AceShowbiz - Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has promised fans his "Phantom of the Opera" musical will sing again on London's West End after it was forced to shutter by the coronavirus pandemic.
Most theatres across the U.K. have remained closed since the start of the global health crisis, and in July (20), producer Cameron Mackintosh suggested the curtain had come down on Phantom of the Opera for the final time, ending a record 34-year run.
However, the theatre mogul is determined to bring the production back to the West End stage at its longtime home of Her Majesty's Theatre, which he has owned since 2000.
On Friday (11Sep20), Lloyd Webber took fans on a virtual tour of the empty theatre to show them the space, which had its stage sets torn down and its seats removed, although he explained it was all done as part of renovation plans, which would allow him to give the "Phantom of the Opera" scenery a complete revamp, while remaining true to the vision of the musical's original director, the late Hal Prince.
"Well, this is the stage of Her Majesty's Theatre, where Phantom should be playing," he said in the video, posted to his Twitter page.
"It will be playing again, if I've got anything to do with it, as soon as possible. But everything had to be taken away and ripped out, primarily, actually, because it was time to rethink some of the scenery, in a good way."
"I mean, a lot of it had got (sic) quite old, but I promise you, it'll be the Hal Prince production that comes back in its entirety, hopefully even bigger and better, because, as you all know, I'm a great fan of Hal Prince, and he was, in my view, one of the greatest directors that Broadway or theatre ever had, and I certainly want to honour his memory as much as possible..."
Lloyd Webber, who has been calling on British government officials to do more to save the crumbling arts industry in the wake of COVID-19, admits seeing his venue completely empty day after day is heartbreaking.
"All we wanna do is to be allowed to open again, that's all we want," he shared.
"Sometimes it makes me almost cry to think that this is a theatre and a theatre is about live experience and it's about people coming and actors giving an audience an experience that that particular audience is the only time that that experience will happen, because every performance is different."
Concluding his digital tour, the composer vowed, "One thing I do promise everybody, so long as I have anything to do with theatre, Phantom will be back and it will be back with the Hal Prince production, with the Gillian Lynne choreography, Maria Bjornson's fabulous scenery, and hopefully some of my music. Who knows?"