Andrew Lloyd Webber is known for many things. But he’s never been a soap star — until now.
“I’ve blurred fiction with fact all my life but never on national television,” says the composer on the BBC website, indicating his appearance at the end of this month in a handful of episodes on Channel 4 daytime soap “Hollyoaks,” playing … himself.
The casting is a continuation of Lloyd Webber’s effort to boost his hit West End revival of “The Sound of Music” through TV. It was his idea to create a BBC reality TV show to find a Maria for the celebrated tuner. He followed with “Any Dream Will Do,” searching for the title character for his “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” In the U.S. the idea was copied with “Grease: You’re The One That I Want,” casting leads for the Broadway revival.
The “Hollyoaks” plot involving Lloyd Webber will see wannabe star Summer Shaw — played by Summer Strallen, who led London’s “The Drowsy Chaperone” — begging him for an audition for a musical. Presumably she’s successful, because “The Sound of Music” leading lady Connie Fisher finishes her contract in February, to be replaced by… Strallen.
If that weren’t enough, Lloyd Webber will be back onscreen later in the year, joining producer Cameron Mackintosh to preside over another star search: “I’d Do Anything” will cast a woman to play Nancy and three boys to alternate in the title role in a revival of “Oliver!”