This year, the biggest name in musical theatre is having a big birthday. You know all of his shows and can sing his back catalogue, but how well do you know the man himself? To celebrate his 70th birthday today (22 March), we’ve put together a list of little known but fascinating facts about theatre giant and visionary, Andrew Lloyd Webber. Happy birthday, Andrew!
1. Andrew Lloyd Webber shares his birthday with another musical great
22 March must be a musically charged day because American stage composer Stephen Sondheim shares Andrew’s birthday. Stephen Sondheim was born in 1930, making him 18 years Andrew’s senior.
2. Andrew was a child prodigy
Not only was Andrew playing the piano and violin at the age of three, he began playing the French horn and writing his own music at age six.
If that wasn’t enough, he composed his first musical when he was just 13 years old. It was called Cinderella Up The Beanstalk And Most Everywhere Else. However, his first staged musical was written with Tim Rice when he was 19. That musical was Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. When he first presented it, it was a short 20-minute show.
The following year, at 20 years old, Andrew and Tim Rice wrote Jesus Christ Superstar.
3. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wife is Madeleine Gurdon
The Lord… sorry, Baron of musical theatre married the former equestrian sportswoman in 1991 and they’re still happily married to this day. Madeleine is Andrew’s third wife.
Andrew’s first wife was Sarah Hugill – they were married from 1971 to 1983.
Andrew’s second wife was singer and actress Sarah Brightman, and they were married from 1984 to 1990. He met Sarah when she joined the cast of Cats in 1981. She originated the character of Christine Daaé in The Phantom Of The Opera in 1986 – a role that was written specifically for her by Andrew.
4. Andrew Lloyd Webber has five children
Andrew Lloyd Webber has two children with first wife Sarah Hugill – Imogen Lloyd Webber born in 1977 and Nicholas Lloyd Webber born in 1979 – and three children with current wife Madeleine Gurdon – Alastair Lloyd Webber born in 1992, William Lloyd Webber born in 1993, and Isabella Aurora Lloyd Webber born in 1996.
Imogen is a political commentator and author currently based in New York. She is a four-time Emmy nominee and a contributor to MSNBC and Fox News. Imogen has also penned three books.
Nicholas is a composer who has followed in his father’s footsteps having written several musicals including The Little Prince in 2011 and an upcoming show Fat Friends The Musical.
5. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s net worth is £740 million
In 2017, it was announced that Andrew Lloyd Webber was the second richest musician in the UK. He came above mainstream musicians Elton John, U2, and Mick Jagger, with only Paul McCartney sneaking in above him.
6. Andrew has written and staged 20 musicals
Andrew’s big musicals are Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom Of The Opera, Evita, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat, Cats, Starlight Express, School Of Rock – The Musical, Sunset Boulevard, and The Women In White. He’s also penned Love Never Dies, The Likes Of Us, Jeeves, Tell Me On A Sunday, Song And Dance, Cricket, Aspects Of Love, Whistle Down The Wind, The Beautiful Game, Stephen Ward The Musical, and The Wizard Of Oz.
7. Andrew’s TV and movie work amounts to a massive 367 credits
Andrew has had film adaptations of The Phantom Of The Opera, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Love Never Dies, and Cats. He’s also had anniversary performances of The Phantom Of The Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar recorded. Plus, he’s written the score for the films Gumshoe and The Odessa File.
He’s been a TV judge on BBC talent shows Over The Rainbow, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, I’d Do Anything, and Any Dream Will Do, among others.
His music has also appeared in 210 movies and TV shows.
8. Andrew has won over 45 major awards
As of 2018, Andrew Lloyd Webber has seven Olivier Awards, seven Tonys, four Grammys (including a Grammy Legend Award), two Emmys, one Oscar, one Golden Globe, one BRIT, and 14 Ivor Novellos.
He was also awarded a knighthood in 1992. He also received a peerage from Queen Elizabeth II for services to Music in 1997 giving him the title Baron Lloyd-Webber.
9. Andrew is a record breaker
In 1991, Andrew became the first and only musical composer to have six productions run simultaneously in the West End.
And last year, he had four productions running at the same time on Broadway. The shows were: Sunset Boulevard, Cats, The Phantom Of The Opera, and School Of Rock – The Musical. He now holds the record for most concurrent shows on Broadway. A record he shares with musical titans Rodgers and Hammerstein.
10. Andrew’s theatre company Really Useful Group owns seven London theatres
The Adelphi Theatre, Cambridge Theatre, London Palladium, New London Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and The Other Palace are all owned by the Really Useful Theatre Group.
Bonus fact: Andrew Lloyd Webber was a “one-hit-wonder”
Under the pseudonym Doctor Spin, Andrew Lloyd Webber released the hit single Tetris in 1992. It was a Eurodance remix of the theme tune from the popular video game and reached number six in the charts.
Article first published 15 March 2018; updated 22 March 2018