Andrew Lloyd Webber is perhaps one of the most important and influential composers in the world when it comes to plays. Most composers are happy if they are able to write a single play that enjoys a long run, either on Broadway or on the London stage. Webber has written several. His plays are so famous that even individuals who normally avoid musicals are familiar with Webber’s work. His most famous play, Phantom of the Opera, just celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary.
The thing that is interesting about Webber’s work is that the only resemblance between the plays that he composes is that they are all very elaborate productions and most contain at least one song that touches the heart of fans. Other than that, each play is different from the other. For example, Phantom of the Opera has a definite rock sound that is reminiscent of the music that the Queen used to make. One the other hand, the music that Webber composed for Evita is lilting and has a classic Spanish vibe. The music used in Jesus Christ Superstar sounds like a traditional Broadway sound.
The other thing that is interesting about Webbers work is his sources of inspiration. One of Webber’s early works, Jeeves and Wooster, was taken directly from the novels written by P.G. Wodehouse. Phantom of the Opera was also based on a novel, this one by Gaston LeRoux. Evita was based on the life of the very real Argentinian political figure, Eva Peron, and when he composed the music for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Webber turned to the bible.
In addition to the sound and background of each of his compositions being different, Webber also uses many different lyricists, moving from one to another until he finally finds one who is able to come up with words that are a perfect match both the music and the story Webber is trying to tell.