Stephen Ward
The Scandal That Shook Society
MusicAndrew Lloyd Webber
LyricsDon Black
Christopher Hampton
BookDon Black
Christopher Hampton
BasisThe Profumo affair and the life of Stephen Ward
Premiere19 December 2013 (2013-12-19): Aldwych Theatre
Productions2013 West End

Stephen Ward is a musical with a book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.[1] The musical is based on the 1963 Profumo affair involving the War Minister John Profumo and the socialite Stephen Ward who introduced Profumo to his mistress Christine Keeler, who was also involved with a Russian spy.[2][3] The musical's world premiere was in London's West End at the Aldwych Theatre in 2013.

Background

In February 2012, Webber first revealed in an interview with the British broadcaster Chris Evans that he was considering working on a show based on the Profumo affair.[4] A first reading of the musical[1] was held in London in early 2013,[5] with its first public staging in March,[6] with Miloš Karadaglić[7] performing the title song from the show on an ITV special Andrew Lloyd Webber: 40 Musical Years. The track was later released as a digital download.[6]

Officially confirmed on 28 June 2013, producers announced that the initial production would be staged at the Aldwych Theatre,[8] with tickets going on sale immediately.[9] The show, budgeted at £2.5 million[10] had a book with lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton[11] and is directed by Richard Eyre,[12] with choreography by Stephen Mear, set design by Rob Howell, lighting design by Peter Mumford and sound by Paul Groothuis.[13]

In 2014, the full libretto of the musical was published by Faber and Faber in book form.[14]

Production history

West End (2013)

Stephen Ward began previews on 3 December 2013,[15] at the Aldwych Theatre, London, before holding its official opening night on 19 December,[13] booking until 1 March.[16] On 6 September 2013, full casting was announced with Alexander Hanson playing the title role of Stephen Ward,[17] Charlotte Spencer as Christine Keeler,[18] Joanna Riding as Valerie Hobson,[19] Charlotte Blackledge as Mandy Rice Davies, Anthony Calf as Lord Astor, Daniel Flynn as John Profumo, Ian Conningham as Ivanov, Christopher Howell as Percival Murray, Ricardo Coke Thomas as Lucky Gordon and Wayne Robinson as Johnny Edgecombe.[20]

The West End production of Stephen Ward received mixed reviews from critics.[21][22] The official opening night was overshadowed by an incident at the Apollo Theatre:[23] during a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, part of the theatre's ceiling fell onto the audience. Members of the West End theatre circuit, managers and producers, who were attending the premiere of Stephen Ward were told of the incident during the interval; many left the theatre to attend to the incident at the Apollo Theatre. Media who were attending Stephen Ward were diverted by news-desks to cover the incident at the Apollo Theatre. The planned after-show press room was cancelled, once the scale of the incident at the Apollo Theatre became clear and that audience members had been hurt.

Despite initially announcing the production would extend to 31 May,[24] the show closed on 29 March 2014, the same day as Lloyd Webber's former lyricist collaborator Tim Rice's show From Here to Eternity.[25][26] A typical London performance ran 2hrs 20mins, including one interval.[27] Michael Billington wrote that Lloyd Webber's "great gift is for writing music about either fulfilled or unrequited romantic passion". On Stephen Ward, he wondered why Lloyd Webber "ever felt it was the right subject for his particular talents and why the producers thought a show about a flagrant miscarriage of justice half a century ago had much resonance for a modern audience."[28] An admirer of Lloyd Webber, Billington believed such a project had demanded the "satirical bite" which Kander and Ebb displayed in the musicals Cabaret and Chicago.[28]

Music

Musical numbers

°Not released on the original cast recording of the musical

Recordings

A West End original cast album was released on 30 December 2013,[29] featuring nineteen songs.[30] The album released by Decca Records was originally slated for a March 2014[31] release, but was brought forward due to demand.[32]

Stephen Ward
Soundtrack album cast recording by
Various
Released30 December 2013 (2013-12-30)
LabelDecca Records
No.TitleLength
1."Human Sacrifice"5:01
2."Super Duper Hula Hooper"1:36
3."When You Get To Know Me"3:23
4."You're So Very Clever To Have Found This"3:09
5."This Side Of The Sky"4:33
6."Manipulation"4:31
7."He Sees Something In Me"2:05
8."You've Never Had It So Good"4:41
9."Black-Hearted Woman"2:20
10."Mother Russia, While We Can"4:12
11."Love Nest"2:25
12."1963"3:47
13."Give Us Something Juicy"2:47
14."Manipulation (reprise)"2:13
15."Police Interview"6:33
16."I'm Hopeless When It Comes To You"3:45
17."The Arrest"1:10
18."The Trial"5:08
19."Too Close To The Flame"6:29

