To celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera, The Really Useful Group announced the immediate availability of the show to be performed in academic schools and colleges in the U.K. and Eire. (It should be noted that both Phantom and Cats, as well as several other Lloyd Webber musicals, are already in selected release in North America through R&H Theatricals.)
In a statement composer Lloyd Webber said, "One of the first pieces I wrote was Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was originally written for a school. Later it was expanded to be a full length stage show but I still get a kick out of seeing it performed in the way it began over forty years ago.
"No way was either Cats or The Phantom Of The Opera written for schools even if TS Eliot did write his brilliant cat poems for his godchildren.
"But such is the extraordinary growth of interest in musicals at grass root level all over the world, plus the astonishing capabilities of our younger performers, that now schools, colleges and amateur societies put on productions that give professionals a huge run for their money.
"I am therefore delighted that Cats and Phantom are available to be performed by schools and colleges for the first time. Good luck and have fun!" The Phantom of the Opera has been seen by over 130 million people worldwide and has been performed in 14 different languages in 145 cities around the globe. When Phantom became Broadway's longest-running show, it took over from Cats, which had played for over 21 years. The show, based on the poems of T.S Eliot, took over £115 million at the U.K. box office.
To perform one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's shows in the U.K., schools must contact The Really Useful Group Licensing department. Shows already available from the Really Useful Group include By Jeeves, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, The Likes of Us and Sunset Boulevard.
In the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Lloyd Webber musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera (high schools and colleges only), Sunset Boulevard (professional theatres only), Cats, By Jeeves, Evita, Song & Dance, Aspects of Love, Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, are licensed by R&H Theatricals; for more information visit www.rnh.com or www.facebook.com/rodgersandhammerstein.