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Andrew Lloyd Webbers New Musical Stephen Ward


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#11 ptwest

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:37 PM

I kind of think of Lloyd Webber now in the same way as an ageing rock group - new albums come every so often, the fan base buy them to get a good initial sale, but then the sales drop quickly, rather than the mega sales of earlier in their career. It's become the same with ALW musicals now. Perhaps if he stops trying to go for the blockbuster this might make his work more interesting.

#12 djp

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:39 PM

View Postbickypeg, on 17 March 2013 - 09:01 PM, said:

There was sadly no upside to the end, as most major participants on the scandal either died or ended up with their careers on the compost heap."
................

You would think that trying that sort of ending again might be a little shortsighted after trying it with LND?

Its a very odd story to pick. Evita came with massive historic popularity and personal tragedy within the character, Cats are popular. Steam Trains and stories  about them are popular,  Phantom is based on a really successful story. Does anyone under about 65 actually even know there was a Profumo scandal?

#13 BurlyBeaR

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 01:22 PM

View Postdjp, on 18 March 2013 - 07:39 PM, said:



You would think that trying that sort of ending again might be a little shortsighted after trying it with LND?

Its a very odd story to pick. Evita came with massive historic popularity and personal tragedy within the character, Cats are popular. Steam Trains and stories  about them are popular,  Phantom is based on a really successful story. Does anyone under about 65 actually even know there was a Profumo scandal?

Well I'm nowhere near 65 and I know about I!
The other "good time girl" in the scandal was Mandy Rice -Davis who tried to carve out a career as an actress off the back of her notoriety. I saw her in a (very) regional production of an Agatha Christie back in the 80's. When she first came on stage there was a little rippe of applause from the ageing audience, which can't have been in recognition of her acting achievements. Very British, odd but funny.

Either  way, the ALW will be a great opportunity for some gorge 60's outfits. i'm reminded of the episode of Ab Fab where Patsy gets caught up in an MP sex scandal...

Patsy: In my day, there was a sense of style about the whole thing, you know. Christine Keeler, Mandy Rice-Davies... Gorgeous little women who kept their mouths shut and just looked gorgeous, and gave the whole thing an air of dignity. You know, that's the way I should play it, Eddie. Not like these penny tarts of recent times. Kiss and tell, blurt it all out, for the promise of a quick buck and instant fame. Not me, sweetie. My lips are sealed
Saffie: You'll do "Hello!" magazine, though?
Patsy: Ooh, yeah!



#14 bickypeg

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:39 PM

To many of us however it was the political aspects of the scandal that were most fascinating.Profumo sharing a teenage call-girl with the Soviet naval attache at the height of the Cold War and then lying to the House about it.It was the lying that cost him his job and his reputation.To leave him out of the story and focus on a whitewash job of Ward seems to miss a real opportunity for a very meaty musical.

#15 wickedgrin

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 03:09 PM

Oooh yes, MP's lying - who'd have thought?

#16 bickypeg

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 08:06 PM

In those days it was not taken so lightly.As a result of his lie his career was destroyed and the government fell.

#17 Jon

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 01:59 AM

It'll be interesting what theatre ALW will choose for the show, I imagine it'll one of his own like the Adelphi, I don't think he's had a show that wasn't in one of his theatre since Whistle Down the Wind was at the Aldwych.

#18 Bricabrac

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 09:22 AM

It does sound like an unlikely subject for a musical, but so, I think,  would a story about deformed man, living under an opera house.

#19 bickypeg

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 10:31 AM

Or an 18th century cannibalistic barber?Boy meets girl?Ijust think it could be better and more rounded than ALW's hints suggest.

#20 Annasette

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 04:04 PM

I am not up on any latest news re the "Stephen Ward" (it won't end up being called that) new show, but I think it would be extremely unlikely that the name of Profumo is only supposed to be going to be mentioned once, as per post somewhere above. Where was that information from? But I am really not inclined to be negative for the sake of it. My original impression was that this is a bit of a challenging (for want of a better word) subject, but I think I can see where ALW is coming from in choosing it. I have never been one of the ALW detractors, not because I like everything, but because enough of what he has done has been SO good that he has earnt his place in history already and the common petty spite only reflects badly on those who indulge in it. "Originality" and/or innovation (albeit everything derives from something else in one way or other) is predominantly associated with youth. ALW isn't going to compete with youth, and he shouldn't have to. He is at a different point in his career. There isn't a place for criticism in that, it is just the natural way of things. And if the silliness seen so often re everything being supposed to need to be "original" was real, then even Shakespeare should be supposed to have to be discarded.

And re ALW's "Stephen Ward", he is the enviable position of being able to suit himself and subsidise himself. Personally, I think it is a bit of a shame that it seems he has some difficulty being advised, but it is his ballpark. And I will be interested to see what comes of it anyway, even if I don't like it. Someone above referred to "Sunset Boulevard" as "stodgy", which I can actually agree with to some extent re aspects of the show, but I still think it's good and I don't think the Don Black and Christopher Hampton collaboration was too bad at all, whatever the American criticisms.The title song isn't just my favourite ALW song, as long as sung well, it is one of my favorites of all time. So I am intrigued to see what they come up with again.

There is a whole generation (or three) who won't now have even heard of the Profumo affair, though, let alone Stephen Ward. But his is an intriguing story. I have seen it quoted that ALW has referred to him as a "scapegoat", and, in truth, that is the one thing that is pretty irrefutable. He WAS the scapegoat. But that doesn't mean he was necessarily a complete innocent. The truth will probably never come out in entirety, although I suspect there will be a flurry of interest when the file does eventually comes out of official wraps. His trial and suicide effectively let the lid be put back on a can of worms that had far greater potential to do damage than was ever made public, even though it ruined careers and arguably brought down a government. The Profumo affair, itself, was only the tip of the iceberg. There were lots of convoluted rumours and allegations, all at the height of paranoia re the cold war, which was a very dangerous situation. But how much was real and how much was paranoia and how much was just made up, to expedience, to sell a story? Was the talented and charismatic Stephen Ward, at the heart of the highest London society, actually guilty of anything other than being convenient? That he wasn't, certainly seems to be the popular take now, but he was a ridiculously obvious target for intelligence agencies of all sides. There is no question that he will have been scrutinised by MI5, but was it really more than that? Was he working for them? Was he working for the Russians? Was he really running a call girl service for the elite of society at all? And whatever he was doing, was any of it at the instigation of MI5, the KGB, neither, or both? History might eventually clarify, but it wasn't publicly known then and it still isn't known now. Scapegoats are presumed to be more expendable, but that isn't a given, and that still doesn't mean he wasn't involved in a bigger game. So the book of the effective rise and fall of Stephen Ward could be angled in various ways. I am hoping it won't be a whitewash, ergo effectively the rise and fall of an innocent man hounded to death. It will be more interesting if some of the other allegations are explored. The whole cold war theme didn't work too well for "Chess" though.




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