Tony Award-winning composer Andrew Lloyd Webber will present an invitation-only reading of his latest project, a musical about Stephen Ward — the osteopathic physician who became a central figure in the Profumo Affair of 1963 — in March in London, according to the New York Post.
The work, currently referred to as The Stephen Ward Musical, features lyrics by Tony winner Don Black (Sunset Boulevard) and a book by Tony winner Christopher Hampton (Sunset Boulevard).
"We've broken the back of the show, and we're going to finish it next week," lyricist Black told the Post. "We've been working with Andrew all year in Barbados and Marbella, [Spain]… I must say, this is the best score Andrew's written in years."
Tony Award-nominated director Richard Eyre (The Crucible, Skylight) has signed on to direct, and Robert Fox (Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway) will produce.
Lloyd Webber, who is eyeing Julian Ovenden of Off-Broadway's Death Takes a Holiday for the title role, also plans to present a fuller version of the show this summer at his annual Sydmonton Festival, which has previously debuted his musicals Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard.
Ward introduced married British cabinet minister and MP John Profumo to showgirl Christine Keeler in 1961. Profumo's subsequent sexual relationship with Keeler and his false statement to the House of Commons regarding its nature led to Profumo's resignation. Following the scandal, Ward was charged with living off the profits of prostitution and committed suicide on the last day of the trial.