Acclaimed lyricist Sir Tim Rice fears he will never write another stage musical as the public seems to prefer shows featuring well-known pop songs to original material. The songwriter helped create hugely successful musicals including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita with his longtime collaborator Andrew Lloyd Webber.
However, his latest offering, From Here to Eternity, is set to close in March (14) after just 22 weeks in London's West End, and Rice now fears theatre-goers are more interested in seeing shows such as Mamma Mia!, which features the music of ABBA, and Queen musical We Will Rock You.
He tells Britain's The Times newspaper, "The public don't seem interested in musicals with new material. They just want old songs repackaged. I feel sorry for Stuart Brayson (the composer he worked with on From Here to Eternity). I think he's excellent."
When asked whether he will write another stage musical, Rice adds, "I very much doubt it."
The news comes shortly after it was announced that Lloyd Webber's latest musical, Stephen Ward, is to also close in March (14) after just four months on stage in London.
Abba star Bjorn Ulvaeus has ended hopes the legendary pop act will reform for a 40th anniversary celebration. The Swedish superstars shot to fame in 1974 after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with their track Waterloo, but they split in 1982 at the height of their global fame.
Singer Agnetha Faltskog raised hopes of a reunion when she stated in November (13) that the four members were "thinking about" getting back together to mark 40 years since their Eurovision triumph, but Ulvaeus has now ruled out a comeback.
He tells British magazine Event, "The (Rolling) Stones have chosen to keep on playing and that's OK. But for us to suddenly make a comeback? Why? If any one of us has opened the door a crack, I'm shutting it now!"
Queen's Greatest Hits has become the first album to sell over six million copies in the U.K. It took the 1981 release almost 33 years to reach the milestone, and guitarist Brian May is thrilled with the latest sales tally.
He says, "Great news, AMAZING news from the Official Charts Company! Queen's Greatest Hits which was released in 1981 has passed the 6 million mark in sales, which is incredible. I just want to say thanks to everyone who has supported us through the years, we hope to continue to serve you."
Statistics suggest one in 10 Brits owns a copy of the album.
The joint number two best-selling albums in Britain at press time are ABBA's Gold and the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (both 5.1 million), while Adele's 21 (4.7 million) and Oasis' What's the Story Morning Glory? (4.6 million) complete the top five.
Rock legend Bruce Springsteen has racked up his 10th number one on the U.K. albums chart with his new release, High Hopes. The Boss has now surpassed the chart-topping achievements of musicians like David Bowie, Michael Jackson and ABBA, and equalled the records held by the Rolling Stones and U2.
Only four other artists boast more number one albums - The Beatles (15), Madonna (12), Elvis Presley and Robbie Williams, who each have 11 to their names.
High Hopes' high sales knocked Ellie Goulding's Halcyon to two, while Beyonce's self-titled release took third place.
Meanwhile, hip-hop star Pharrell Williams has continued his reign over the singles countdown - his Oscar-nominated song Happy remains at number one for a third week, with Pitbull and Ke$ha's Timber and Avicii's Hey Brother staying put at two and three, respectively.
Abba star Agnetha Faltskog stunned fans by hitting the stage for a surprise performance at a London charity concert on Tuesday (12Nov13), marking her first high-profile gig in 25 years. The Swedish singer, who has reportedly not performed in front of an audience for more than two decades, was the surprise guest at Gary Barlow's Children In Need Rocks concert, which was held at the city's Eventim Apollo venue.
Faltskog performed her duet with Barlow, I should've Followed You Home, to raise cash for the BBC's annual Children In Need charity event, which supports underprivileged kids around the world.
British girl band Little Mix and Barlow's former Take That co-star Robbie Williams also took to the stage to perform at the first of two charity concerts. The second gig will be held at the same venue on Wednesday (13Nov13) with performances from Ellie Goulding and Rizzle Kicks.
Swedish pop stars Abba have raised fans' hopes of a reunion by confirming plans to mark the 40th anniversary of the release of their hit single Waterloo. The group, which released its last album in 1982, has long denied speculation they would ever get back together, but band member Agnetha Faltskog has now revealed they hope to mark the 2014 anniversary of the single which propelled the group to success at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974.
The singer tells German magazine Welt am Sonntag, "Of course it's something we're thinking about... There seem to be plans to do something to mark this anniversary in some way. But I can't say at this point what will come of them."
However, Faltskog played down suggestions they will stage a formal reunion by insisting they are too old, adding, "I cannot imagine that we would go on stage with crutches."
Kevin Corkum \ WENN
Some bands are just perpetually uncool to like. We've all been caught singing a song by a band/artist that we really shouldn't be a fan of, only to brush it off as just a "guilty pleasure." But is it so wrong to not feel guilty about it? Here are some bands that are considered to be uncool by many, but are actually kinda awesome.
