The Daily Mail reports that the Tony-winning composer will pen several new songs for a stage version of "The Wizard of Oz," based on both the film and the classic L. Frank Baum novel. The production, which will retain many of the famed movie songs — including E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" and "If I Only Had a Brain" — will also boast new tunes by Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glen Slater. The latter is working with Lloyd Webber on the Phantom sequel.
About previous stage versions of "Wizard of Oz," Lloyd Webber told the London paper, "They attempt to do it exactly the same as the movie. That's completely wrong! You've got to think of it as a theatre piece, which just happens to have three or four of the greatest songs of all time."
Lyricist Slater also discussed places in the story that could benefit from a new tune. "It doesn't have an opening number," he told the Daily Mail. "It doesn't have a song for the witch . . . It's missing what it needs to become an actual theatrical piece."
Director Jeremy Sams has been asked to direct the stage Wizard, although no venue or dates have been announced.