Oscar-winning lyricist Don Black today described his Stephen Ward collaborator Andrew Lloyd Webber as “the most stimulating composer I’ve ever worked with”, claiming, “there should be a statue on Shaftesbury Avenue because of what he’s done.”
The praise, given by Black at a launch for the pair’s new musical held today at exclusive Soho nightspot The Box, is no small claim given that Black’s other collaborators include Bond composer John Barry, Henry Mancini, Quincey Jones, Marvin Hamlisch and AR Rahman.
“He’s got great instincts,” Black continued. “Really you should laud him as much as you can. He’s done so much for musical theatre.”
The composer and producer, who has previously worked with Black on shows including Tell Me On A Sunday, Aspects Of Love and Sunset Boulevard, was on hand to introduce performances of a handful of the new musical’s songs at the glamorous venue earlier today, explaining to press and guests that it was Ward’s story, rather than the Profumo Affair, in which Ward was a key player, that excited him.
The new musical, which stars Alexander Hanson in the lead role and Joanna Riding as Profumo’s wife Valerie Hobson, focuses its attention on the society osteopath Ward, a friend to film stars and politicians whose chance meeting with Christine Keeler set in motion one of the UK’s biggest political scandals of the 20th century.
Today’s launch came in advance of rehearsals even beginning, though it featured performances of four songs (snippets of two can be watched at the top of the page), the hard work beginning for the cast later next month. The show, Lloyd Webber’s first since Love Never Dies, begins its run at the Aldwych theatre in early December before opening to the press on 19 December.