"You have the luck of Croesus on stilts (as my Auntie Vi would have said) if you’ve had the sort of career, ups and downs, warts and all that I have in that wondrous little corner of show business called musical theatre."
One of the most successful and distinguished artists of our time, Andrew Lloyd Webber has reigned over the musical theatre world for nearly five decades. The winner of numerous awards, including multiple Tonys and an Oscar, Lloyd Webber has enchanted millions worldwide with his music and numerous hit shows, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera—Broadway’s longest running show—and most recently, School of Rock. In Unmasked, written in his own inimitable, quirky voice, the revered, award-winning composer takes stock of his achievements, the twists of fate and circumstance which brought him both success and disappointment, and the passions that inspire and sustain him.
The son of a music professor and a piano teacher, Lloyd Webber reveals his artistic influences, from his idols Rodgers and Hammerstein and the perfection of South Pacific’s “Some Enchanted Evening,” to the pop and rock music of the 1960s and Puccini’s Tosca, to P. G. Wodehouse and T. S. Eliot. Lloyd Webber recalls his bohemian London youth, reminiscing about the happiest place of his childhood, his homemade Harrington Pavilion—a make-believe world of musical theatre in which he created his earliest entertainments.
A record of several exciting and turbulent decades of British and American musical theatre and the transformation of popular music itself, Unmasked is ultimately a chronicle of artistic creation. Lloyd Webber looks back at the development of some of his most famous works and illuminates his collaborations with luminaries such as Tim Rice, Robert Stigwood, Harold Prince, Cameron Mackintosh, and Trevor Nunn. Taking us behind the scenes of his productions, Lloyd Webber reveals fascinating details about each show, including the rich cast of characters involved with making them, and the creative and logistical challenges and artistic political battles that ensued.
Lloyd Webber shares his recollections of the works that have become cultural touchstones for generations of fans: writings songs for a school production that would become his first hit, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; finding the coterie of performers for his classic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar; developing his first megahit, Evita, which would win seven Tonys Awards, including Best Musical; staking his reputation and fortune on the groundbreaking Cats; and making history with the dazzling The Phantom of the Opera.
Reflecting a life that included many passions (from architecture to Turkish Swimming Cats), full of witty and revealing anecdotes, and featuring cameo appearances by numerous celebrities—Elaine Paige, Sarah Brightman, David Frost, Julie Covington, Judi Dench, Richard Branson, A.R. Rahman, Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Richard Rodgers, Norman Jewison, Milos Forman, Plácido Domingo, Barbra Streisand, Michael Crawford, Gillian Lynne, Betty Buckley, and more—Unmasked at last reveals the true face of the extraordinary man beneath the storied legend.
About the Author
Andrew Lloyd Webber is the composer of The Likes of Us, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, School of Rock, and many other productions. His awards include seven Tonys, three Grammys, seven Oliviers, a Golden Globe, an Oscar, two international Emmys, the Praemium Imperiale, the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre, a BASCA Fellowship, and the Kennedy Center Honor. He was knighted in 1992 and was appointed an honorary life peer in 1997. He lives in London, where he own seven theatres, including the London Palladium.
“The unworried Unmasked proves as readable as his hits are watchable.”
— Washington Post
“(Unmasked) is a gripping insight into a rich and intensely creative life.”
— BBC America
“Unmasked (the title is a play on Phantom’s signature facial gear) will tickle music and theater geeks. It’s an insider’s inside account, highly readable, thanks to Lloyd Webber’s affable, intelligent voice”
— USA Today
“An autobiography that has...wit, surprise, contemporaneity, audacity, and an appealingly shrewd sense of the occasion.”
— New Yorker
“I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats!”
— Vanity Fair
“Mr. Lloyd Webber’s charmingly idiosyncratic, surprisingly endearing and ruthlessly entertaining autobiography.”
— Wall Street Journal
“An enlightening look into Andrew Lloyd Webber’s early life and professional career.”
— Broadway World
“THERE IS NOTHING ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER CAN’T DO...
THIS MEMOIR PROVES THAT HE CAN WRITE STYLISH
AND WITTY PROSE TOO.”
— Sunday Times (London)