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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Webber 'fears for theatre future'
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lord Lloyd-Webber is currently hunting for a new West End star
Theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber has expressed fears for the commercial future of London's West End.

"Something completely different has to happen," he said. "There's going to be a cataclysmic change in entertainment in the next five years."

Speaking to the Radio Times, the Evita composer said he did not have "a huge desire" to write another musical.

The 58-year-old is currently searching for an unknown to play the lead role in his production of The Sound of Music.

The hunt is being recorded in a BBC One series, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, hosted by Graham Norton.

'Feel-good factor'

Lord Lloyd-Webber, whose 1978 musical Evita was recently revived in the capital, said modern musicals had moved into a "different direction".

"Can you name me an interesting new one?" he asked. "The feel-good factor seems to be the main thing.

Elena Roger in Evita
Elena Roger plays the title role in the current Evita production
"Only three shows are doing any business - Billy Elliot, Phantom [of the Opera] and The Lion King. Some shows are losing 100,000 a week."

Last year the composer took control of seven West End theatres, including the London Palladium and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

The latter, he said, was a Grade I listed building that would not be viable without a major renovation costing more than 20m.

"No commercial person can find that sort of money and the theatre could never generate it, so what's the future?"

The Sound of Music - famously filmed in 1965 with Julie Andrews - is scheduled to open at the Palladium in November.


SEE ALSO
Johansson denies West End demands
27 Jul 06 |  Entertainment
Lavish Phantom opens in Las Vegas
25 Jun 06 |  Entertainment
Critics hail Evita stage revival
22 Jun 06 |  Entertainment
Lloyd-Webber calls for tax breaks
11 May 06 |  Entertainment
Norton leads TV search for Maria
03 Apr 06 |  Entertainment

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