The show, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Don Black, was originally written with Webb in mind and it was she who scored a triumph when it was premiered at Lloyd Webber’s 1979 Sydmonton Festival and then as a BBC TV special in 1980. It made her a household name in Britain, a success she consolidated when the show moved into the West End as one half of the Cameron Mackintosh production Song And Dance - though it was Bernadette Peters, not Webb, who led the show in New York. The current production, directed by Matthew Warchus, was mounted for Denise Van Outen and modernised with new songs and lyrics. However Webb, Black told Playbill On-Line, was keen to play the part once more: “She’s always loved it, and with good reason. It changed her life and she hasn’t stopped working since doing it in the late Seventies.”
Not all the updated lyrics will suit an actress approaching 60. “We won’t have her apologizing to her girlfriends for not going partying with them in Ibiza!” says Black. But, he adds, there will be changes to give the show a new perspective. “We can make it an entirely different story for her. At the same time we’ll get back some of the flavor of the original.”
Julie-Alanah Brighten will perform the role on Thursday matinees. For further information call (0)870 890 1105.