Musical Theater Legend Andrew Lloyd Webber to Take Part in COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday August 13, 2020

Musical theater legend Andrew Lloyd Webber has his fans - legions of them - and his detractors, but no one can doubt his commitment to stagecraft. The 72-year-old Englishman announced that he is participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial being carried out by the University of Oxford, People Magazine reports.

Webber, who is also a former Minister of Parliament, tweeted out the news on Aug. 12, posting the message, "I am excited that tomorrow I am going to be vaccinated for the Oxford COVID-19 trial."

Added Webber: "I'll do anything to prove that theatres can re-open safely."

CNN noted that the trial is a partnership between Oxford University and AstraZeneca, a pharmaceuticals company.

CNN reported that the toll taken by the pandemic on theaters has been severe, with all of Broadway shuttered in America until the beginning of next year at least, and one of England's premiere theaters - William Shakespeare's Globe - facing possible permanent shuttering.

Even before signing up for the vaccine trial, Webber had taken steps to give theater fans some hope - and some diversion. Reports CNN:

In April, he set up a YouTube channel that streamed performances of his musicals -- such as "The Phantom of the Opera," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" -- for free.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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