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Review: ‘The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber’ at the Woodlawn Theatre

Opening the Woodlawn’s 2018 season is The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, a revue of the prolific composer’s most beloved songs. The Woodlawn’s artistic director, Christopher Rodriguez, selected songs that reflect the differing aspects of relationships.

“We have three couples in the show that have their issues,” he told Deborah Martin of the San Antonio Express-News. “It’s kind of like a memory book of snapshots. I put it into the terms for our cast, it’s like your Facebook timeline, when you’re looking at the best moments of your relationships.”

“As we began creating the piece, I realized I didn’t want it to be a musical theater history lesson with Webber facts tying everything together,” he said. “Listening to these songs, I really clung to the idea that most of them had an underlying meaning of love; needing love, burned by love, content with love, et cetera.”

Most of the songs he picked for the show, including pieces from Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera and Cats, will be familiar to most audiences. However, working with music director Andrew Hendley, he also added some songs from Webber’s lesser-known productions, including Whistle Down the Wind and Song and Dance, which will intrigue fans interested in rarities from the composer’s oeuvre.

Amanda Golden, Anna Gangai, John Berring, Joshua Buce, Nora Martinez and Robert Nauman are splendid in the lead roles, seamlessly shifting styles as they move from character to character, including Eva Peron, Mary Magdelene, the Phantom and many more. The Woodlawn’s ensemble is typically excellent, and their harmonization provides a pleasing richness to the music, accompanied by Hendley’s terrific six-piece orchestra.

Rodriguez’ direction and choreography keeps the show moving and visually interesting. Also fine are Benjamin Grabill’s stylish set design, Rose Kennedy’s attractive costuming and Denise Ebarra’s hairstyling. Lighting by Cameron Cornwall and sound design by Benjamin Farrar complete the package.

All in all, it’s a memorable evening of fine music provided by talented performers and musicians.

The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber plays Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. through Mar. 18 at the Woodlawn Theatre, 1920 Fredericksburg Road. Tickets can be obtained online or by calling (210) 267-8388.

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