King Charles needed a coronation song. He summoned Andrew Lloyd Webber.


NEW YORK — Call it a night of music.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, aka Lord Lloyd-Webber Kt (as in Knight Bachelor), was commissioned by His Majesty Charles III. The composers of “Cats” and “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Evita” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” know the kind of service best.

Maharaj wanted a song. Or not so much a song as a composition – in a way, one fit for a king. For the day of his coronation, in Westminster Abbey, on the 6th of May in the year of our Lord 2023.

So it was that Lloyd Webber composed a melody for Psalm 98, which pretty much goes, “Sing unto the Lord a new song.” Then he gathered his flock — “Half the kids in my office,” he said — and with them Lord made a demo. Case in point is Lord Lloyd Webber.

To Yank’s way of thinking, to substitute a court composer for a Broadway composer is to strike one’s notes in the storied nave where the royal British line has been hallowed for a thousand years. And heard them in an Anglican service with music by the likes of George Handel and Edward Elgar.

Lloyd Webber has a more business-like attitude about the whole thing. Sitting in an empty dining room at the Lamb’s Club on West 44th Street recently — he’s in New York on Thursday for the opening of his latest musical, “Bad Cinderella” — Lloyd Webber spoke matter-of-factly about the assignment. of

“I’ve written a lot of choral music,” he said.[M]Your father was a very distinguished church organist and choirmaster and the singing tradition is not something new to me, as it has been my whole life.”

It’s unfair to conclude that Lloyd Webber isn’t excited about the opportunity. He’s so even-keeled and committed to conversation in a let’s-keep-our-wits-about-us way in English, that you can’t really tell how much it weighs on him. Not that Lloyd Webber is a close confidant of the king or anything – although this isn’t the musician’s first meeting with Charles III on serious musical matters.

“The great thing about Charles is that he really loves a lot of reasons that are a little bit unfashionable,” Lloyd Webber put it bluntly. “He cares deeply about all sorts of pretty interesting things. I mean, like, three or four years before the lockdown, I got a call from him asking if I could meet him at Lancaster House immediately. could come, because he had an idea. What he was concerned about was that there wasn’t enough access for young people to go and learn to play the church organ.”

Similarly, There are some very interesting things going on in the life of Lloyd Webber, who turns 75 on Wednesday and is at another milestone in his career. The Broadway line is coming to an end for “Phantom,” which opened here a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall and has already run 13,941 performances. His last day will be April 16, and Lloyd Webber isn’t serious about it.

“The truth of the matter is, ‘Phantom’ doesn’t need to close in New York at all,” Lloyd Webber said, suddenly allowing his image to emerge. Although his company, the Really Useful Group, has produced several of his musicals in the past — and owns six theaters in London’s West End, including the prized Theater Royal Drury Lane — “Phantom” producer Cameron Mackintosh The scope of Lloyd Webber claims that the show’s marketing had become old hat, and allowed interest to atrophy.

“My boys work in the music business and they said, ‘Dad, you’ve got to wake up to what’s really going on and it’s obviously called social media,'” he told sons Nicholas, 43, Alastair. Referring to 30 said. and William, 29. Evidence for this, Lloyd Webber asserted, came after a remix of the song “Phantom” went viral on TikTok on Halloween, and then boosted ticket sales among young fans. “Young people have discovered it, which is why it’s going through the roof,” the musician said, noting that the show’s planned closing had to be postponed until April to accommodate last-minute additions.

“The ‘Phantom’ was missing an entire generation of people,” he claimed. “And now all of a sudden young people again, now they’re saying they want to bring their friends.”

Mackintosh spokesman Mark Thibodeau said the producer was “overwhelmed by the absolutely phenomenal response to the closing from both longtime fans returning for the last time, as well as people of all ages who have never seen the show before.” Didn’t see it.” He added that the show “was losing money for most of the week before the closing was announced, and the overwhelming response is exactly because theatergoers think it’s coming to an end.” The expansion ends April 16 as the Shubert Organization “begins renovations shortly thereafter.”

But perhaps now, fans will flock to “Bad Cinderella,” for which he wrote the music, with lyrics by David Zippel and a book by Emerald Fennell, the BBC’s “Killing Eve.” Season 2 was head writer and paid. Camilla Parker-Bowles on Netflix’s “The Crown.” The musical is a sassy pop-style twist on the fairy tale, featuring a mischievous Cinderella. Played by Linedy Genao.

The musical at the Imperial Theater has added “bad” to its Broadway title, after a start-and-stop premiere run in London that was ultimately canceled due to covid disruptions. The irony was that Lloyd Webber was exactly right. At the forefront of Covid prevention efforts In the early stages of the pandemic, even volunteer for the Oxford University Prelims in 2020. Corona Virus Vaccine trials. Three years later, the coronavirus is still frustrating her efforts to get her work on a reliable schedule: In the past few days, “Bad Cinderella’s” press team has been sending off invitations to critics. The emails came in because members of the main cast were testing positive. (The official opening night is still scheduled for Thursday, with reviewers invited for Wednesday.)

After positive critical reception, he regrets the premature closing of “Cinderella” in London in June 2022. He says it ended the run because so many actors were sick that “it was almost stage managers going in and playing the lead.”

“I think a commercial producer would have just said, ‘Look, what we need to do is just go ahead and take the public’s money.’ I can’t do it. You know, I thought it was wrong.”

As for the future: Lloyd Webber is trying to figure out what his next musical might be after nearly two dozen of them. Fixing a project for him is not as easy as it used to be. “I still haven’t found a topic that I really want to write about. Because nowadays it’s harder than ever to find a topic for various reasons. Because you’re not from that background, or you’re not from that. There’s, you know, blah, blah, blah. And I keep thinking to myself, would I ever have written ‘Evita’? Because I’m not Argentine? You know? What’s the world going to be?”

The royal viewing world in short order from Lloyd Webber, in the form of his three-minute piece for the Coronation, with new works by classical composers, including Roxana Panofink, Tarik O’Regan, Roderick Williams and Shirley J. Thompson. will listen . After this interview, he was soon to return to London to help solve the challenge of how well the music would be heard in the ancient church. He says his spiritual home is Times Square (“If you love musicals, you love Broadway”), but his latest song is written for king and country.

Evil CinderellaMusic by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by David Zippel, Book by Emerald Fennell. Directed by Lawrence Connor. At the Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St., New York.

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