Principal roles and cast members

Character Original West End actor[33]
Stephen Ward Alexander Hanson
Christine Keeler Charlotte Spencer
Mandy Rice-Davies Charlotte Blackledge
Lord Astor Anthony Calf
John Profumo Daniel Flynn
Valerie Hobson Joanna Riding
Johnny Edgecombe Wayne Robinson
Yevgeny Ivanov Ian Conningham
Lucky Gordon Ricardo Coke Thomas
Percival Murray Christopher Howell

References

  1. ^ a b "Andrew Lloyd Webber presents Profumo scandal, the West End musical". telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Lloyd Webber turns political scandal into musical". Associated Press. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Will theatre fans warm to Stephen Ward the musical?". BBC News. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber working on Profumo musical". guardian.co.uk. The Guardian. 27 February 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber Will Present Reading of His New Musical, About Stephen Ward and British Sex Scandal, in London". playbill.com. Playbill. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  6. ^ a b ""Theme for Stephen Ward", the First Music from Andrew Lloyd Webber's New Show, to Be Released March 31". playbill.com. Playbill. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber: 'My greatest regret'". telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Profumo musical set for West End". belfasttelegraph.co.uk. The Belfast Telegraph. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber's Stephen Ward Will Premiere at West End's Aldwych Theatre in December". playbill.com. Playbill. 28 June 2013. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  10. ^ "I can't afford to do many more musicals". telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Stephen Ward to open at Aldwych Theatre in December". thestage.co.uk. The Stage. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber turns political scandal into musical". news-sentinel.com. The News-Sentinel. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black's Stephen Ward premieres at Aldwych in December". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  14. ^ Hampton, Christopher; Black, Don (2 January 2014). Stephen Ward: A Musical. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571314522 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ "Alexander Hanson Is Stephen Ward in New Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical, Beginning Dec. 3". playbill.com. Playbill. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  16. ^ "Lloyd Webber's Stephen Ward extends booking by three months". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  17. ^ "HANSON LEADS AS LLOYD WEBBER'S WARD". officiallondontheatre.co.uk. Official London Theatre. 6 September 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  18. ^ "From Mary Poppins child star to Profumo femme fatale in Lloyd Webber's latest". standard.co.uk. London Evening Standard. 6 September 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  19. ^ "Alexander Hanson and Joanna Riding cast in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Stephen Ward". thestage.co.uk. The Stage. 6 September 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  20. ^ "Charlotte Spencer, Alexander Hanson & Charlotte Blackledge to Lead Andrew Lloyd Webber's New Musical STEPHEN WARD". broadwayworld.com. Broadway World. 6 September 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  21. ^ "Lloyd Webber 'proud' as new musical opens". bbc.co.uk/news. BBC News. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  22. ^ "Stephen Ward Review". Best of Theatre. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  23. ^ "Apollo Theatre Ceiling collapses". bbc.co.uk/news. BBC News. 20 December 2013.
  24. ^ "West End's Stephen Ward Extends Booking Through May 31". playbill.com. Playbill. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  25. ^ "Sir Tim Rice and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest shows flop in West End". independent.co.uk. The Independent. 25 February 2014. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  26. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber's STEPHEN WARD to Close at the Aldwych Theatre, March 29". broadwayworld.com. Broadway World. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  27. ^ "Stephen Ward at the Aldwych Theatre". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  28. ^ a b Billington, Michael (25 February 2014). "Why Stephen Ward was the wrong musical for Andrew Lloyd Webber". Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  29. ^ "Cast Album of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Stephen Ward Will Be Released in December". playbill.com. Playbill. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  30. ^ "Stephen Ward cast recording to be released on December 30". thestage.co.uk. The Stage. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  31. ^ "Cast Album for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Stephen Ward Sets Release Date". broadway.com. Broadway.Com. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  32. ^ "Cast Album for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Stephen Ward to Release Early, Arrives December 30". broadway.com. Broadway.Com. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  33. ^ "Casting Announced for World Premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Stephen Ward, Starring Alexander Hanson". playbill.com. Playbill. 6 September 2013. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
Further reading