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Andrew Lloyd Webber

The New York Pops Underground Cabaret featuring Max von Essen

October 9, 2021

Von Essen did sing a couple of songs from a living composer, one Andrew Lloyd Webber. He relayed the story of going on for Ricky Martin in Evita, where the curtain had to be held so that all the box office refunds could be processed; he won the sympathy of every ear in the house on that retelling. He also declared that although auditions for both the parts of Raul and the title character of "The Phantom of the Opera" did not yield successful results for the Broadway production, he did get to play said Phantom in "Love Never Dies," which was a perfect segue to “Till I Hear You Sing.” It seemed the evening was specifically shaped to present this “power ballad” as the 11 o’clock number, and von Essen truly pulled out his most formal, rich and dramatic voice for it, earning him spontaneous applause in the middle of the song and even a few standing ovations afterward. As for the other Webber song, well, I did not think I’d ever want to hear this song again, in or out of its "Evita" context; yet von Essen put Magaldi completely aside and sang a most stunningly beautiful and exquisite version of “On This Night of a Thousand Stars” as one could ever imagine hearing. His sublime and subtle tenor notes were completely glorious, and this song became the superlative number of the evening for this listener. [more]

Evita

November 18, 2019

Solea Pfeiffer in a scene from New York City Center’s revival of “Evita” (Photo credit: Joan [more]

ON THE TOWN WITH CHIP DEFFAA… for Aug 3rd, 2018

August 4, 2018

Thanks to the Internet, word tends to get around very quickly about what is being done in theatres everywhere-even in college theatres. Cohen told me, for example, that students at Towson University mounted a production of "Rent" with an unauthorized changed ending; in their revision of "Rent," the character of "Mimi" died at the end. Cohen reflected: "Theatre is sort of self-monitoring. Fans of musical theatre are so passionate that when they see that a show has been changed, they'll quickly say that something is not right here. They may comment in online blogs or on chat boards." And thus, the unauthorized changes to "Rent" very quickly came to the attention of MTI, which licenses "Rent." Cohen added that the director of the Towson University production of "Rent" seemed to imagine she had the right to change the ending of the show-but to him that simply indicated her naivete or ignorance of the law. [more]

Sunset Boulevard

February 17, 2017

The score remains an uneven but catchy patchwork that has yielded several choice songs amidst the acceptable filler. Mr. Lloyd Webber’s music is a heady pastiche of old movie melodies with discernable portions of his" Evita" and "The Phantom of The Opera." Don Black and Christopher Hampton’s lyrics range from inspired to pedestrian. [more]

Cats

August 9, 2016

The debonair resident of posh St. James, and Gus, the theatre cat, are both played with finesse by Christopher Gurr, whose “Gus the Theatre Cat” who nearly steals the show away from the more famous “Memory,” here sung by an underwhelming, but pretty-voiced Leona Lewis, the British three-time Grammy Award nominee, as the bedraggled, superannuated beauty, Grizabella. Mr. Gurr’s wistful singing and great acting movingly communicate his tale of theatrical greatness and all the actors he had known (most completely forgotten by contemporary audiences). [more]

Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1965 – 1989

May 26, 2014

"For many of us this was our golden age," said creator, writer and host Scott Siegel in his introduction that for many present devotees of the art form that this evening's presentation was very meaningful as this was the era in which they came of age seeing many of these shows in their original productions and they are quite appreciative of them. [more]

A Chat with Bob Avian

July 12, 2007

The creative forces with whom he has worked are a who’s who of the Broadway musical. They include Steve Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, Cy Coleman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Claude-Michel Schoenberg, Neil Simon, Hal Prince, Tommy Tune and Cameron Mackintosh. And performers such as Mary Martin, Betty Grable, Barbara Streisand, Katherine Hepburn, Elaine Stritch, Jennifer Holliday, Diana Rigg, Eartha Kitt, Patti Lupone, Glenn Close, Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett, just to name a few. [more]

The Woman in White

December 28, 2005

As an easy-reader version of Wilkie Collins's pot-boiling gothic Victorian mystery romance, it plays out like a cross between a wide-screen 3-D film, a pop-up styled Classics Illustrated Comic Book and a Zoetrope peep show. In keeping with his fearlessly saccharine musical style, and his almost recklessly familiar brand of melodic recycling, Lord Webber has, nevertheless, commendably concocted a thoroughly enjoyable piece of era-evoking clap trap. [more]