Andrew Lloyd Webber suffers flop with 'Stephen Ward,' musical to close early

By Daniel S Levine,

World renowned theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has suffered another flop. His latest musical, Stephen Ward, is closing in London after just four months. The last performance is set for March 29.

The West End production has failed to draw audiences, a far cry from Webber’s best known works, like Jesus Christ Superstar and The Phantom of the Opera. According to The BBC, you can still get premium tickets at the Aldwych Theatre show for this weekend.

Stephen Ward got off to a glitzy start, with stars like Dame Judi Dench and director Tom Hooper showing up for the Dec. 19 opening. But the critics gave the show a mixed response and Webber was quick to admit that it might not be the most commercial idea he’s had.

Although he told the London Evening Standard in December that he was proud of Stephen Ward, he questioned its profitability. “Whether it’s a commercial piece of work is another question,” he said.

Later, he continued to say about his other projects in the past two decades, “I haven’t had a hit in 20 years. I’ve written six musicals in that time. I’m resigned now to the fact that anything I do probably nobody is going to like.”

He also told The Telegraph that if Stephen Ward wasn’t a hit by February, it would close early.

One of the main problems for the show was its unfamiliar subject matter, not only with the younger generation of Brits, but also with London tourists. The subject centers on the Profumo sex scandal, which threatened the British government in 1963.

“The piece set out to explore his fascinating life as a piece of serious theatre, which has now been told to a new generation,” producer Robert Fox said Tuesday. “I am very sad to see the show close in London but firmly believe this piece will be seen by many audiences in the future.”

image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 
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