Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Stephen Ward has reunited the team behind his hit musical Sunset Boulevard, which won seven Tony Awards and played in the West End and ran for four years. Don Black provides the lyrics and playwright Christopher Hampton has written the book.
The show in London opens at the Aldwych theatre on the 19th December 2013, with previews scheduled to start from the 3rd December.
This brand new musical is based on the events surrounding the 1963 Profumo scandal that rocked the nation and was a stab at the heart of British politics and its seedy underbelly.
The infamous Profumo Affair was a notorious British political scandal in 1963 in which John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War, had an affair with Christine Keeler, a call girl who was also the reputed mistress of an alleged Russian spy.
When Profumo was questioned about it in Parliament, he lied in the House of Commons, later forcing his own resignation and damaging the reputation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s government. Harold MacMillan himself resigned a few months later apparently due to ill health caused by stress.
The whole affair was littered with intrigue and scandal, Profumo himself was married to an actress when he starred his affair with prostitute, Christine Keeler after meeting her at a party at the Buckinghamshire mansion owned by Lord Astor.
Profumo’s relationship with Keeler lasted only a few weeks before Profumo ended it. Rumours about the affair became public in 1962, as did the allegation that Keeler also had a relationship with a senior naval official at the Russian embassy. With Profumo’s delicate position in the government and with the Cold War at its height, the potential ramifications in terms of national security were serious, and this together with the adulterous nature of Profumo’s relationship with Keeler, quickly elevated the affair into a full-blown political and public scandal at a time when adultery was frowned upon.
Stephen Ward subject of the new Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical
Christine Keeler and her friend Mandy Rice-Davies lived with Stephen Ward, the society osteopath, who was later accused of living off immoral earnings. Earlier Keeler’s boyfriend had attempted to force his way into Stephen Ward’s flat firing several shots in the process. Keeler meanwhile had become involved with a Jamaican drug dealer, when that relationship ended she was attacked with an axe and held her hostage for two days.
In the ensuing trial Stephen Ward became the targeted scapegoat of a furiously self-righteous Establishment. By no means a hero, he was a reluctant martyr, thanks to an unholy alliance between Press and police of a kind we can all too readily recognise today.
Tickets for the show in London go on sale on Friday 28th June. Book tickets for the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Stephen Ward.