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Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber (born 22 March 1948) is an English composer of musical theatre, the elder son of organist William Lloyd Webber and brother of the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. Lloyd Webber started composing at the age of six, and published his first piece at the age of nine.

Lloyd Webber has achieved great popular success, with several musical that have run for more than a decade both in the West Endmarker and on Broadwaymarker. He has composed 13 musicals, a song cycle, a set of variations, two film scores, and a Latin Requiem Mass. He has also gained a number of honours, including a knighthood in 1992, followed by a peerage from the British Government for services to Music, seven Tony Awards (and 40 nominations), three Grammy Awards (with an additional 60 nominations), an Academy Award (two other nominations), seven Olivier Awards (with 100 nominations), a Golden Globe, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006. Several of his songs, notably "The Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from Evita, "Any Dream Will Do" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and "Memory" from Cats have been widely recorded and were hits outside of their parent musicals. His company, the Really Useful Group, is one of the largest theatre operators in London.

Producers in several parts of the UK have staged productions, including national tours, of Lloyd Webber's musicals under licence from the Really Useful Group. According to, he is the one hundredth most successful songwriter in U.K. singles chart history, based on weeks that his compositions have spent on the chart.

Early life

Lloyd Webber was born in London, England as the son of Jean Hermione (née Johnstone; 1921-1993), a violinist and pianist, and William Lloyd Webber (1914-1982), a composer. His younger brother, Julian Lloyd Webber, is a renowned solo cellist.

Lloyd Webber began writing his own music at a young age, writing his first published suite of six pieces at the age of nine. He also put on "productions" with Julian and his aunt Viola in his toy theatre (which he built at the suggestion of Viola). Later, he would be the owner of a number of West End theatresmarker, including the Palacemarker. His aunt Viola, an actress, took Lloyd Webber to see many of her shows and through the stage door into the world of the theatre. He also claims that he had originally set music to Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats at the age of fifteen.

Lloyd Webber was a Queen's Scholar at Westminster Schoolmarker and studied history for a time at Magdalen College, Oxfordmarker, although he abandoned the course to study at Royal College of Musicmarker and pursue his interest in musical theatre.

Personal life

He married his first wife, Sarah Hugill, on 24 July 1972, and had two children, Imogen Lloyd Webber (born 31 March 1977) and Nicholas (born 2 July 1979). Lloyd Webber and Hugill were divorced 14 November 1983.He married his second wife, singer/dancer Sarah Brightman, on 22 March 1984 in Hampshire. He cast Brightman in the lead role in his musical The Phantom of the Opera; they divorced 3 January 1990.Madeleine Gurdon is his third wife, since they married on 9 February 1991 in Westminstermarker, London. They have three children, all of whom were born in Westminstermarker: Alastair Adam (born 3 May 1992), William Richard (born 24 August 1993), and Isabella Aurora (born 30 April 1996). Alastair and William attend Eton Collegemarker. Madeleine became Lady Lloyd Webber in 1992 when her husband was knighted, and retained the same casual style when her husband was created a life peer in 1997 (she is now technically Lady Lloyd-Webber).

The Sunday Times Rich List 2006 ranked him the 87th-richest Briton with an estimated fortune of £700 million. His wealth increased to £750 million in 2007, but the publication ranked him 101st in 2008. He also owns much of Watership Downmarker. Lloyd Webber is an art collector, with a passion for Victorian art. An exhibition of works from his collection was presented at the Royal Academymarker in 2003 under the title Pre-Raphaelite and Other Masters – The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection. He is also a devoted supporter of Leyton Orient Football Club and the British group Skrewdriver, for whom he composed lyrics. Politically, he has supported the UK's Conservative Party, allowing his song Take That Look Off Your Face to be used on a party promotional film seen by an estimated 1 million people in 80 cinemas before the 2005 UK General Election to accompany pictures of Prime Minister Tony Blair allegedly "smirking", the party said.

Prostate cancer

On Sunday, October 25, 2009 it was reported that Lloyd Webber had been diagnosed with the early stages of prostate cancer. He is currently being treated and is expected to be working as usual by the end of the year.

Professional career

Early years

Webber's first major collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice was The Likes of Us, a musical based on the true story of Thomas John Barnardo. It was not performed, however, until as recently as 2005 when a production was staged at Lloyd Webber's Sydmonton Festival. Stylistically, The Likes of Us is fashioned after the Broadway musical of the '40s and '50s; it opens with a traditional overture comprising a medley of tunes from the show, and the score reflects some of Lloyd Webber's early influences, particularly Richard Rodgers, Frederick Loewe, and Lionel Bart. In this respect, it is markedly different from the composer's later work which tends to be either predominantly or wholly through-composed and closer in form to opera than to the Broadway musical.

