Goodness knows what happens when veteran showbiz reporter Baz Bamigboye hates you, because when he loves you there’s no holding him back.
This was most recently demonstrated by the full Baz Blast given to Love Never Dies, with a seemingly endless parade of upbeat stories in Friday’s Daily Mail about the show and Andrew Lloyd-Webber.
Some of our favourites include: “BAZ BAMIGBOYE on how the new Phantom Of The Opera still has the old magic” (26 March 2009); “It’s the best score Lloyd Webber has produced, and that once he hands it over to director Jack O’Brien it can be moulded into the best musical London has seen in years” (3 July 2009); “Phantom Of The Opera sequel Love Never Dies is like a theatrical version of Avatar, in that it’s a long-awaited work from a giant of the genre” (8 January 2010); “The score is brilliant. Sad fool that I am, I’m humming it as I write this blog just outside the Adelphi” (22 February 2010); and “there’s a line in Love Never Dies about the music entering your soul. I think that happened to me tonight” (16 May 2010). And there was much more where this came from, although Baz has been strangely silent since the show’s critical mauling.
This week’s turn was Gemma Arterton, who gets a glowing write up from Baz over news that she will star in Ibsen’s The Master Builder at the Almeida Theatre this winter. On the same page she also enjoys some cast lobbying from Baz on how Gemma should really get the lead role in a new Broadway production of Funny Girl over musical missy of the moment Lea Michele (Glee).
It will be interesting to see if the Power of Baz carries as much weight on Broadway as it does in London, where he remains one of the most influential showbiz newshounds in the country. As theatre PRs clamber over themselves to break news on his Friday page, we hope that he continues to wield his power wisely and for the forces of good.