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Member Since 24 Nov 2007
Offline Last Active Jun 21 2013 10:30 AM

#259906 Andrew Lloyd Webbers New Musical Stephen Ward

Posted Annasette on 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.

#258485 ALW ITV Specials

Posted Annasette on 14 March 2013 - 10:32 PM

I think Michael Ball hosting and singing will be good. I just wish they wouldn't always have to have him sing "Love Changes Everything". Why it couldn't it be "Sunset Boulevard" for a change? No one sings that as well as Michael Ball, and it is a so much more interesting piece.

And what on Earth is Simon (***) Cowell doing muscling in on anything to do with musical theatre? He has never been anything but derisive of it, although that wouldn't stop him exploiting it (or anything) if he thought it was going to make him more money.

And Denise Van Outen with Kimberley Walsh? It doesn't exactly inspire, does it?

Hearing something from "Profumo" will be interesting though. I wonder how that is progressing? I have to say I don't dislike the idea of that.

And will be interested to hear back from those who actually go to the recordings.