Move over, Simon Cowell and Donald Trump. Andrew Lloyd Webber is ready for his TV close-up.
The composer has signed with WMA, taking his first Hollywood agent ever because he wants to make a network deal for an American reality show that he’ll topline, searching for a young unknown to star in one of his stage musical productions. WMA will not handle his stage business, which continues to go through his Really Useful Group.
Working in Lloyd Webber’s favor on the TV front are two highly rated U.K. reality series he built around revivals of “The Sound of Music” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Working against him is the failure of the recent NBC reality show “You’re the One that I Want,” which Lloyd Webber said swiped his concept and applied it to “Grease.”
Lloyd Webber has already talked with his “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” collaborator Tim Rice about mounting a production of that show in America and using it for the series. He feels that with more than 250 productions performed last year in schools, it’s a familiar subject matter for reality-rabid young viewers.
He will travel to Hollywood in early fall to meet with network execs, and persuade them that NBC’s spin on casting “Grease” via TV competish shouldn’t deter them. The buyer stands to be a financial partner in the stage production that is the end product of the reality show.
“I went to William Morris so I wouldn’t be stymied by that abysmal ‘Grease’ program, which was a complete rip-off of my idea,” Lloyd Webber said.
He said that TV shows had pumped theater auds, especially among the young.
“Frankly, it made theater cool and that’s something I’d love to do that in America,” he added. “The end game can be bigger than ‘American Idol.’ Here, we’ll be creating a production of a show that will have enormous legs, whether it goes to Broadway or stadium tours, which is the way I originally did ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ ”
WMA will also rep Lloyd Webber for lecture tours, and possibly for movie transformations of his stage hits that include “Sunset Boulevard.” He wants to concentrate on TV first, after he spends the remainder of the summer honing a sequel to the smash “The Phantom of the Opera.”
“I’m trying to balance the fact that my day job is to be a composer, but there has been a huge demand around the world for me to do television, and I really enjoy it,” he said.