Gentlemanly Battle of Words Erupts Between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Disney Theatrical Chief

News   Gentlemanly Battle of Words Erupts Between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Disney Theatrical Chief
The Nov. 17 announcement that Disney's The Lion King was rolling out the "first-time" 360-degree virtual reality video of one of its songs has resulted in a gentlemanly war of words between Broadway's two longest-running, feline-themed shows, The Lion King and Cats.

The number, which was posted on the web the morning of Nov. 18, was shot using virtual-reality technology, marking what Disney Theatrical Productions said was the "first time the technology has been used inside a Broadway theatre," though Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock recently used the technology to shoot one of its numbers inside a New York City classroom, in a clip that has drawn more than 1 million views.

<i>The Lion King</i>
The Lion King

Lloyd Webber released a statement the evening of Nov. 17 chiding Lion King for its claim. Lloyd Webber wrote, "Just as there is no debate about who were the first anthropomorphized felines on Broadway, there should be no debate about which show was the first to use 360 degree technology. Big cats shouldn't be copycats!" Lloyd Webber composed the music for Cats. The run of The Lion King recently surpassed that of Cats.

Thomas Schumacher, Disney Theatrical Productions' president and producer, responded in a message published on Deadline Hollywood:

Dear Andrew,
Thank you for your note. In response to your claim that “This isn’t Cricket!,” although I’m not familiar with all 12,000 rules of Cricket, I am incredibly proud of our Lion King VR video and stand by our description of it...School Of Rock staged your number for the camera, in a classroom and captured a delightful commercial. We congratulate you on well over a million hits but these are two videos are fundamentally divergent. Thanks for keeping up with The Lion King and best of luck with SOR. I hear great things.

He signed it, "Yours in 3rd position after Phantom of the Opera [Broadway's longest-running show, also composed by Lloyd Webber], Tom Schumacher. It's Lloyd Webber's move.

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