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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s biggest musicals are now streaming free on YouTube

Musicals like 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Cats' are streaming for free during a six week period
Written by
Nicola Dowse

Some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best and most loved musicals are coming to YouTube for the very first time.

From Saturday, April 4, selected musical productions from Lloyd Webber’s impressive catalogue will be streamed on The Shows Must Go On YouTube channel for free. Oh yes, you will not have to pay a cent to see and relive some of the composer’s biggest musicals.

The online streaming season starts on April 4 with the release of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat starring Donny Osmond, Maria Friedman, Richard Attenborough and Joan Collins. The play (first performed in 1968 when Lloyd Webber was only 19) takes the biblical story of Joseph's coat of many colours and turns it into a raucous sing-through musical comedy. It was the first work between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to be performed to the public (as a 15-minute cantata mind you) and was turned into the Donny Osmond-starring direct-to-video film in 1999.

Next up (and just in time for Easter) The Shows Must Go On will stream the 2012 Tim Minchin-starring arena spectacular production of Jesus Christ Superstar on Saturday, April 11. The musical started life as a rock opera album detailing the last few days of Jesus' life, before ascending to the stage in 1971. The rock musical was adapted into an arena show in 2012 with Tim Minchin as Judas, Melanie C as Mary Magdalene and Ben Forster as Jesus.

On Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19 at-home audiences can relive The Phantom of the Opera, Lloyd Webber's tale of an ostracised, disfigured but brilliant man living in secret beneath the Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier). The Shows Must Go On will be streaming the 2011 25th anniversary performance at London's Royal Albert Hall which starred Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Bogess and Hadley Fraser. The Phantom of the Opera is one of the longest ever running West End musicals but if you still haven't seen it you'll be able to watch it free from 4am Saturday April 18.

Audiences will then be able to stream The Phantom of the Opera's sequel the following weekend, April 25 and 26. Love Never Dies follows the story of the Phantom and Christine ten years later when they both find themselves in New York. Streamers will get to watch 2011 Australian production (the first following its premiere in London's West End) directed by Simon Phillips and starring Ben Lewis and Anna O'Byrne.

Something special is coming to The Shows Must Go On stream on the weekend of May 2 to 3. The channel is screening the Royal Albert Hall Celebration, a tribute featuring celebrities singing some of Andrew Lloyd Webber's biggest musical hits for the composer's 50th birthday. The show was recorded in 1998 and stars Tina Arena, Antonio Banderas, Glenn Close, Elaine Paige and Donny Osmond performing songs from Cats through to Jesus Christ Superstar.

On May 9 and 10 The Shows Must Go On will stream the P.G. Wodehouse-based musical comedy By Jeeves. Premiering in 1975, By Jeeves features music by Lloyd Webber with the book by Alan Ayckbourn. The show revolves around Wodehouse's famous fictional mismatched duo Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves, who regularly saves his employer's backside. YouTube audiences will be treated to the 2001 Canadian production featuring John Scherer as Wooster and Martin Jarvis as Jeeves.

The curtain will come down on The Shows Must Go On for the last time on May 17, but not without one last performance. After six weeks of streaming, the series will close with the 1999 performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, starring John Mills and Elaine Paige. The musical is based on T.S. Eliot's poem collection Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats and premiered in London in 1981, with Paige playing the role of scorned and mournful Grizabella (known for singing one of the musical's biggest hits 'Memory').

Paige reprised her role for the 1999 filmed production – which audiences across Australia will be able to watch for free on May 16 and 17. For this screening audiences will also be treated to a live commentary from Andrew Lloyd Webber himself. The commentary will be streamed on Webber's YouTube channel and fans will have the opportunity to submit questions during the stream. Unfortunately, the live commentary will start at 4am AEST but the video will be made available to watch afterwards for anyone not keen on waking up before dawn.

Each production will be made available to viewers, no strings attached, at 4am AEST on the date of release. You’ll then have 48 hours to catch the musical before it’s taken down.

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