopped there.

Was Andrew Lloyd Webber Born Into Money?
Posted by My Oh My 2013-01-16 03:38:12


I don't know if he was born into money, but I know he wasn't a child of poverty and was at least middle class. I know he had a fascination with the theatre since seeing a live show during early childhood, and he'd express his fascination the same way I did when I was a tyke--recreate.

As in build miniature stages and stage shows with replicas of their sets and characters. I'd think someone who grows up dreaming of staging his own shows would eventually come to do exactly just that should they have the means.

However, ALW's Sydmonton Festivals weren't lavish. For you and I, yes, but they didn't include the fully staged productions we know. They were staged with minimal sets and costumes, in an old church on his estate. I have the Sunset Boulevard performance from the festival in the early 90s starring Lupone, and she doesn't even wear costumes. Orchestra consists of a piano. Not sure how much more lavish or not were his other presentations, but I know Evita wasn't even staged at his festival. It was an audio/visual presentation to his concept album.

While such presentations would cost us an arm and a leg, they were minimal to someone with bank like ALW, but they did not include floating mansions or chandeliers either, hehe.

There are more details about his Sydmonton Festival presentations at this site: http://www.andrewlloydwebber.com/about/sydmonton-festival/

Was Andrew Lloyd Webber Born Into Money?
Posted by Nickhutson 2013-01-16 04:06:12


He made a lot of money from Jesus Christ Superstore and probably a bit from Joseph and the Technicolor Doodaaa...

He lived, as a child, in Kensington and went to a boys' school in West London called St Pauls (for whom he and Tim wrote Joseph) and then he studied at the Royal College of Music.

He wasn't born on the country estate - that wold have been what he bought. The shows you mention were all post Evita and Jesus, so he would've made enough money off them to buy a nice house in the country.

Was Andrew Lloyd Webber Born Into Money?
Posted by jv92 2013-01-16 11:27:39


Riedel makes factual errors all the time. I don't believe EVITA was done at his festival, though the concept album was made in 1976. If someone can correct me, and back up Mr. Riedel, by all means, do so.

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by RaisedOnMusicals 2013-01-16 11:42:00


:)

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2013-01-16 12:03:42


I agree with JV. I'm almost 100% certain there was not a presentation of EVITA at Sydmonton.

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by DeNada 2013-01-16 12:22:03


The Lord's own website states that there was an "audio-visual presentation of the original concept album" at Sydmonton in 1976. PBS states that he bought Sydmonton Court with his royalties from Jesus Christ Superstar so he had a few years in which he could have done so prior to that.

Edited to add - it's not SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber, it's Lord Lloyd Webber of Sydmonton :)

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by RippedMan 2013-01-16 13:16:54


Oh. Interesting. I guess, since JCS hasn't been such a hit in recent years I forget it was pretty successful in its first runs. Same with Joseph.

Say what you want about him, but the man is talented. And I think he's done a lot of great things for the theater. Wish he'd build a really nice Broadway theater.

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by CATSNYrevival 2013-01-16 13:37:02


While such presentations would cost us an arm and a leg, they were minimal to someone with bank like ALW, but they did not include floating mansions or chandeliers either, hehe.

Just as a correction, it's mentioned in the complete Phantom of the Opera book that Maria Bjornson actually did manage to fashion a falling chandelier for the Sydmonton production.

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by RippedMan 2013-01-16 13:38:20


I just think that's so cool. My new goal as an actor is to be invited to be part of one of those presentations.

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by best12bars 2013-01-16 13:43:23


JCS was a big hit, but an even bigger hit was the original double album. It was at the top of the charts for a couple of years!

He could have bought the place on royalties from the album sales and singles alone.

EDIT: By the way, both Yvonne Elliman and Helen Reddy had Top 40 hits simultaneously with "I Don't Know How to Love Him."

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by Scripps2 2013-01-16 16:59:24


"I'd guess he was upper middle class, because he probably had piano lessons, etc. as a kid."