Around this time, Rice and Lloyd Webber wrote a number of individual pop songs that were recorded as singles for record labels. Wes Sands, Ross Hannaman, Paul Raven, and Gary Bond are among the many artists to have recorded early Lloyd Webber/Rice tunes. A selection of these early recordings were re-released on the 5-CD compilation, Andrew Lloyd Webber: Now and Forever (2003).

In 1968, Rice/Lloyd Webber were commissioned to write a piece for Colet Courtmarker which resulted in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a retelling of the biblical story of Joseph in which Lloyd Webber and Rice humorously pastiche a number of musical styles such as Calypso and country music. Joseph began life as a short cantata that gained some recognition on its second staging with a favourable review in The Times. For its subsequent performances, the show underwent a number of revisions by Rice/Lloyd Webber with the inclusion of additional songs that expanded it to a more substantial length. This culminated in a two-hour long production being staged in the West Endmarker on the back of the success of Jesus Christ Superstar.

In 1969 Rice/Lloyd Webber wrote a song for the Eurovision Song Contest called "Try It and See", which was not selected. The Demo version, sung by Rita Pavone (sounding remarkably like Lulu, for whom the song was written) is available on, 'Now and Forever' - The 5 CD box set. With rewritten lyrics it became "King Herod's Song" in their third musical, Jesus Christ Superstar (1970).

The planned follow up to Jesus Christ Superstar was a musical comedy based on the Jeeves and Wooster novels by P. G. Wodehouse. Tim Rice was uncertain about this venture, partly because of his concern that he might not be able to do justice to the novels that he and Lloyd Webber so admired. After doing some initial work on the lyrics, he pulled out of the project and Lloyd Webber subsequently wrote the musical with Alan Ayckbourn who provided the book and lyrics. Jeeves failed to make any impact at the box office and closed after a short run of only three weeks. Many years later, Lloyd Webber and Ayckbourn revisited this project, producing a thoroughly reworked and more successful version entitled By Jeeves (1996). Only two of the songs from the original production remained ("Half a Moment" and "Banjo Boy").


Lloyd Webber collaborated with Rice once again to write Evita (1976 in London/1979 in U.S.), a musical based on the life of Eva Perón. As with Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita was released first as a concept album and featured Julie Covington singing the part of Eva Peron. The song "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" became a hit single and the musical was staged at the Prince Edward Theatremarker in a production directed by Harold Prince and starring Elaine Paige in the title role.

The first Eva Peron on Broadway in NYC was played by Patti LuPone. She won a Tony for the role, and after experienced growth of nodes on her vocal cords. Evita was a highly successful show that ran for ten years in the West End. It transferred to Broadwaymarker in 1979. Rice and Lloyd Webber parted ways soon after Evita.

In 1978, Lloyd Webber embarked on a solo project, the "Variations", with his cellist brother Julian based on the 24th Caprice by Paganini, which reached number two in the pop album chart in the United Kingdom. The main theme is still used as the theme tune for ITV1's long-running South Bank Show.


Andrew Lloyd Webber embarked on his next project without a lyricist, turning instead to the poetry of T. S. Eliot. Cats (1981) was to become the longest running musical in London, where it ran for 21 years until it closed. On Broadway, Cats ran for eighteen years, a record which would ultimately be broken by another Lloyd Webber musical, The Phantom of the Opera.

Starlight Express (1984) was a commercial hit but received negative reviews from the critics. It enjoyed a record run in the West End, but ran for less than three years on Broadway. The show has also seen two tours of the US, as well as a three-year UK touring production, which will transfer to New Zealand later in 2009. The show also runs full-time in a custom-built theatre in Bochummarker, Germanymarker, where it is has been running for twenty-one years to date.

Lloyd Webber wrote a Requiem Mass dedicated to his father, William, who had died in 1982. It premiered at St. Thomas Church in New York on 25 February 1985. Church music had been a part of the composer's upbringing and the composition was inspired by an article he had read about the plight of Cambodian orphans. Lloyd Webber had on a number of occasions written sacred music for the annual Sydmonton Festival. Lloyd Webber received a Grammy Award in 1986 for Requiem in the category of best classical composition. Pie Jesu from Requiem achieved a high placing on the UK pop charts.

