×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

New Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical Set for West End Bow

Despite recent Rialto track record, the creative's latest is automatically a closely watched property

Andrew Lloyd Webber has a new musical lined up for a West End world preem, and because it’s a new project from the creator of some of Broadway’s most enduring hits, it’s big news.

But given the track record of the composer’s most recent work, there’s no guarantee the show will turn into a big deal at the box office.

Stephen Ward,” a new tuner about the 1963 London political scandal known as the Profumo Affair, will open in December in a production helmed by Richard Eyre. Scribe Christopher Hampton (“Les Liaisons Dangereuses”) and lyricist Don Black, both collaborators on Lloyd Webber’s musical version of “Sunset Boulevard,” also are on board the new show, as is choreographer Stephen Mear.

There’s no doubt that Lloyd Webber is among the best-known musical theater composers alive, a familiar name who, even more than “Les Miserables” songsmiths Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil, was the face of the Brit megamusical that dominated Broadway in the 1980s. “Phantom” remains one of the legit industry’s most profitable global properties, and it’s only one of a string of popular credits that includes “Cats,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

But even that pedigree doesn’t necessarily mean similar Main Stem success for Lloyd Webber’s newer composing endeavors. His 2005 Broadway outing, “The Woman in Black,” ran for less than six months, and the sequel to “Phantom,” “Love Never Dies,” earned downbeat reviews in London in 2010, shuttered relatively quickly and has not yet made it to the Rialto. (A subsequent Australian production from a new creative team, however, proved well-received.)

Popular on Variety

There’s also the possibility that the subject matter of “Stephen Ward,” a UK scandal that won’t be familiar to a wide swath of US theatergoers, could prove too obscure to lure Broadway auds.

That said, any new title from Lloyd Webber is automatically a closely watched property. Robert Fox (“Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway,” “The Boy from Oz”), a British producer who’s no stranger to Broadway, and Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group produce “Stephen Ward,” and legiters can bet that any success for the London staging will  yield instant talk of a Rialto transfer.

On the West End, “Stephen Ward” begins previews Dec. 3 ahead of a Dec. 19 opening at London’s Aldwych Theater.

More Legit

  • The Thin Place review

    'The Thin Place': Theater Review

    I can’t resist: “The Thin Place” is a thin play. But before it drifts away into the eternal empyrean, this slender drama by Lucas Hnath (“A Doll’s House, Part 2,” “Hillary and Clinton”) tells a beguiling ghost story. Well, not exactly a ghost story, but the story of a beguiling haunting that may or may [...]

  • The Ocean at the End of

    'The Ocean at the End of the Lane': Theater Review

    Is Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” a story of childhood for adults or an adult view of the world for children? As director Katy Rudd’s astonishingly theatrical production of Joel Horwood’s adaptation resoundingly proves, the answer is: Both. Although wisely recommended for audiences above the age of twelve – the [...]

  • Warner Bros. Pictures trailer launch event

    Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jon M. Chu Tease 'In the Heights' Movie

    Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Jon M. Chu and star Anthony Ramos took the train to the top of the world to offer a sneak peek of “In the Heights,” Warner Bros.’ big-screen adaptation of Miranda’s (other) hit musical. “I’m thrilled we’re here, and I’m thrilled we’re uptown,” Miranda rhapsodized to a packed crowd at a cozy [...]

  • Lucas Hnath

    Listen: Lucas Hnath's Own Play Gives Him Nightmares

    Tony-nominated playwright Lucas Hnath (“A Doll’s House, Part 2”) has two shows in New York this season: a monologue based on the real-life experiences of his mother, and a ghost story. One of them gave him nightmares — but it wasn’t the ghost story. Listen to this week’s podcast below: He explained why on the [...]

  • Greater Clements review

    'Greater Clements': Theater Review

    The American Dream and all of its values have taken quite a beating lately. Director and screenwriter Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” Bruce Springsteen’s recent “Western Stars” album, even Ralph Lauren in the documentary “Very Ralph” show us how this country and all of its totems and merits have gone asunder. No dreams are more crushed, [...]

  • Harry Connick Jr Walk of Fame

    Harry Connick Jr. on Returning to Broadway

    Harry Connick Jr. is headed back to Broadway with a three-week limited engagement celebration of legendary songwriter Cole Porter. The actor and musician came up with the concept for the show and is also directing. “I love Broadway and if I had two careers one of them would be only Broadway just because I love [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content