by Andrew Lloyd Webber


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"You have the luck of Croesus on stilts (as my Auntie Vi would have said) if you’ve had the sort of career, ups and downs, warts and all that I have in that wondrous little corner of show business called musical theatre."

One of the most successful and distinguished artists of our time, Andrew Lloyd Webber has reigned over the musical theatre world for nearly five decades. The winner of numerous awards, including multiple Tonys and an Oscar, Lloyd Webber has enchanted millions worldwide with his music and numerous hit shows, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera—Broadway’s longest running show—and most recently, School of Rock. In Unmasked, written in his own inimitable, quirky voice, the revered, award-winning composer takes stock of his achievements, the twists of fate and circumstance which brought him both success and disappointment, and the passions that inspire and sustain him.

The son of a music professor and a piano teacher, Lloyd Webber reveals his artistic influences, from his idols Rodgers and Hammerstein and the perfection of South Pacific’s “Some Enchanted Evening,” to the pop and rock music of the 1960s and Puccini’s Tosca, to P. G. Wodehouse and T. S. Eliot. Lloyd Webber recalls his bohemian London youth, reminiscing about the happiest place of his childhood, his homemade Harrington Pavilion—a make-believe world of musical theatre in which he created his earliest entertainments.

A record of several exciting and turbulent decades of British and American musical theatre and the transformation of popular music itself, Unmasked is ultimately a chronicle of artistic creation. Lloyd Webber looks back at the development of some of his most famous works and illuminates his collaborations with luminaries such as Tim Rice, Robert Stigwood, Harold Prince, Cameron Mackintosh, and Trevor Nunn. Taking us behind the scenes of his productions, Lloyd Webber reveals fascinating details about each show, including the rich cast of characters involved with making them, and the creative and logistical challenges and artistic political battles that ensued.

Lloyd Webber shares his recollections of the works that have become cultural touchstones for generations of fans: writings songs for a school production that would become his first hit, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; finding the coterie of performers for his classic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar; developing his first megahit, Evita, which would win seven Tonys Awards, including Best Musical; staking his reputation and fortune on the groundbreaking Cats; and making history with the dazzling The Phantom of the Opera.

Reflecting a life that included many passions (from architecture to Turkish Swimming Cats), full of witty and revealing anecdotes, and featuring cameo appearances by numerous celebrities—Elaine Paige, Sarah Brightman, David Frost, Julie Covington, Judi Dench, Richard Branson, A.R. Rahman, Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Richard Rodgers, Norman Jewison, Milos Forman, Plácido Domingo, Barbra Streisand, Michael Crawford, Gillian Lynne, Betty Buckley, and more—Unmasked at last reveals the true face of the extraordinary man beneath the storied legend.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062424211
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 211,852
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Andrew Lloyd Webber is the composer of The Likes of Us, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, School of Rock, and many other productions. His awards include seven Tonys, three Grammys, seven Oliviers, a Golden Globe, an Oscar, two international Emmys, the Praemium Imperiale, the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre, a BASCA Fellowship, and the Kennedy Center Honor. He was knighted in 1992 and was appointed an honorary life peer in 1997. He lives in London, where he own seven theatres, including the London Palladium.

Table of Contents

Prologue xi

Overture and Beginners 3

1 Perseus & Co. 7

2 Some Enchanted Ruin 12

3 Auntie Vi 24

4 A Whiter Shade of Something That Didn't Taste Very Nice in the First Place 36

5 "Mr Lloyd Webber, Do You Like Cats?" 49

6 Enter Timothy Miles Bindon Rice 57

7 Teenage Operas, Pop Cantatas 70

8 Elvis with Mellotron and Tambourines 83

9 Any Dream Won't Do 94

10 "Did Judas Iscariot Have God on His Side?" 107

11 Love Changes Everything, But … 121

12 JCS Meets RSO 137

13 Jesus Goes to Broadway 153

14 A Bad Case of the Edward Woodwards 164

15 Suddenly There's a Valet 174

16 Syd 187

17 Driverless Juggernauts Hurtling Down a Hill 198

18 Eva and Juan 208

19 The Long Hot Summer and the Sound of a Paraguayan Harp 221

20 The Song that Cleared the Dance Floors 237

21 Imogen and Niccolò 247

22 Variations 256

23 Really Useful 271

24 Tell Me on a Sunday 283

25 "This Artfully Produced Monument to Human Indecency" 297

26 Shaddap and Take That Look Off Your Face 300

27 Mr Mackintosh 305

28 "All the Characters Must Be Cats" 314

29 Growltiger's Last Stand 332

30 Body Stockings, Leg Warmers and Meat Cleavers 350

31 Song and Dance, and Sleep 368

32 "The Most Obnoxious Form of 'Music' Ever Invented" 383

33 Miss Sarah Brightman 398

34 "Brrrohahaha!!!" 416

35 Requiem 429

36 Epiphany 436

37 "Big Change from Book" 445

38 Year of the Phantom 455

39 In Another Part of the West End Forest… 464

40 Mr Crawford 469

41 "Let Your Soul Take You Where You Want to Be!" 477

Playout Music 483

Epilogue 489

Acknowledgments 491

Appendix 493

Index 503

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