Thursday, April 7, 2011

Andrew Lloyd Webber

I like musicals. The highlights of my trips to New York City have been the shows I saw on broadway. However, not all musicals are created equal- which brings me to my current issue.

My university is producing a huge musical revue this semester: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Webber is probably most well-known as the creator of Phantom of the Opera, although he's also written other commercially successful shows such as Evita, Cats, and Jesus Christ Superstar.

There's no denying that Webber's been very successful in his career. I'm not the biggest fan of his musicals (neither the music nor the stories are well-written in my opinion), but they've been very successful. Evidently the man for whom the fine arts college at my university is named has a personal connection to Andrew Lloyd Webber, and had the brilliant idea to sponsor this production.

This production has replaced the usual annual large-scale work that the choirs do. We have gone from Mozart's Requiem to Mendelssohn's Elijah to Orff's Carmina Burana... to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Most students in a music school attend that school with the expectation of studying classical music. Voice students are required to be in a choir a specific number of times in their career at the university, and as such they have no choice but to participate in the production.

Rehearsals for this production have lasted up to 5 hours at a time, and the choirs were informed of these rehearsals only three or four days in advance. The production doesn't open for another week, and I see the students involved in this production around me becoming increasingly stressed and frazzled as they try to balance this production on top of the schoolwork, practice schedules, and jobs they already have. Students have complained that they feel exploited, and overworked.

The tickets cost $25 apiece. The singers don't get comp tickets, the get comp dress rehearsal passes. This production clearly exists only to earn money for the university.

Although I'm not involved in this production, I will be beyond happy to see it finished with.

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