Hey! I had piano lessons when I was a kid - I must be upper middle class too.


That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by RippedMan 2013-01-16 18:07:36


Good to know. Hm. So much success in so little time.

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-16 18:23:32


Don't forget middle class means something different in the US than it does in the UK.

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-16 19:16:36


Ditto what best12 says about the JCS album. I was a teenager at the time and didn't know anyone who didn't have that album plus the singles.

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by wonderwaiter 2013-01-16 22:55:42


According to Andrew Lloyd Webber: His Life and Works by Michael Walsh, Lloyd Webber bought Sydmonton Court in 1973. (Yep, JCS money.) Around this time, Tim Rice was becoming infatuated with Eva Peron, but Lloyd Webber insisted on pursuing Jeeves first. The idea for the Sydmonton Festival was born on the day Jeeves closed in 1975. Evita was the first show presented at Sydmonton Court during the summer of 1976.

ETA:

"For a composer coming off a flop, Sydmonton Court was a major financial extravagance. Even though manor houses were selling for a song in the wake of the British stock-market crash and the lowest ebb of the Labour government, the house still cost a fortune to keep running, and the acreage that came with it required looking after as well. Andrew, however, was determined to hang on to it, no matter what the cost, and he redoubled his efforts to make Evita the hit that both he and Tim dearly wanted it to be."

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by RippedMan 2013-01-16 23:47:49


I forgot all about By Jeeves. I'm going to have to do some research on that one.

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by Scripps2 2013-01-17 16:04:49


"Don't forget middle class means something different in the US than it does in the UK."

It does?

And I thought the US didn't have a class system at all!

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-17 16:52:15


Well, I don't want to shoot mouth off in areas I'm not 100% certain, but I thought there was a different distinction between what constitutes the middle class in the UK and what constitutes the middle class in US, but now I'm not sure. I guess my (tenous) understanding is that the Middle Classes in Britain tend to be more on the affluent side, whereas our lower middle class overlaps with what would be the UK working class?

As for the US not having a class system, I tend to think that the terms are largely symbolic here. Middle Class is pretty much the lifestyle the American Dream tells us we want to achieve or maintain. This is from Wikipedia, and I think it sums up what most people think of when they think of the American Middle Class. [S]ociologists such as Dennis Gilbert of Hamilton College commonly divide the middle class into two sub-groups. Constituting roughly 15% to 20% of households is the upper or professional middle class consisting of highly educated, salaried professionals and managers. Constituting roughly one third of households is the lower middle class consisting mostly of semi-professionals, skilled craftsmen and lower-level management. Middle-class persons commonly have a comfortable standard of living, significant economic security, considerable work autonomy and rely on their expertise to sustain themselves.

Truth be told, I could totally be talking out of my ass, so if what I'm saying is off, I hope someone will tell me, cause I'm rereading what I'm saying I don;t think I know what the hell I'm talking about at all.


That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-17 17:02:19


Huh?!?!?!?

That's SIR Andrew Lloyd Webber
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-17 17:05:02


I loved Les Mis.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has more money than yo momma...
Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-17 17:22:22


LOL Phyll!!

Andrew Lloyd Webber has more money than yo momma...
Posted by Phantom of London 2013-01-17 17:50:54


I heard someone say, you get two types of people that live in New York, the ones that can afford to hail a taxi and the ones that can't.

When I arrive at JFK tomorrow afternoon, I will be taking the E train.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has more money than yo momma...
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-17 21:32:42


No, you're on the right track, Phyl. Speaking in VERY broad terms, "class" in England is based on lineage and discussed openly; "class" in the U.S. is based on income and we vehemently deny it exists.

You can be dead broke and still "upper class" in England if you are the Earl of La Di Da.

So Rupert Murdock is upper class in the U.S. (Sssssh!) but will still be middle class in England even if he's the richest man in the country.

