Andrew Lloyd Webber is celebrating his 70th birthday in style this month with a new album, autobiography, the Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert special, and a tribute given in his honor just days before the Easter special presentation. NBC will present Andrew Lloyd Webber: Tribute to a Superstar on Wednesday, March 28, that will include conversations with John Legend, Glenn Close, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and a performance by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is said to be one of the world’s biggest musical composers, having won seven Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, one Oscar, a Golden Globe, The Kennedy Center Honor and so on. Last year, he became the first person to tie with the record set by Rodgers & Hammerstein in 1953 with four of his shows running at the same time on Broadway: Sunset Boulevard, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera and School of Rock. His musicals also include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita, Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar. The latter has been adapted by NBC and will be shown as a “live in concert” event on April 1.
Unlike other musicals, Jesus Christ Superstar features no spoken dialogue making it a good fit for a concert setting. The program is based on the Gospels accounts of Jesus Christ’s last days. The TV special stars John Legend as Jesus Christ, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene, Alice Cooper as King Herod, Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas, Ben Daniels as Pontius Pilate, Norm Lewis as Caiaphas, Jason Tam as Peter, Jin Ha as Anna and Erik Gronwall as Simon Zealotes.
The music from Jesus Christ Superstar will also be featured on Andrew Lloyd Webber Unmasked: The Platinum Collection. The four-CD set, which includes more than 70 songs from all of his musicals, will be made available on March 16. It features songs by Lana Del Rey, Gregory Porter, Nicole Scherzinger, Barbra Streisand, Madonna, Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Elvis Presley and even Beyonce plus five new orchestral suites of his music and 40-page book filled with track notes and special tributes.
“I owe everyone involved in putting this compilation together a huge thank you,” says Lloyd Webber on the album’s website.
“A vast amount of thought has evidently gone into selecting tracks from my almost fifty year old career. This compilation brings back a heap of memories – it has made this ancient composer very happy. I particularly love the new tracks and of course I love the orchestral suites. There’s nothing a composer likes more than hearing their melodies played by a cracking orchestra.”
Then there is the autobiography, Unmasked: A Memoir, which came out earlier this month. The book covers over 50 years of productions and music-making plus stories about family member and friends who have shaped the man who he is today. Published by Harper Collins, the company describes the book as “Full of colorful characters and rich storytelling and illustrated with sixteen pages of color photos, Unmasked at last reveals the true face of the extraordinary man beneath the storied legend.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Tribute to a Superstar will be presented on NBC on Wednesday, March 28 at 10 p.m. Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert will also be shown on NBC on Easter beginning at 8 p.m.