Andrew Lloyd Webber’s push into TV and movies seems to be paying off.
In March, his Really Useful company announced new plans to produce, license and promote his global hit shows and music, and hired new CEO Charles Farmer, former EVP of MGM International Television Productions.
News hits today that Lloyd Webber’s long-running musical The Phantom Of The Opera, playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London – soon to be His Majesty’s Theatre – is going to be used in a new TV series.
A new hour-long murder mystery anthology series called The Show Must Go On Is currently in development for Peacock, the streaming service owned by NBCUniversal. Phantom will be used as a backdrop for the show, that is in development by Austin Winsberg (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist), producer Robert Greenblatt, Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Tannenbaum Company, plus co-producers Lionsgate Television and Universal Television.
The pilot will be directed by Richard Shepard and written by Winsberg, with Winsberg, Lloyd Webber, Greenblatt, Eric and Kim Tannenbaum and Shepard co-producing.
The series is billed as a darkly comedic murder mystery anthology series where each season takes place in the days leading up to a live televised event, with the first season set against the making of a TV live event version of Phantom.
Exciting for fans, the TV show will feature some of the music and songs from the musical including The Music of the Night, plus some of the famous scenes from the show.
The Phantom of the Opera is one of the world’s most popular and longest running stage musicals, and was turned into a movie in 2004. The show premiered in the West End at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London in 1986, and it’s the West End’s second longest running musical, and third longest-running show. It’s also Broadway’s longest running show.
Robert Greenblatt was formerly Chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Television, and is also a big-time theatre producer and investor, with his credits including TV live specials of The Sound of Music Live!, The Wiz Live!, Hairspray Live!, Peter Pan Live!, and Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!, with Lloyd Weber as executive producer.
Greenblatt told Deadline (see link below), who broke the story, that: “Austin and I have a connection with musicals. When he pitched me the idea to do a murder mystery against a live musical backdrop, I thought it was perfect for me. So I reached out to Andrew Lloyd Webber to see if he would let us use Phantom of the Opera, which has never been done before. I pitched him the idea and he loved it and on got on board.”
Greenblatt decided to use Phantom because he thought it was “the perfect show to have a murder happen because the show itself is macabre”.
His Majesty's Theatre,