Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Theater: World Premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s New Musical Pulled at Last Minute


Andrew Lloyd Webber– usually you can’t get away from him. He’s got shows coming and going from Broadway like Big Macs, piping hot.

But his new sort of greatest hits musical, called “Unmasked,” just got pulled from its world premiere this September at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey. Instead Paper Mill is subbing in a new production of “The Color Purple” from the same director who was supposed to do “Unmasked”– John Doyle.

We don’t need “The Color Purple” again so soon after its Broadway success recently, but hey–why not?

Doyle says in a statement: “We received news last week from our producing partners in London that due to unforeseen scheduling issues, Unmasked can no longer be presented as part of our 2018-2019 Paper Mill Playhouse season. We look forward to presenting it in a future season.”

“Unmasked” was a collaboration with Richard Curtis, the writer and director of “Love Always.” Curtis is busy working with director Danny Boyle on their Beatles music movie “All You Need is Love” so maybe he’s busy with that. Or maybe they discovered that a lot of ALW’s songs sound the same. (Sorry.)

Or maybe Doyle is the reason. He likes his actors to play their own instruments on stage. But at least he knows “The Color Purple”– his revival of it won two Tony Awards. He also won a Tony for directing Patti Lupone in “Sweeney Todd” although she complained about having to carry a tuba around– something like that.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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