Again, I'm speaking in very broad terms: English titles can be bought, attained by marriage, etc. But on the whole the difference is that we pretend class is not inherited in the U.S., even though almost everyone tends to end up the same class as his or her parents.

And, alas, I'm not sure how this applies to Lloyd Webber, who had been dubbed a Lord the last I heard. I don't know how the English regard such titles, but I can't think they carry the same weight as a title that has been in the family for centuries.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has more money than yo momma...
Posted by Scripps2 2013-01-18 17:16:31


I think the modern class systems we're talking about are probably better described as social demographics and I think they tend to be similar through much of Western Europe as well as the UK and US.

But Gaveston is right to point out that there is still the strain of the traditional class system running through the UK.

As for ALW I'd say he was definitely born into an upper-middle class family with the apartment (but not a house) in Kensington and being privately educated. Although he is now a Lord that is not a hereditary peerage (which are no longer created) and so I would not see him as being part of traditional aristocracy - it is rather more like him having a second job. And in his case, it's a very good argument for constitutional reform.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has more money than yo momma...
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-18 18:54:46


Scripps, I'm interested. Does Lord Andrew have duties he must perform in return for his title?

And if I run into Maggie Smith on the street, am I really to address her as "Dame Maggie"? (Yes, I'm watching DOWNTOWN ABBEY and that form of address seems uncomfortably familiar to me in the U.S. I wouldn't normally address a celebrity I didn't know by her first name and especially not by a nickname.)

(BTW, you're right, of course, that it would be clearer if Americans didn't use the word "classes" to refer to different economic strata, but I doubt the usage will change here.)

Andrew Lloyd Webber has more money than yo momma...
Posted by darquegk 2013-01-18 19:27:17


Would he be Lord Lloyd Webber, or Lord Sydmonton? Is that titling convention archaic? I know it is still upheld in the Downton Abbey time.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has more money than yo momma...
Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-18 20:28:50


On HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA?, host Graham Norton and the panel of judges all called Lloyd Webber "Lord Andrew".

I don't think a lord's title necessarily goes with his last name. In DOWNTOWN ABBEY, the current peer is called "Lord Grantham", but his last name (and that of his daughters and cousin) is "Crawley". (His unmarried daughters are often called "Lady Crawley", to distinguish them from their mother, "Lady Grantham".)

But I don't even pretend to know the difference between titles. I believe Lord Grantham is an earl and his wife a countess.

(Anyone. please feel free to correct my spelling. I've invented spelling based on the way the names sound to me on TV.)

Andrew Lloyd Webber has more money than yo momma...
Posted by Scripps2 2013-01-21 13:10:47


"Scripps, I'm interested. Does Lord Andrew have duties he must perform in return for his title?"

"But I don't even pretend to know the difference between titles."

As a rough guide there are hereditary peers (as in Downton Abbey) with different types of titles and different rules for each title. Hereditary peerages are hundreds of years old and the rules were written for a different society. The hereditary peers used to have a birth-right to sit in the House of Lords and vote on whether legislation from the democratically elected government in the House of Commons was passed. This is no longer the case.

Instead the House of Lords is populated by non-hereditary peers (such as ALW) who are appointed by the democratically elected government in the House of Commons to represent their interests in the House of Lords. Often these appointments are made on merit and achievement but sometimes they are made for political expedience. These peerages will die with the peer - ALW cannot pass his title on to his children.

Most hereditary peers I've known tend to be extremely shy about their titles. In both cases, I only found out accidentally that Bill and Crispin were a Viscount and a Knight respectively.

"And if I run into Maggie Smith on the street, am I really to address her as Dame Maggie?"

Call her what you wish - it's a free country.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has more money than sense
Posted by frontrowcentre2 2013-01-21 17:01:41


Say what you want about him, but the man is talented. And I think he's done a lot of great things for the theater. Wish he'd build a really nice Broadway theater.

I respectfully disagree on both points.

