Cover image for Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Snelson, John.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiii, 267 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Aspects of life -- Telling tales : a survey of the shows -- Pop, rock, and classical : first elements of a style -- "Who are you, strange angel?" : multiple personalities in The phantom of the opera -- "I'm ready for my close-up" : Lloyd Webber on screen -- "Memory" : musical reminiscences in Lloyd Webber -- "Now and forever" : canons and challenges -- List of works by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.L78 S64 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML410.L78 S64 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Andrew Lloyd Webber is the most famous--and most controversial--composer of musical theater alive today. Hundreds of millions of people have seen his musicals, which include Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Starlight Express, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and Sunset Boulevard. Even more know his songs.
Lloyd Webber's many awards include seven Tonys and three Grammys--but he has nonetheless been the subject of greater critical vitriol than any of his artistic peers. Why have both the man and his work provoked such extreme responses? Does he challenge his audiences, or merely recycle the comfortable and familiar? Over three decades, how has Lloyd Webber changed fundamentally what a musical can be?
In this sustained examination of Lloyd Webber's creative career, the music scholar John Snelson explores the vast range of influences that have informed Lloyd Webber's work, from film, rock, and pop music to Lloyd Webber's own life story. This rigorous and sympathetic survey will be essential reading for anyone interested in Lloyd Webber's musicals and the world of modern musical theater that he has been so instrumental in shaping.

Author Notes

John Snelson is Editor of Publications at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This second volume in the "Yale Broadway Masters" series is a welcome one. Theater and music historian Snelson writes with an appreciation of Andrew Lloyd Webber, describing his musical influences (Webber has been reprimanded for borrowing extensively from other composers, including Brahms and Schubert) while offering specific musical analysis. Biographical information is given in the volume's early sections, but readers wanting more detail (in addition to more photos) will find them in Michael Walsh's Andrew Lloyd Webber. Snelson's contribution to our understanding of this music theater giant lies in his ability to explicate Webber's musical creations, both the successes and the failures. The chapters on The Phantom of the Opera and Snelson's analysis of Webber's films (e.g., Evita) are excellent. This first comprehensive survey of Webber's oeuvre is recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-Susan Peters, Univ. of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This is the second volume in the "Yale Broadway Masters" series, following Geoffrey Block's Richard Rodgers (CH, May'04). Like that book, this is not an "and then he wrote" biography, although two introductory chapters give information on Lloyd Webber's life and his shows. Principally, Snelson (editor of publications at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden) furnishes a sympathetic and scholarly look at specific aspects of Lloyd Webber's work--musical style, details on The Phantom of the Opera, transfer of his shows to the screen, and how he recalled and borrowed from other composers. Snelson provides many musical examples and includes a listing of the composer's works, excellent endnotes, and a good bibliography. The numerous photos (reproduced poorly on the uncoated stock) add little. The reader wanting an overview with good illustrations, many in color, should seek out Michael Walsh's Andrew Lloyd Webber (CH, Feb '90; updated and enl. ed., 1997), which is fit for the coffee table, or Keith Richmond's The Musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber (1995). Snelson's work is much more in keeping with Stephen Citron's Sondheim and Lloyd-Webber (2001). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Large performing arts collections serving upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. R. D. Johnson emeritus, SUNY College at Oneonta