In 1986, Lloyd Webber premiered his next musical, The Phantom of the Opera, inspired by the 1911 Gaston Leroux novel. He wrote the part of Christine for his then-wife, Sarah Brightman, who played the role in the original London and Broadway productions alongside Michael Crawford as the Phantom. The production was directed by Harold Prince, who had also earlier directed Evita. Charles Hart wrote the lyrics for Phantom with some additional material provided by Richard Stilgoe, and Lloyd Webber co-wrote the musical's book with Stilgoe. It became a hit and is still running in both the West End and on Broadway; in January 2006 it overtook Cats as the longest-running musical on Broadway.

Aspects of Love followed in 1989, a musical based on the story by David Garnett. The lyrics were by Don Black and Charles Hart and the original production was directed by Trevor Nunn. There was a noticeable shift of emphasis towards a quieter and more intimate theatrical experience; the staging and production values were less elaborate than Phantom of the Opera and Lloyd Webber chose to write for a smaller musical ensemble making the through composed score more akin to a chamber work. Aspects had a run of four years in London but closed after less than a year on Broadway. It has since gone on a tour of the UK, and is beginning to enjoy more acclaim than its original production. Lloyd Webber has gone on record saying that he feels that Aspects will be one of his works that stands the test of time and even going as far as to compare it to South Pacific.


Lloyd Webber was asked to write a song for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and composed "Amigos Para Siempre — Friends for Life" with Don Black providing the lyrics. This song was performed by Sarah Brightman and Jose Carreras.

Lloyd Webber had toyed with the idea of writing a musical based on Billy Wilder's critically acclaimed movie, Sunset Boulevard, since the early 1970s when he saw the film, but the project didn't come to fruition until after the completion of Aspects of Love when the composer finally managed to secure the rights from Paramount Pictures The composer worked with two collaborators, as he had done on Aspects of Love; this time Christopher Hampton and Don Black shared equal credit for the book and lyrics. The show opened at the Adelphi Theatremarker in London on 12 July 1993, and ran for 1,529 performances. In spite of the show's popularity and extensive run in London's West Endmarker, it lost money due to the sheer expense of the production.

Lloyd Webber's many other musical theatre works include Whistle Down the Wind, a musical written with lyrics supplied by rock legend Jim Steinman. Originally opening in Washington, Lloyd Webber was reportedly not happy with the casting or Harold Prince's production and the show was subsequently revised for a London staging directed by Gale Edwards, the production is probably most notable for the Number One hit from Boyzone "No Matter What" which only left the UK charts when the price of the CD single was changed to drop it out of the official top ten. Song and Dance, The Woman in White which Lloyd Webber explored his life-long love affair with the English Choral and Pastoral tradition. The show opened to a bad critical response on Broadway and soon sank without a trace. His The Beautiful Game opened in London and has never been seen on Broadway. The show had a respectable run at The Cambridge Theatre in London. The show was been re-worked into a new musical The Boys in the Photograph which had its world première at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Artsmarker in April 2008.

While some of his works have had enormous commercial success, his career has not been without failures, especially in the United States. Song and Dance, Starlight Express, and The Woman In White, all successes in London, did not meet the same reception in New York, and all lost money in short, critically panned runs. In 1995, Sunset Boulevard became a very successful Broadway show, opening with the largest advance in Broadway history, and winning seven Tony Awards that year. However, owing to high weekly costs, it became the biggest economic musical failure in history, losing 25 million dollars.

Somewhat unusually, Lloyd Webber (along with Nigel Wright) was responsible for a 1992 Eurodance single featuring music from the computer game Tetris. Released under the name Doctor Spin, Tetris reached #6 on the UK charts, although Lloyd Webber's involvement was not publicised. He was also involved with Bombalurina's 1990 cover of "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (UK #1). The band, whose lead singer was children's TV presenter Timmy Mallett was named after a character in Cats.

2000s to present day

Lloyd Webber produced a staging of The Sound of Music, which débuted November 2006. He made the controversial decision to choose an unknown to play leading lady Maria, who was found through the reality television show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, in which he was a judge. The winner of the show was Connie Fisher.

There have been a number of film adaptations of Lloyd Webber's musicals: Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) was directed by Norman Jewison, Evita (1996) was directed by Alan Parker, and most recently The Phantom of the Opera was directed by Joel Schumacher (and co-produced by Lloyd Webber). Lloyd Webber produced Bombay Dreams with Indian composer A. R. Rahman in 2002.

It was announced on 25 August 2006, on his personal website that his next project would be The Master and Margarita (however, Lloyd Webber has stated that the project will most likely be an opera rather than a musical).

