Andrew Lloyd Webber is, without question, one of the most prolific and popular composers of his generation, and fans of stage and screen alike are sure to recognize his impact on the modern musical. It doesn't take a musical lover to appreciate the grandiose theatrics of The Phantom of the Opera, and considering the phenomenal success of Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, there seems to be something for everyone in Webber's musical universe. A London native who began coaxing melodies from his violin at the tender age of three, Webber had penned nine musicals by the time he had graduated from college. Though the composer would make the occasional foray into cinema with scores for Gumshoe (1971) and The Odessa File (1974), it was his compositions for such timeless stage epics as The Phantom of the Opera and Evita that truly made him a household name. Of course, many of his most affecting stage works were adapted for film and television as well over the years, with Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) and Evita (1996, Oscar winner for Best Song) garnering especially strong followings. As production on the film The Phantom of the Opera drew to a close in 2003, Webber began preparation for a film version of his musical Aspects of Love.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- The son of a composer and a violinist, he began writing music at the age of 6.
- Left college to collaborate with eventual Jesus Christ Superstar lyricist Tim Rice.
- Wrote music to the Nobel Prize-winning poetry of T.S. Elliot, creating Cats, which played in London's West End for 21 years.
- The combination of Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats and Starlight Express made him the first person to have three musicals running simultaneously in London and New York.
- Inspiration for the female lead in his version of The Phantom of the Opera was his second wife, singer Sarah Brightman, who originated the role of Christine in both the London and Broadway productions.
- Was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in June 1992.
- Controversy erupted when he chose Glenn Close to star in the 1994 New York production of Sunset Boulevard over Patti LuPone, who was playing the lead in London to mixed reviews and was under contract to transfer. LuPone sued and subsequently won.
- Was named Baron Lloyd-Webber of Sydmonton in 1997.
- A collector of Victorian art, his Pre-Raphaelite paintings were on display at the Royal Academy of London in 2003.
- On January 6, 2006, The Phantom of the Opera became the longest-running show on Broadway.