"Talented" is a highly subjective word. He can certainly write (or creatively recycle) a pretty tune when he needs to. Yet he fails to learn one of the crucial lessons about when and how to use music in a show. In a TV interview, ALW says he always admired the placement of "Some Enchanted Evening" after "Twin Soliloquies" - great... so WHY hasn't he stopped to consider what it is that makes that moment so thrilling?

I just got back from seeing the Toronto premiere of WIZARD OF OZ - it opened here last week to a slew of negative reviews (one the the best and most accurate is linked below.) Webber and director Jeremy Sams have "adapted" (copied word for word) the screenplay - even copying the film's underscoring. Yes the production is lavish and loaded with special effects, but it is also maddening in its frequent lapses. The new songs add nothing to the story or character development, and while the final song is is a lovely anthem, it merely restates what has already been covered in the dialogue.

The adapted script also omits some key dialogue exchanges: In the film Dorothy warns the Scarecrow about accompanying her to Oz because she has run afoul of the Wicked Witch. These lines are not in the stage adaptation so how is it the Scarecrow can subsequently warn the Tin Man and Lion about the Witch? It's little things like that that make me question your statement that ALW has "done a lot of great things for the theater." What great things has he done? Are you talking about audience response? I suppose you could credit shows like CATS and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA with attracting new fans to Broadway shows, bot those fans prove to be fickle. They seem to only want to go back and see the same shows over and over rather than venturing out to try new shows. So in the end it hasn't really built an audience for future shows.

These shows have generated multimillion dollar profits and yet that money just feeds into RUG's bottom line where they have been offset by monumental losses sustained by subsequent shows that flopped including SUNSET BLVD, ASPECTS OF LOVE, WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND, THE BEAUTIFUL GAME, BOMBAY DREAMS, and LOVE NEVER DIES. I really doubt OZ will break that trend. Audiences are thrilled to see the beloved film re-created on stage and the show will do spectacular business on the road but seems an unlikely prospect for success on Broadway where another WICKED witch is ensconced.



The level of spectacle sets teh bar higher with each new show and it is teaching audiences that spectacle trumps content. The high costs or maintaining these shows have contributed to the escalating ticket prices.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has more money than sense
Posted by EricMontreal22 2013-01-23 04:53:35


Aspects of Love and Whistle Down the Wind, at any rate, made a profit in London--so calling them flops isn't really correct (Bombay Dreams recouped in London too, I believe).

I do think ALW deserves some credit for having some sense of theatricality, personally. I find it harder to give him credit for how talented he is or isn't--but despite liking to dominate his shows when working with better collaborators often would be to their benefit, etc--I do honestly think he has some real inate sense of what often just, somehow, "works" theatrically.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has more money than sense
Posted by algy 2013-01-23 07:52:44


Gaveston said "On HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA?, host Graham Norton and the panel of judges all called Lloyd Webber "Lord Andrew".

I don't think a lord's title necessarily goes with his last name. In DOWNTOWN ABBEY, the current peer is called "Lord Grantham", but his last name (and that of his daughters and cousin) is "Crawley". (His unmarried daughters are often called "Lady Crawley", to distinguish them from their mother, "Lady Grantham".)

But I don't even pretend to know the difference between titles. I believe Lord Grantham is an earl and his wife a countess.

(Anyone. please feel free to correct my spelling. I've invented spelling based on the way the names sound to me on TV.)"

Ok, so let me see what I can dredge up from my course on the aristocracy at Uni.

The order of precedence/importance goes:

Dukes (not royal dukes - they're above)
Marquis
Earls
Viscounts

People who are a Marquis, an Earl or a Viscount are referred to as Lords usually of their title (hence Lord Grantham). Eldest sons often get a courtesy title - one of their father's lesser titles usually and the rest of the kids use the family surname rather than the place.

An example:
(I'm using the last duke because it's easier)
Andrew Cavendish, The Duke of Devonshire
His heir (actually not his oldest son because his eldest son died) Peregrine Cavendish, Marquis of Hartington
Next in line (son of Peregrine) William Cavendish, Earl of Burlington