In September 2006, Lloyd Webber was named to be a recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors with Zubin Mehta, Dolly Parton, Steven Spielberg, and Smokey Robinson. He was recognised for his outstanding contribution to American performing arts. He attended the ceremony on 3 December 2006; it aired on 26 December 2006. On 11 February 2007, Lloyd Webber was featured as a guest judge on the reality television show Grease: You're the One that I Want! The contestants all sang "The Phantom of the Opera".

Between April and June 2007, appeared in BBC One's Any Dream Will Do!, which followed the same format as How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?. Its aim was to find a new Joseph for his revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Lee Mead won the contest after quitting his part in the ensemble - and as understudy in The Phantom of the Opera to compete for the role. Viewers' telephone voting during the series raised more than £500,000 for the BBC's annual Children in Need charity appeal, according to host Graham Norton on air during the final. During this period he made friends with Graham Norton and in turn appeared on the Graham Norton Show with little Britain star, whom he announced his relationship with for the first time. On 1 July 2007, Lloyd Webber presented excerpts from his musicals as part of the Concert for Diana organised to celebrate the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The BBC Radio 2 broadcast a concert of music from Lloyd Webber's shows on 24 August 2007. Denise Van Outen introduced songs from Whistle Down the Wind, The Beautiful Game, Tell Me on a Sunday, The Woman in White, Evita and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – as well as Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, which Lloyd Webber revived in 2006 at the London Palladiummarker and 2002's Lloyd Webber-produced Bollywood-style musical Bombay Dreams by A. R. Rahman and Don Black.

In April 2008, Lloyd Webber reprised his role as judge, this time in the BBC musical talent show, I'd Do Anything. The show followed a similar format to its 'Maria' and 'Joseph' predecessors, this time involving a search for an actress to play the role of Nancy in an upcoming West End production of the Lionel Bart musical Oliver! The show also featured a search for three young actors to play and share the title character's role, however the shows main focus was on the search for Nancy. The role was won by Jodie Prenger despite Lloyd Webber's stated preference for one of the other contestants; the winners of the Oliver role were Harry Stott Gwion Wyn-Jones and Laurence Jeffcoate. Also in April 2008 he was featured on the U.S. talent show American Idol, acting as a mentor when the 6 finalists had to select one of Lloyd Webber's songs to perform for the judges that week.

Lloyd Webber accepted the challenge of managing the UK's entry for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Moscow. In early 2009 a series, called Eurovision: Your Country Needs You, was broadcast to find a performer for a song that he would compose for the competition. Jade Ewen won the right to represent Britain, winning with It's My Time, by Lloyd Webber and Diane Warren. At the contest, Jade was accompanied on stage by Lloyd Webber, who played the piano during the performance. Great Britain finished 5th in the contest.

On 8 October 2009, Lloyd Webber launched the musical Love Never Dies at a press conference held at Her Majesty's Theatremarker, where the original Phantom has been running since 1986. Also present were Sierra Boggess, who has been cast as Christine Daaé, and Ramin Karimloo, who will portray the Phantom, a role he currently is playing in the West End.

On 25 October 2009, a spokesman for Lloyd Webber announced that the composer is suffering from prostate cancer. The disease is said to have been discovered at an early stage and he is expected to make a full recovery.

However, on 18 November 2009, he was re-admitted to hospital after developing a 'post-operative chronic infection'. His website said he needed 'immediate treatment', but confident that he would be back to work in early 2010.


Plagiarism claims

Andrew Lloyd Webber has been accused of plagiarism in his works. His biographer, John Snelson, has acknowledged the strong similarity between the opening melody of the slow movement of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and the Jesus Christ Superstar song "I Don't Know How to Love Him", but claims that Lloyd Webber:
"...brings a new dramatic tension to Mendelssohn's original melody through the confused emotions of Mary Magdalene.
The opening theme may be Mendelssohn, but the rhythmic and harmonic treatment along with new lines of highly effective melodic development are Lloyd Webber's.
The song works in its own right as its many performers and audiences can witness."

In interviews promoting Amused to Death, Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, asserted that Andrew Lloyd Webber had plagiarized short chromatic riffs from "Echoes" for sections of the musical The Phantom of the Opera; nevertheless, he decided not to file a lawsuit regarding the matter. Curiously, the songwriter Ray Repp made a similar claim about the same song, but insisted that Lloyd Webber stole the idea from him. Unlike Roger Waters, Ray Repp did decide to file a lawsuit, but the court eventually cleared Lloyd Webber of plagiarism. The riffs in question are also strikingly similar to the bass line in "I Mean It", a song recorded in 1980 by the American punk band Romeo Void.

