Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh, the composer-producer team responsible for such smash hits as Cats, and Phantom of the Opera (the highest-grossing stage show ever) are planning a big revival of Lloyd Webber’s Evita for 2005. Plans are still apparently hush-hush, but the news will be welcome to musical lovers. For years, the press has made much of a friendly artistic rivalry between the two – especially as Lloyd Webber’s company moved into producing in its own right, while Mackintosh found other, equally successful composers such as Claude-Michel Schonberg and both men became major London theatre owners. Recently, there was newspaper speculation over them vying for the services of Laura Michelle Kelly (the rising star both reportedly want for their new shows).
But the two men together are a formidable force, and will make the new Evita a major event. First, of course, Lloyd Webber has to attend to his latest musical The Woman In White, while Mackintosh is working with Disney on the stage production of Mary Poppins. However, with Evita one of the most coveted lead roles in musical theatre (remember the fierce competition for the part in the movie version that eventually starred Madonna?) expect casting speculation to whip up into a frenzy. On possibility is English TV presenter and actress Denise Van Outen, who scored a notable hit in Lloyd Webber’s Tell Me on a Sunday