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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 December 2006, 14:18 GMT
Maria men head theatre power list
David Ian (left) and Andrew Lloyd Webber
Ian and Lloyd Webber are now working on rival shows
Andrew Lloyd Webber and producer David Ian have topped a list of the most influential people in UK theatre.

The pair - who joined forces for BBC talent show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? - were placed joint first by industry publication The Stage.

They just beat Cats producer Cameron Mackintosh, while Nicholas Hynter of the National Theatre is at seven.

Playwright Harold Pinter was at 12 on the list, while the Old Vic's artistic director, Kevin Spacey, made number 14.

Ian is the chairman of entertainment giant Live Nation's global theatrical division and is at number one for the second year running.

Lloyd Webber climbed from third place last year after teaming up with Ian for the show which made Connie Fisher the star of The Sound of Music.

'Record advances'

Both will go head-to-head next year with rival talent shows on the BBC and ITV.

Connie Fisher
Fisher shot to fame on How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?
Lloyd Webber is to search for a lead in a new production of Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat while Ian will seek the perfect Sandy and Danny for a Grease revival.

The Stage said the profile of both men had risen thanks to the TV talent contest, "which focused public attention on musical theatre and created record box office advances".

"Whatever one's thoughts on the process employed by How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, it has been undeniably successful, with The Sound of Music reporting record advances," said the publication's news editor, Alistair Smith.

Ian has conceded previously that while Maria was a "phenomenal experience", it was a gamble that "could have gone wrong".

"We could have ended up with the public underdog who can't actually do it but the public chose because her cat died last week," he said.


SEE ALSO
Cowell unveils Grease talent show
20 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
TV search for new West End Joseph
19 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Maria star on newcomer shortlist
19 Dec 06 |  Entertainment

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