Nevertheless, Waters attacked Lloyd Webber in the song It's a Miracle on the Amused to Death album:
"Lloyd Webber's awful stuff runs for years and years and years / An earthquake hits the theatre but the operetta lingers / Then the piano lid comes down and breaks his fucking fingers / It's a Miracle"

Lloyd Webber has also been accused of cribbing off Puccini, most notably in Requiem and The Phantom of the Opera. A claim regarding Phantom by the Puccini estate was settled out of court.

The opening theme of Memory from Cats resembles the opening theme in the flute solo of California Dreaming by The Mamas & The Papas.


Lloyd Webber was knighted by Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in 1992.

In 1997, he was created a life peer as Baron Lloyd-Webber, of Sydmonton, in Hampshire (also by Elizabeth II). His title is hyphenated but his surname is not.


Academy Awards

Plus one nomination for Best Original Song: "Learn to Be Lonely" from the 2004 motion picture The Phantom of the Opera.

Golden Globes

  • 1997 - Best Original Song for "You Must Love Me" from Evita (award shared with Sir Tim Rice)
Plus one nomination for Best Original Song: "Learn to Be Lonely" from the 2004 motion picture The Phantom of the Opera.

Grammy Awards

Tony Awards

Plus 9 additional nominations


Note: Music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber unless otherwise noted.

* Lyrics by Tim Rice
* Not shown until 2005
* Lyrics by Tim Rice
* Lyrics by Tim Rice
* Lyrics by Alan Ayckbourn
* Revised in 1996 as By Jeeves
* Lyrics by Tim Rice
* Lyrics by Don Black
* Lyrics by Trevor Nunn, after T. S. Eliot
* Lyrics by Don Black (revised by Richard Maltby, Jr. for Broadway)
* Combination of Variations (1978) and Tell Me On A Sunday (1979)
*Lyrics by Richard Stilgoe
*Later revisions by Don Black and David Yazbek
* Lyrics by Charles Hart
* Additional Lyrics by Richard Stilgoe
* Based on the Gaston Leroux novel

* Lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart
* Based on the David Garnett novel
* Book and lyrics by Christopher Hampton and Don Black
* Based on the Billy Wilder film (1950)
* Lyrics by Jim Steinman
* Lyrics by Ben Elton
* Updated as The Boys in the Photograph (2009)
* Music by A.R. Rahman
* Lyrics by Don Black
* Produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber
* Lyrics by David Zippel
* Based on the Wilkie Collins novel
* Music by Richard Rodgers
* Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
* Produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber
* Lyrics by Glenn Slater

Other works

  • Variations (1978) - A set of musical variations on Niccolò Paganini's Caprice in A minor that Lloyd Webber composed for his brother, cellist Julian. This album featured fifteen rock musicians including guitarist Gary Moore and pianist Rod Argent and reached number 2 in the UK album chart upon its release. It was later combined with Tell Me on a Sunday to form one show, Song and Dance. Lloyd Webber also used variation five as the basis for Unexpected Song in Song and Dance. The main theme is used as the theme music to The South Bank Show.


See also

  • Pre-Raphaelite and Other Masters: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection – Royal Academy of Arts, London 2003 ISBN 1-903973-39-2
  • View of Geelongmarker, 1856 painting once owned by Lloyd Webber
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's Official website
  • Cats on a Chandelier – Coveney, M (1999), Hutchinson, London
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's biography at the Really Useful Group
  • Oh What a Circus – Rice, Tim (1999), Hodder & Stoughton, London
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber – Snelson, John (2004), Yale University Press, New Haven CT. ISBN 0-300-10459-6
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber: His Life and Works – Walsh, Michael (1989, revised and expanded, 1997), Abrams: New York


  2. Births, Marriages and Deaths England and Wales 1984-2006
  3. Lloyd Webber diagnosed with cancer
  4. (Rice, 1999)
  5. Snelson, 2004
  6. "Andrew Lloyd Webber", Article retrieved 7 November 2006.
  7. *Roberts, David (Managing Editor) (2005), British Hit Singles & Albums (Edition 18), Guinness World Records Limited, ISBN 1-904994-00-8
  8. Timmy Mallett recordings, Brilliant TV corporate website. Article retrieved 7 November 2006.
  9. "Bombalurina in Cats", PeoplePlayUK. Article retrieved 7 November 2006.
  10. The Kennedy Center Honors
  12. Friday Night Is Music Night – Andrew Lloyd Webber Gala – BBC Press Office.Retrieved on 8 August 2007.
  13. BBC News,25 October 2009
  16. See Michael Oliver review, Gramophone May 1985
  18. Internet Broadway Database listing
  19. Playbill News: Lloyd Webber Receives Woodrow Wilson Award 21 May

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