Andrew Lloyd Webber reveals how Gary Barlow inspired Superstar tour

As a showbiz reporter for stv.tv, I am very fortunate to meet a lot of interesting and colourful characters, but as a musical lover, nothing was more exciting than getting the chance to rub shoulders – literally – with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Sometimes meeting your heroes can be somewhat of a letdown but I am pleased to report that the good Lord was anything but.

I managed to grab a few minutes with him backstage at Glasgow’s SECC, ahead of the first Scottish performance of the current tour of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Sitting amongst the flight cases, with sound checks blasting out behind us, Andrew was in his element, telling me how “rock ‘n’ roll” it felt to be perched in the midst of the action.

He even joked that he wanted to get a tattoo, perhaps of Melanie C’s face, which would certainly be an interesting look!

For Andrew, seeing Jesus Christ Superstar performed in stadiums throughout the country is a real joy, as he explained: “We played to 52,000 people in O2 and I just love it cause it’s getting it back to its routes. It (Jesus Christ Superstar) was always written as a rock album - it was never written as a musical… It was a rock event.”

Clearly passionate about the modern version of the show, Andrew added: “What is fantastic about this production is it is everything I wanted It couldn’t have been done even three or four years ago cause the technology has improved so much and it’s really, really about today.”

The musical maestro spoke fondly of the cast, praising Ben Forster, who landed the part of Jesus after taking part in Andrew’s TV search for a star, appropriately titled Superstar.

“I think that his performance of Gethsemane on the opening night at the O2 is the best I’ve ever heard it and I’m not just saying that,” insisted the Lord.

He also told how Tim Minchin became involved in Jesus Christ Superstar, after the pair met for a lunch so Andrew could “suss out the new kid on the block.”

Although he admitted he’s not sure whether he will do another TV talent search, as he is currently busy writing his next musical - The Profumo Affair - Andrew admitted he does occasionally watch The X Factor, starring his good friend Gary Barlow.

And it seems Gary Barlow was in part responsible for the return of Jesus Christ Superstar, as Andrew said: “It was sort of Gary in a way who turned me on to trying to get this together, because I was so impressed with what he did with that Take That Circus tour, which was wonderful, and I thought “do you know what? I’m a theatre animal I should be able to take it further.”

“I genuinely think what we’ve got here has taken this further.”

Heading off to the SECC tonight, I am looking forward to the heavenly show that awaits. Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber – legend.

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