Andrew Lloyd Webber is the composer of several of the longest running musicals in West End history. His most successful West End shows include The Phantom Of The Opera, which will celebrate its 22nd birthday in October 2008, Cats, which ran for 21 years, Starlight Express, which ran for 17 years and Evita, which ran for 10 years. He has also enjoyed success on Broadway.
The son of a musician and a composer, Lloyd Webber was immersed in music from an early age and quickly displayed a precocious talent. He began composing his own music as a child and had his first suite of music published aged 9. Lloyd Webber’s successful collaboration with the lyricist Tim Rice began while he was still a teenager, and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was first performed in 1968. West End success followed with Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971 before thie first of his super long-runners, Evita, opened in 1978.
The 1980s saw triumph after triumph for Lloyd Webber with Cats, Starlight Express and The Phantom Of The Opera all opening between 1981 and 1986. Lloyd Webber has composed several other musicals over the next 20 years, although none of them quite matched his greatest successes. Away from musical theatre, Lloyd Webber has been involved in a number of other musical projects including, bizarrely, Timmy Mallett’s cult hit Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini which reached Number 1 in 1990.
Lloyd Webber is the founder of the Really Useful Theatre company, which currently owns seven West End venues: the Adelphi, the Cambridge, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Her Majesty’s, the London Palladium, the New London and the Palace.
Lloyd Webber was knighted in 1992 and he was created a Life Peer in 1997 as Baron Lloyd-Webber.