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Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber

John Snelson
With a Foreword by Geoffrey Block
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Andrew Lloyd Webber
    Book Description:

    Andrew Lloyd Webber is the most famous-and most controversial-composer of musical theater alive today. Hundreds of millions of people have seen his musicals, which includeCats, The Phantom of the Opera, Starlight Express, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita,andSunset Boulevard.Even more know his songs.Lloyd Webber's many awards include seven Tonys and three Grammys-but he has nonetheless been the subject of greater critical vitriol than any of his artistic peers. Why have both the man and his work provoked such extreme responses? Does he challenge his audiences, or merely recycle the comfortable and familiar? Over three decades, how has Lloyd Webber changed fundamentally what a musical can be?In this sustained examination of Lloyd Webber's creative career, the music scholar John Snelson explores the vast range of influences that have informed Lloyd Webber's work, from film, rock, and pop music to Lloyd Webber's own life story. This rigorous and sympathetic survey will be essential reading for anyone interested in Lloyd Webber's musicals and the world of modern musical theater that he has been so instrumental in shaping.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12845-1
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Series Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)

    Before Andrew Lloyd Webber, one must turn to the historic Broadway invasion of Arthur Sullivan’s music and W. S. Gilbert’s words and stories in the late 1870s and early 1880s (H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado) to find a British theater composer who so consistently conquered American popular culture. From the New York arrival ofJesus Christ Superstarin 1971 to the present, the sun has yet to set on the Lloyd Webber era either on Broadway or in London’sWest End.Evita, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Starlight Express,andSunset Boulevardall enjoyed considerable popular acclaim...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. CHAPTER 1 Aspects of Life
    (pp. 1-19)

    Andrew lloyd webber is the most prominent figure in musical theater of his generation.¹ A household name throughout the world, he can boast a series of pop-chart successes and lengthy stage runs over a long career that must be the envy of most of his contemporaries. An awareness of his works is essential to the study of the musical, for he has become central to our understanding of the art form, both in its history from the late 1960s onward and in its identity as a genre.

    By any measure of commercial success, Lloyd Webber is also a “Broadway master.”...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Telling Tales: A Survey of the Shows
    (pp. 20-54)

    The name andrew lloyd webber immediately conjures up an image clear enough in many minds to be used as an adjective—he is of iconic status to the modern musical. But the works themselves are less susceptible to a group definition than the totemic evocations of a “Lloyd Webber show” might suggest. If anything, this repertory has an underlying restlessness, a resistance to simple categorization that has made its discussion difficult. The subjects, settings, and scales of these shows have been wide ranging, and their presentational formats have adapted to match. Creative relationships have been driven by the needs of...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Pop, Rock, and Classical: First Elements of a Style
    (pp. 55-76)

    Despite lloyd webber’s preference for a dramatic context for his songs, and despite the descriptions of his early infatuation with musical theater (his own toy theater and its shows, his trips with his Aunt Vi to the West End), Broadway or West End musical theater is not at the foundation of his music in the earlier shows. Although his name and money have been made most conspicuously through the musical stage, his stylistic origins are more strongly in commercial pop. It was through pop that the cantataJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoatwas endowed with the qualities of freshness...

  8. CHAPTER 4 “Who Are You, Strange Angel?”: Multiple Personalities in The Phantom of the Opera
    (pp. 77-122)

    On september 29, 1860, a decree was drawn up establishing the geographical boundaries of a proposed new opera house in the center of Paris. The subsequent competition for its design attracted more than 170 proposals, and from the final seven entrants chosen the project was awarded to Charles Garnier. Construction began in 1861 and involved, among other things, the massive task of draining the land, which in the process created a lake underneath the foundations. The newly completed opera house was some seventeen stories high, contained a maze of corridors, rooms, and cellars, and included such innovations as controllable gas...

  9. CHAPTER 5 “I’m Ready for My Close-Up”: Lloyd Webber on Screen
    (pp. 123-156)

    Translation to cinema is not a surprising ambition for a fan ofmusical theater, for the life of a stage musical is complemented by a screen life. In the 1950s, the decade during which Lloyd Webber became aware of both stage and film, big-screen versions of many major Broadway shows were made, many of them quite faithful to their Broadway originals. There had always been a relationship between the Broadway musical stage show and the Hollywood musical. For example, in the 1930s several operettas were put on screen (Herbert’sNaughty Marietta,1935; Romberg’sRose-Marie,1936, andMaytime,1937; Kern’sShow Boat,...

  10. CHAPTER 6 “Memory”: Musical Reminiscences in Lloyd Webber
    (pp. 157-182)

    Previous chapters have revealed elements of a common strand in the works of Lloyd Webber: the diversity of influences. In fact, his palette of forms, genres, and themes has been so broad that this repertory as an entirety can be read as a critique on the nature of creative influence. Lloyd Webber’s work has been thought to reference other music, inspiring such pejorative descriptions as “derivative” and even “soiled from previous use.”¹ But such voicings are a symptom of Lloyd Webber’s continual antagonism to some firmly inculcated beliefs about the nature of creativity, especially the importance of certain forms of...

  11. CHAPTER 7 “Now and Forever”: Canons and Challenges
    (pp. 183-212)

    Lloyd webber’s repertory of diverse and wide-ranging influences gains a sense of integrity through a web of expanding and shifting intertextual relationships and cross-genre reflections. At the heart of this web is a question, a constant challenge to the boundaries of the genre itself: what can a musical be? The work of a “Broadway master” requires challenge and change to the genre through a specific show that becomes canonical (held up in the future as a yardstick for other works) or through a more general approach that affects the course of the genre and brings in its wake reflection and...

  12. List of Works
    (pp. 213-220)
    Andrew Lloyd Webber
  13. Notes
    (pp. 221-246)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 247-248)
  15. Permissions
    (pp. 249-254)
  16. General Index
    (pp. 255-262)
  17. Index of Lloyd Webber’s Works
    (pp. 263-267)