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Publisher's Summary

One of the most successful and distinguished artists of our time, Andrew Lloyd Webber has reigned over the musical theatre world for nearly five decades. The winner of numerous awards, including multiple Tonys and an Oscar, Lloyd Webber has enchanted millions worldwide with his music and numerous hit shows, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera - Broadway's longest running show - and, most recently, School of Rock. In Unmasked, written in his own inimitable, quirky voice, the revered, award-winning composer takes stock of his achievements, the twists of fate and circumstance which brought him both success and disappointment and the passions that inspire and sustain him. 

The son of a music professor and a piano teacher, Lloyd Webber reveals his artistic influences, from his idols Rodgers and Hammerstein to the pop and rock music of the 1960s and Puccini's Tosca to P. G. Wodehouse and T. S. Eliot. Lloyd Webber recalls his bohemian London youth, reminiscing about the happiest place of his childhood, his homemade Harrington Pavilion - a make-believe world of musical theatre in which he created his earliest entertainments. 

A record of several exciting and turbulent decades of British and American musical theatre and the transformation of popular music itself, Unmasked is ultimately a chronicle of artistic creation. Lloyd Webber looks back at the development of some of his most famous works and illuminates his collaborations with luminaries such as Tim Rice, Robert Stigwood, Harold Prince, Cameron Mackintosh, and Trevor Nunn. Taking us behind the scenes of his productions, Lloyd Webber reveals fascinating details about each show, including the rich cast of characters involved with making them and the creative and logistical challenges and artistic political battles that ensued. 

Lloyd Webber shares his recollections of the works that have become cultural touchstones for generations of fans: writings songs for a school production that would become his first hit, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; finding the coterie of performers for his classic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar; developing his first megahit, Evita, which would win seven Tony Awards; staking his reputation and fortune on the groundbreaking Cats; and making history with the dazzling The Phantom of the Opera

Reflecting a life that included many passions, full of witty and revealing anecdotes and featuring cameo appearances by numerous celebrities - Elaine Paige, Sarah Brightman, David Frost, Julie Covington, Judi Dench, Richard Branson, A. R. Rahman, Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Richard Rodgers, Norman Jewison, Milos Forman, Plácido Domingo, Barbra Streisand, Michael Crawford, Gillian Lynne, Betty Buckley, and more....

©2018 Andrew Lloyd Webber (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Unemotional showbiz logbook

This is a very detailed, yet supremely unemotional, recount of a rather interesting career. Almost exclusively "tell" and no "show". Reads chronologically through logbooks and production notes of Webber's entire life up until opening night of Phantom of the Opera. Webber has an often witty voice, but the book remains quite longwinded, with an insane amount of name dropping and lunch meetings. His first two kids are mentioned in a sentence or two. His personal and emotional life is oddly left out from the story, which left me thinking nothing got "Unmasked". A very misleading title. However, I found the details of Webber's childhood, of the Cats production and Phantom interesting. Would have loved more insight on Webber's creative process. I'm hoping a professional writer will be hired for part 2.

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  • Colin McIntosh
  • 03-26-18

Interesting but nothing fascinating

I love musicals and understand why the critics mauled Andrew Lloyd Webber’s autobiography but once you get past childhood and if you like musicals it’s an interesting listen and although very little you haven’t heard before, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. Shame it stops at Phantom as I really wanted to hear about the recent shows but supposedly this is volume one. Only odd thing is it displays 2 chapters ahead of what they say (ie they say chapter 3 and it’s 5 on screen) but you don’t appear to have missed anything. He’s very complimentary about most and glosses over difficult issues and although ALW only reads the intro I did enjoy the professional narrator and I would say if you like theatre it’s an interesting listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Cluckypete
  • 03-29-18

All I Ask

What a sheer joy to get the inside story of this contemporary genius. As a lover of Puccini and having visited his home I longed to meet his successor and this is as close to ALW I am ever likely to get
The intrigues and shenanigans that go between melody and show are revealing as are the sadness that occur through his productive life. Like me he had suffered the indignities of Prostate Cancer but rebuilt his creative juices and will surely produce yet another masterpiece. I can not recommend this book more highly to anyone who enjoys the musical theatre

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Norman
  • 09-01-18

unexpected pleasure if incomplete .

would like to hear a follow-up particularly of his personal life. nevertheless a very interesting insight into the show business world

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  • Jill
  • 07-15-18

Revealing

Wonderfull appreciation of creative, interpretive, and perceptive instincts and dedication it takes to create and produce successful musical entertainment.