It’s amazing thought how many people do want to have a go at some of these old shows, some of the ones that haven’t worked so well.
ALW: I didn’t really know much about the character of Stephen Ward, apart from the fact that he was the one who was convicted, but then I happened to read an interview with him from 1962 which said he was a bore about the Cold War.
And then I read the Ludovic Kennedy book about the trial.
On Easter Sunday ITV is broadcasting a 90 minute special celebrating his continuous run of hits in the West End over the past 40 years.
There hasn’t been a single week since Jesus Christ Superstar opened without at least one Lloyd Webber show in London, and at one point he had five playing simultaneously.
One of the things I am doing at the moment, slowly, is I’m going over, say The Woman in White which has a large plotting problem in it, and getting my musicals into as good a shape as they possibly can be in my view.
Then if somebody wants to do them, I can say 'look there’s a better version’ .The natural rhythm of our partnership fell apart because I never could figure out quite how dramatically you did the story of Chess, which was his baby, so he went off and did it with Bjorn [Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, of Abba] . Of course then Cats happened [a musical to poems by TS Eliot] and that by definition didn’t need a lyricist. I’m one of those people who likes the security of working with people they have worked with before, which is why I’m excited about working with Chris and Don again. ALW: Nicole Scherzinger’s going to do 'Don’t cry for me Argentina’ which is going to be interesting because she’s really a musical theatre actress, and I’m going to be intrigued to see what she makes of it.I’ve been through it with her and she really thinks about what she’s saying, which is awkward in the case of 'Don’t cry for me Argentina’ because, when she asks me questions about it, it doesn’t really mean anything.He wanted to direct Jesus Christ Superstar and I never got the telegram because I was in America and so it went to my father’s college of music and I never got it.I often think how different my career would have been if Harold Prince had directed it on Broadway. It was: 'I am the producer of Cabaret, Fiddler on the Roof and West Side Story and I’d like to do Jesus Christ Superstar,’ signed Harold Prince. ’ Instead the production was the most vulgar horror. ALW: The regrets in the theatre have always been the shows that you know ought to have worked but for one reason or another haven’t.It reunites him with lyricist Don Black and writer Christopher Hampton for the first time since Sunset Boulevard and is planned to open early next year.