“‘Cats’ was off-the-scale all wrong,” Lloyd Webber, the composer of the Broadway musical “Cats,” told Variety. “There wasn’t really any understanding of why the music ticked at all. I saw it and I just thought, ‘Oh ... no.’ It was the first time in my 70-odd years on this planet that I went out and bought a dog. So the one good thing to come out of it is my little Havanese puppy.”
That dog has been Lloyd Webber’s constant companion during the pandemic. “The Phantom of the Opera” composer, who resides in London, has even worked out a way to bring his dog with him the next time he travels to New York.
“I wrote off and said I needed him with me at all times because I’m emotionally damaged and I must have this therapy dog,” Lloyd Webber told Variety. “The airline wrote back and said, ‘Can you prove that you really need him?’ And I said, ‘Yes, just see what Hollywood did to my musical ‘Cats.’’ Then the approval came back with a note saying, ‘No doctor’s report required.’”
Lloyd Webber’s latest thoughts on “Cats” — a movie that has a 20% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes — comes amid Broadway’s grand reopening after a year and a half shutdown due to the pandemic.
The composer fought hard to get theaters up and running during the pandemic, including implementing strict COVID-19 safety protocols at the theaters he owns in the U.K, and participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial back in August 2020, the Deseret News reported.
Earlier this year, the composer even challenged the U.K. government, adamant that the theater industry had demonstrated it could move forward and carry on safely.
“We can’t go on like this,” he told The Telegraph this past summer. “Theater is now on its knees; there’s no way forward. ... Just allow us to get on with our job.”
“It’s slightly overwhelming, and it’s very emotional,” Lloyd Webber told Variety. “This is my life. And for the past 16 months or so, the thing that one loves most in the world was taken away.”
At 73, Lloyd Webber isn’t slowing down. He has his sights on getting “Cinderella” on Broadway by next summer and is even exploring ideas for a new musical, according to Variety.
“I’ve been thinking of the kind of general direction where I want to go next, but I haven’t found the specific story I want to do,” he said. “I’d like to do something that’s of our time. You think all the way back to ‘South Pacific’ and how quickly after the second World War they wrote that piece. I’d like to do something that is about things that may be happening today.”