Call him "Lord Andrew" from now on.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of The Phantom of the Opera, Evita on stage and film, Sunset Boulevard and eight other major musicals, was elevated to the British peerage by Queen Elizabeth II Dec. 31 in the annual New Year's honors list.
Playwright Alan Ayckbourn, Webber's collaborator on By Jeeves was knighted, as was pop composer Paul McCartney, whose work has appeared on stage in the musicals Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Beatlemania.
Webber, who was knighted in 1992, now has the right to sit in Britain's House of Lords. The fact that his new musical, Whistle Down the Wind is premiering in the US apparently didn't count against him. The film version of Webber's Evita opened around the world during the last week of December.
Webber was "on holiday" according to spokesperson Myra Quinn, but issued the following statement: "I am deeply grateful for this honor and particularly its composer citation. This is very proud time for me and my family." Webber's other musicals include Starlight Express, Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. His Cats is the longest-running show in London history, and will become the longest-running show in Broadway history in June 1997.
Ayckbourn is the author of dozens of plays, including Absurd Person Singular and The Norman Conquests.
Actress Joan Collins, whose stage career has included Private Lives in London and New York, was made an OBE (Officer, Order of the British Empire).
-- By Robert Viagas