So what's your opinion of Andrew Lloyd Webber

Having started a similar thread on Stephen King, and since we’ve touch on the subject in this thread, now it’s ALW’s turn at bat.

I can’t vote, sorry. I’d need an option for “works well if he has a good lyricist and book writer, but should not be the be-all and end-all of the production.”

I don’t know enough comparative theater to proclaim ALW one of the best, but I certainly enjoy his work very much. Hearing Phantom of the Opera for the first time was darn near world-altering.

Phantom of the Opera is fantastic, one of the great musicals. I love it and my wife and I both love the show and the Joel Schumacher movie.

Everything else I’ve heard from him is average and forgettable. I voted, “OK”.

Phantom is awesome, though. :slight_smile:

I’ve loved every work of his I’ve seen or heard.

However, I don’t live in New York or London, so my theatre experience is limited to the Tony Awards, touring shows, and the Broadway channel on satellite radio.

Ah, so your opinion is that he is good if the only elements you pay attention to are the ones he didn’t work on.

I will change my vote away from hack in that case. :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously, Webber isn’t bad, but he isn’t really very good. People who tend to like him also tend to give him credit for elements of the show that are not his. The man has written one tune and has milked a career out of getting various lyricists (or dead poets) to put words to that tune’s variations. It’s a good tune, I’ll grant you that, but his catalog is shallow as a puddle.

He is an amazing self publicist though. He had a genius for making himself very famous and that isn’t something that should be shrugged off. Most people aren’t able to do that.

Honestly? I don’t know how to love him.


There’s something about his work that seems very 1980s to me, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. But a lot of his work definitely feels dated to me now. That said, Phantom was my introduction to Broadway, and while I’m not a huge theater enthusiast today, I still keep track of what’s getting good reviews and what’s coming to DC. Though my tastes now run toward more stripped down productions, I can appreciate what he did for theater back in the day.

The bottom choice was not strongly worded enough.

Utter shit is almost too complimentary.

Lots of so-so stuff, but can usually be counted on for one great song per musical (on average).

As compared to Sondheim, who can’t even be counted on for that.

I liked his shows when I was 14.

Ditto. I love his Tim Rice stuff but his post Rice is splotchy. Whistle Down the Wind, for example, has great moments (including Annie Xmas) and some of the most forgettable melody and lyrics in Broadway. Sunset Blvd has brilliant moments- it’s almost difficult to watch the movie where the “As If We Never Said Goodbye” moment lasts 4 seconds after the musical- but he doesn’t know when to stop- that song is a solo version of The Song That Goes Like This.

I loved him in The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.


But then, I HATE “Cats” with a passion. I like real cats, though.

I can’t quite agree about his post-Rice stuff all sucking. I love ASPECTS OF LOVE far more than PHANTOM, for instance. There he had the benefit of an extremely strong stroy to work with. But when he tinkers too much in the work he makes it suck. Consider the difference between the utterly wonderful Patti Lupone version of SUNSET BOULEVARD and the blisteringly awful version of the same play starring Glenn Close.

If he’d done nothing but Jesus Christ Superstar he’d have my undying affection.

But he added Evita (although the music isn’t as good as Rice’s lyrics) and Phantom (which has some great stuff in it, repetitive stuff and mediocre lyrics notwithstanding) and even Requiem, with its gorgeous “Pie Jesu,” so I put him squarely in “Very good, better than most” because I ain’t no fly-by-night fan.

Seriously. Jesus Christ Superstar kicks all kinds of ass. Step off, haters.

I was thinking the same thing. I voted “hack” in both this and the King poll, but I actually like King. I don’t read him much anymore, because his flaws are too grating for me these days, but when I was a teenager, he was one of my top authors.

Webber, on the other hand, makes me physically ill.

I have tried- I have really tried- to like that musical. I’ve never seen it live but I’ve seen as much as I could stomach of it on DVD. Memory is one of the most beautiful melodies in musical theater history- though most of the rest is dreck.

I think ultimately if I had to put my finger on one thing that makes me unable to like CATS, though, it would be the fact it’s sung by grown people running around in cat costumes.

I will happily agree that JCS & EVITA are strong with the Force–particularly JCS. And I think together they show that Lloyd Webber needs a strong structure to work within. Give him words to put to music, and he’ll craft great music.

He’s still less than a quarter of the artist Sondheim is, though.

Sondheim is responsible for some of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written in American musical theater. At his best I love him, and to borrow from the JCS love I’ll say that if he’d never done more than Assassins or [highlights from] Sunday in the Park With George I’d be in his debt and proudly buy him a cherry Coke if I saw him as a thank you.

At his worst I can’t endure him.

The closest I’ve ever come to doing a drag character was when I was a little gay boy on a cattlefarm in Alabama and one of my little gay outlets after arguing with one of my she-relatives involved turning on all of my mother’s music boxes (all of them with porcelain birds atop, but that’s irrelevant, but then so’s the whole aside) at one time and the result was a tinny cacophany. I’d do a campy rendition of my mother or my sister giving a melodramatic soliloquy and pretend I was a Tennessee Williams heroine.

The reason I mention is that the sound of several non complementary music boxes going at the same time and hammy acting: that’s Sondheim at his worst, and there’s a lot of his worst. (In fairness I must admit I’m probably the only musical theater lover in the world who can’t stand Sweeney Todd [save for Johanna and a couple of other moments]).