Writing and staging musicals isn't a quick process in the best of times, and the shortage of major musical houses (which has delayed another Lloyd Webber production, a revival of The Sound of Music) doesn't help.
A mysterious tale of damsels in distress, a wicked aristocrat, lunatic asylums, family fortunes, desolate mansions and a sinister Secret Society, "The Woman in White" was a huge hit for novelist Wilkie Collins, who went on, seven years later, to write the first modern detective story, "The Moonstone."
The romanticism and drama of "The Woman in White" lends itself to a (musical) stage treatment. It would provide plenty of scope for classic Lloyd Webber melodies and stage setting and could prove to be his Phantom for the new millennium
According to reports in the Feb. 7 Daily Mail, he and playwright Charlotte Jones have finished the show's first act. David Zippel is providing the lyrics. Sir Trevor Nunn (who seems even busier now that he's leaving the National) is to direct.