As a companion piece to my exclusive InDepth InterView with legendary composer Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber all about the enchanting new performance capture film version of his PHANTOM OF THE OPERA sequel, LOVE NEVER DIES - available here - today we take a look back at some of the highpoints of an unparalelled career onstage and onscreen in honor of the special one-night-only re-release of LOVE NEVER DIES in Fathom-equipped movie theaters on May 23. We will take a look back at some of the finest Andrew Lloyd Webber-related performances pertaining to the entertainment dynasty built upon his operatic pop musical version of the classic Gaston Leroux novel that recently celebrated its 10,000th performance on Broadway, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, as well as its continuation, LOVE NEVER DIES, and the pair of revivals of his classic 70s hit stage collaborations with previous InDepth InterView participant Sir Tim Rice that came back to Broadway in a big way earlier this season - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and EVITA. Plus, a generous look at the new Simon Phillips-directed production of LOVE NEVER DIES and the spectacular THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA AT THE ROYAL Albert Hall - PHANTOM 25 for short. It's been a very busy May for phans between the re-release of PHANTOM 25 and LOVE NEVER DIES in movie theaters, as well as the DVD and Blu-ray release of LOVE NEVER DIES coming up! So, fetch your favorite mask and check out these four Andrew Lloyd Webber delicacies before they swoop back in to movie theaters, Broadway theaters and DVD/Blu-ray once more!
More information on Fathom's encore presentation of LOVE NEVER DIES in movie theaters on May 23 is available here.
Are You Who They Say You Are?
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Starting with the score that began the world's still-ongoing love affair with the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, here is a look at his - and Tim Rice's - first major international success, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. Listen to the unforgettable Overture from the 1970 concept album of the innovative rock opera below. What a way to begin!
Singing the score's biggest crossover pop/country hit, here is original Broadway Mary Magdelene, Yvonne Elliman, performing "I Don't Know How To Love Him" in the Norman Jewison film adaptation of the show.
Next, hear one of the finest vocal renditions of one of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's most compelling and difficult songs, the searing "Gethsemane", as performed by 90s revival Jesus, Steve Balsamo, reprising his role in a 2004 concert. That note during the interlude is heaven-sent for sure! Wow!
Closing out the JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR portion of today's look at Andrew Lloyd Webber, here is the man behind the music meeting with the cast of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival's lauded revival, directed by JERSEY BOYS and THE WHO'S TOMMY original helmer Des McAnuff, which is the basis for the current Broadway revival featuring many of the same highly-acclaimed young performers in lead roles - including recent Tony Award nominee Josh Young as Judas.
As a SUPERSTAR bonus, here is the explosive commercial for the ultra-contemporary production of the rock opera currently rocking Broadway eight times a week.
They Need To Adore Me, So Christian Dior Me
While EVITA may be known to Generation Y as a middling Madonna movie musical star vehicle, the original stage production, both on the West End and on Broadway, was directed by master Tony Award-winning director Hal Prince in his inimitable style - and with two titanic young discoveries given ample chance to shine in their first major lead roles as the title heroine; Elaine Paige and Patti LuPone. While the Alan Parker film managed to make visual poetry of much of the incredibly impressive and multi-layered score, the performances lacked the over-the-top power of the many notable performers who had taken on the songs before. So, let us focus on the best of the best from EVITA - and, with so much to choose from, it's a hard list to narrow down to just a few!
First up, here is the original Broadway cast of EVITA, led by Patti LuPone, Bob Gunton and Mandy Patinkin, performing the thrilling Act One Finale, "A New Argentina". What a belt!
Before Patti LuPone and Elaine Paige sang the show's most famous anthem - the Act Two opener, "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" - Julie Covington was the first to record it. Here is the original concept album version of the indescribably powerful plea to the people on behalf of Eva.
To compare, here is Elaine Paige at the sensational Andrew Lloyd Webber'S 50TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION concert. Time is unbelievably kind to some, it seems - particularly Ms. Paige! Magnetic.
Now, here is the Oscar-winning new composition created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice for the 1995 feature film version of EVITA starring Madonna. "You Must Love Me" is now a touching part of the new Broadway production, as well - and for good reason; it's a gem.
Lastly in the EVITA portion of today's Andrew Lloyd Webber celebration, here is a look behind the scenes at the recent photo shoot for the EVITA Broadway ad campaign, featuring leads Ricky Martin, Elena Roger and newly minted EVITA Tony Award nominee, Michael Cerveris.
As a special EVITA bonus, here we have Elaine Paige and the cast of the recent Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's FOLLIES performing a hilarious EVITA parody at this year's GYPSY OF THE YEAR show - all centering on the fact that one show had to close in order for the other to open at the Marquis Theater. FOLLIES gone funereal with EVITA on top - all a Broadway baby could ask!
Angels Of Music
PHANTOM 25 & LOVE NEVER DIES
The last year has proven to be positively phantastic for fans of PHANTOM, for we have had not one, but two new film captures of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA-related entities - first, the simply spectacular PHANTOM OF THE OPERA AT THE ROYAL Albert Hall (PHANTOM 25 for short), starring Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess, and, also, the equally enthralling and the perhaps even more technically impressive film rendering of the PHANTom Continuation, LOVE NEVER DIES. Given the gigantic success of both in-theater showings, we are now being treated to re-releases of both on May 21 and May 23, courtesy of Fathom.
So, in honor of the return of the Phantom to cinemas once again - in two entirely different forms - let us first take a look at the show that started at all: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
Here is the original music video for the title song - with the complete original Richard Stilgoe lyrics - directed by the recently deceased Ken Russell and starring Sarah Brightman and Steve Harley.
Following that, now we have a PHANTOM moment captured live at 1988 Tony Awards, introduced by Angela Lansbury: the performance of a medley of the title song and "Music Of The Night", led by that year's Tony-winner, Michael Crawford, alongside then-Mrs. Lloyd Webber and the inspiration for the show herself, Sarah Brightman.
Bringing today's entire column together in one clip, witness original Christine, Sarah Brightman, with film EVITA Che, Antonio Banderas, singing the title song from PHANTOM at Andrew Lloyd Webber's 50th birthday.
Now, check out the trailer for the 25th Anniversary performance of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, recorded live and in HD. PHANTOM 25 is a truly masterful accomplishment in musical films that is impossible to forget - and there is nothing quite like seeing it on the big screen.
Next, take in the trailer for the Australian production of LOVE NEVER DIES coming to DVD and Blu-ray in the US followwing the Fathom encore showing - a sumptuous feast for the eyes, ears and heart; and so much more.
As a special bonus, check out the trailer for Fathom's special encore of PHANTOM 25 and LOVE NEVER DIES in movie theaters this month.
So, which Andrew Lloyd Webber-written entertainment are you most looking forward to seeing in this year, or which have you alreayd enjoyed: PHANTOM 25? JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR? EVITA? LOVE NEVER DIES? What a wondrous year 2012 is turning out to be for fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber's dexterous and alluring melodies and the dynamic and daring productions that contain them - and, the fantastic casts that star in them, as well! There is a lot to look forward to from the man who writes the music of the night not only in 2012, but far beyond - nearly 10,000 such occasions at the Majestic Theater alone... so far!