More Music of the Night

Category: Phantom of the Opera News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: June 7, 2004 | Publication: don't know | Author: Robert Johnson
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It has been more than a decade since the opening of the last major musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, "Sunset Boulevard." But he will be back in force later this year, with a new musical and a movie version of an old one - and cash registers may again be singing from box offices to souvenir stands.

"Right now he's consumed by the creative effort," says Peter Brown, his publicist for several decades. "He's working just as hard as I have ever known him to in preparing to open a play."

That work, scheduled to open in September in London, is "Woman in White," a romantic Victorian thriller of a musical. Its mood and style hark back to Lord Lloyd Webber's hugely successful "Phantom of the Opera," which has sold more than 75 million tickets since it opened in 1988.

The new musical, freely adapted from an 1860 crime novel by Wilkie Collins, will bring Michael Crawford, who starred in "Phantom," to a West End stage for the first time in 15 years. Lord Lloyd Webber has also written music for the movie version of "Phantom," starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum and scheduled to be released in December by Warner Brothers Entertainment. "There will be one new song that we haven't yet heard," Mr. Brown said. "He's very excited about it."

Lord Lloyd Webber's company, the Really Useful Group, was formed in 1977 and went public in 1986; he took it private again in 1990. It has interests in plays, films, records, music publishing and theaters.

Despite the drought in writing the music for a major musical, Lord Lloyd Webber, 56, has been producing shows like "Bombay Dreams," written by others but branded in his splashy style. It is now on Broadway .

Mr. Brown says Lord Lloyd Webber, who divides his time between London and New York, is as energetic as ever, but also more distracted than usual. "He's been busy with his second family," Mr. Brown says, including three children - ages 7 to 12 - he has had with his third wife, Madeline Guerdon, a clothing designer.

Mr. Brown added that his boss, who received a life peerage in 1997, "writes all his own speeches" for the House of Lords: "He's a very good writer, you know." Robert Johnson

Thanks Rosalia