Belfast Telegraph

Lloyd Webber musical faces the axe

The curtain is being brought down on Stephen Ward The Musical after less than six months in London's West End.

Producer Robert Fox said he was "very sad" that the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, being staged at the Aldwych Theatre, will end on March 29.

However, the show's website still says that it is booking until May 31 and that more matinee performances have been added, stating that 120,000 more tickets had been released. Ticket prices ranged from £15 to £67.50

The musical about Ward, the fixer at the centre of the Profumo sex scandal that threatened to topple the Conservative government in 1963, opened in December to mixed reviews.

It is billed as "1963. The scandal that shocked society" and traces the rise and fall of Ward, an osteopath and socialite who was tried for allegedly living off immoral earnings of prostitutes.

Ward is said to have introduced John Profumo, then secretary of state for war, to Christine Keeler at a party at the stately home Cliveden, in Buckinghamshire.

Profumo was forced to resign after it emerged that she was also having an affair with a Soviet attache.

Ward was put on trial, but committed suicide after the judge's summing up. Former showgirl Mandy Rice-Davies and Miss Keeler were witnesses at the hearing.

Lord Lloyd-Webber believed the musical would show how Ward was made a "scapegoat" by the establishment.

Fox said: "I am very proud of the show and our wonderful company. Andrew (Lloyd-Webber) has never been afraid to embrace difficult and challenging subject matters and Ward's strong and compelling story highlights a serious miscarriage of justice.

"The piece set out to explore his fascinating life as a piece of serious theatre which has now been told to a new generation.

"The strong critical reviews commend what I think is possibly Andrew's best score in years, paired with some of the finest writing and lyrics Don and Christopher have ever delivered. 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."

With music provided by Lord Lloyd-Webber, the mastermind behind stage hits such as Evita and Cats, and the involvement of some of theatre's big names such as director Richard Eyre, it was hoped the West End production would be another box-office hit.

The show, Lord Lloyd-Webber's first new musical since 2010's Love Never Dies, saw him reunited with Sunset Boulevard writers Christopher Hampton and Don Black.

The book and lyrics were by Hampton and Black, along with costume designs by Rob Howell, lighting by Peter Mumford, sound by Paul Groothuis, projection design by Jon Driscoll and choreography by Stephen Mear.

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita, Starlight Express, The Phantom of the Opera and Aspects of Love are among Lord Lloyd-Webber' s stage successes.

Profumo, who died in 2006, devoted the rest of his life to restoring his reputation through charity work.


From Belfast Telegraph