Andrew Lloyd-Webber was the (British) composer who single-handedly
resurrected the musical.
As a teenager, he and lyricist Tim Rice had already envisioned a futuristic
production, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1967),
influenced by the psychedelic age, followed by
Jesus Christ Superstar (1971), the first Broadway
musical entirely devoted to rock music (with the anthemic title-song).
Lloyd-Webber and Rice successfully transposed the traditional musical into
the technological age with
Evita (1979), a musical biography of Eva Peron that included the hit
song Don't Cry For Me Argentina (one of the last show tunes to be able
to compete in the charts with pop, soul and rock music),
and then did the same to the traditional revue with Cats (1982), based on Thomas-Stearns Eliot's book and relying more on effects than on melodies (Memory)
and to the operetta with Phantom of the Opera (1986)
and to the extravaganza with the truly extravagant (but high-tech)
Starlight Express (1984).
Lloyd-Webber's light-weight spectacles were the exact opposite of (almost the antidote to, or maybe complementary to) Sondheim's brainy meditations.
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