Cats and Phantom of the Opera now available to schools

Cats and Phantom of the Opera are two of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most famous compositions. An announcement by the Really Useful Group recently has said that the two musicals will be available for school and amateur performances. Lord Webber has said that since the announcement there have been a great many enquiries made about being able to perform these two musicals.

The productions date from the 1980’s and this is the first time that they have been available for amateur performances. Lord Webber commented, “It is great that these performances are available more widely now.” This agreement has come 25 years after the launch of Phantom of the Opera.

The Really Useful Group has said, “This is just the first of Lord Webber’s plays that are becoming available, soon we will be introducing licensing agreements for some of his other productions, including Starlight Express. Right now this agreement is mostly for the UK and Ireland, but soon we will be making them available worldwide.” In the US there have already been more than 200 licences granted for the performances.

Webber has also said, “One of the first pieces that I composed was Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. I wrote this for a school and later adapted it into a major performance. While the musicals we have just released where not written from schools initially, I am greatly looking forward to seeing young people being able to perform these works.

“Performances in schools have come a long way and now there are children and young adults who have talents that could even rival some professionals. It is my hope that making these productions available to young performers will foster an even great interest in the performing arts.”

Really Useful Group chairman, Mark Wordsworth has said, “Schools have a much greater ability to perform drama today and while these new productions are very complicated, we think that the school will be able to meet the challenges. It is not just the acting in these performances, but the sets are elaborate, and this should encourage more people to be involved in the production.

We have made these plays available in their original form; they are not cut down versions in any way. Lord Webber specifically wanted this, he does not want to see the plays made easier, instead he wants to challenge young people.”

In October 2010, Phantom of the Opera marked its landmark 10,000th performance. The production has been running since 1986 when Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford were in the leading roles. These are not the first two shows that have been available for schools, and Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat is a regular production in primary schools.