ABBA A Swedish export more popular than IKEA or Volvo, ABBA was always the band no one wanted to admit they liked. The Swedish band wasn’t just glitz, glamour, and disco, but was actually a solid pop act that took their musical talents seriously. Besides, ironically or not, who can resist singing along to “Dancing Queen”?
Hall & OatesIt wasn't cool to like Hall & Oates for a long time, and it's not even certain if it's safe to admit they're kinda cool now. Their blue-eyed soul and rock and R&B fusion made them stand out among their contemporaries, and the duo ended up facing the wrath of music snobs and critics (redundant?) alike. A dive into their discography, however, and you'll find a breadth of talent and slick production.
Electric Light Orchestra Yes, their name is borderline lame. Yes, there’s that whole spaceship thing. But ELO is awesome. Often dubbed the band the Beatles would’ve been if they’d stayed together, ELO is chock full of some of the most creative minds in the rock genre. Whether you’re rocking out or tripping out, ELO is a must in any music collection.
Boston Boston gets lumped into the generic “classic rock” genre, but the band stands out as a little bit more than that. The first band to make engineering cool, Boston’s breezy melodies masked some crazy intricate production (mostly done in the basement of leader Tom Scholz's home, which makes it even more impressive) and musical wizardry. Case in point: the epic “Foreplay/Long Time.”
Bee Gees Honestly, now – who here isn’t at least a closet Bee Gees lover? Though the image mostly associated with them involves gold suits with man-cleavage v-necks, chest hair, John Travolta, and chipmunk voices, the Bee Gees were a legitimately talented band of bros. The trio was at its best when songwriting and producing, and strutting their stuff in dilapidated buildings.
By now you've heard the news that Morgan Spurlock, the Academy Award-nominated director of Super Size Me and other provocative documentaries, made a deal with the devil to direct the new One Direction documentary. Turns out, however, that Spurlock isn't the only Oscar nominee to sell out. Here are a few others.
5. Woody AllenAllen had just been nominated for a writing Oscar for Deconstructing Harry when he broke precedent and lent his voice to the 1998 animated comedy Antz. Perhaps some dollar signs are too big for even Woody to pass up.
4. Meryl StreepThe 17-time Academy Award nominee clearly went for the big payday by appearing in the 2008 ABBA jukebox musical Mamma Mia!
3. Robert De NiroIt seems like the studios have no idea what to do with De Niro anymore. I mean how else does one explain the fact that a seven-time Oscar nominee has now been reduced to dopey comedies like Meet the Fockers? Maybe De Niro is just looking for a big paycheck in his old age, but if last year's Silver Linings Playbook is any indication, he can still act with the best of them.
2. Tom HanksHanks is not known for making flashy Hollywood fare, but in 2006 the two-time Oscar winner did exactly that by starring in the big budget adaptation of Dan Brown's shockingly popular novel The Da Vinci Code, with an atrocious haircut to complete the humiliation.
1. Nicolas CageIt's hard to believe that once upon a time Nicolas Cage was starring in such modern classics as Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, and Leaving Las Vegas, which netted him his first and only Oscar. Then came a leading role in 1996's Con Air, and well, aside from Adaptation, Cage hasn't really made a good movie since.
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An Abba superfan has banked $86,000 (£57,334) after auctioning off his collection of rare memorabilia. Thomas Nordin's 40-year stash went up for sale in Stockholm, Sweden over the weekend (10-11Aug13) and devotees from around the world flocked to snap up historic merchandise including Barbie doll versions of the Waterloo hitmakers, bags, posters and newspaper clippings.
Among the collectors' items purchased at the Stockholms Auktionsverk house include a rare vinyl from 1981, which sold for $7,905 (£5,270), and a purple ABBA baseball jacket, which went under the hammer for $5,833 (£3,889).
The producer behind the Spice Girls' flop musical Viva Forever! is convinced the show can be brought back to life with a little hard work and a few alterations. The West End musical, based around the girl group's hit songs, closed last month (Jun13) after scathing reviews and poor ticket sales brought its brief run to a halt.
However, producer Judy Craymer, who was also the brains behind popular ABBA show Mamma Mia!, insists Viva Forever! can be resurrected after a few changes are made.
She tells Britain's Daily Telegraph, "Oh yes, I'm sure Viva! will rise again at some point. It can be worked on. It was heartbreaking that we had to close it. I wouldn't say there weren't faults with it, but I love the Spice Girls, and, when you are thinking about a subject to write a musical about, I think that the Spice Girls have earned a place on our landscape...
"Audiences had a good time. It wasn't Mamma Mia! but I wasn't trying for it to be Mamma Mia!"
Craymer insists the pop stars were disappointed by the show's lack of success, adding, "They understand the ups and downs of showbusiness, but then they have had a lot of knocks themselves and they are still here."
Theatre critics labelled the show "insultingly banal", "tawdry, lazy and unedifying", and "not just bad, but definitively, monumentally and historically bad" after it opened last November (12).