Andrew Lloyd Webber

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Andrew Lloyd Webber helped usher in the age of the Broadway Blockbuster, creating a whole new global audience for musical theater in the process. The composer, who has had a long collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice, had his first major success in 1971 with Jesus Christ Superstar. The duo originally couldn't raise enough financing to mount a show, so they released a J.C. Superstar soundtrack album first and saw it instantly take off, and they were able to turn it into a stage musical. After that breakthrough success, Webber and Rice didn't have any problems finding money to put their shows together, and experienced even greater triumphs with Evita (which stands up as their greatest work) and Cats (which became one of the longest running shows in theater history). After these successes, it didn't seem as if Webber could get any bigger. But then he composed a light rock adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera using his then-wife Sarah Brightman as his muse. Phantom turned an even bigger number of young people raised on TV and the movies into theatergoers, and Webber has kept going from there.