EXCLUSIVE: Three decades ago Michael Ball (Les Miserables) had teeny-bopper groupies waiting for him at the stage door — in London and on Broadway — thanks to a heartthrob role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Aspects of Love. It didn’t hurt that Ball got to belt out “Love Changes Everything,” which was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ball will star in a new production of the musical, and will sing that song again.
Aspects of Love is set to open in May at London’s Lyric Theatre, owned by Nimax Theatres, a company controlled by Nica Burns and producer Max Weitzenhoffer. Burns will produce.
Ball is the first to acknowledge that he no longer can play the youthful Alex Dillingham, the part he created in the original production in 1989 at the Prince of Wales Theatre. During a recent reception at that very same theater, Ball told Deadline that while he won’t take on Alex again, he will play the part of George, his aristocratic uncle.
The men both have affairs with Parisian actress Rose Vibert, and there are further episodes of troubled desires and tangled emotions, hence its title.
”I’m playing George, and I’m going to sing ‘Love Changes Everything,’” Ball told us.
”It’s going to be a completely reimagined show,” he said. “You won’t recognize it.”
Lloyd Webber might write a new song for the reimagined production.
Jonathan Kent, who directed Imelda Staunton (The Crown) and Ball in an award-winning production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, will direct the new Aspects of Love.
Producer Burns will arrange for Kent, Ball, Lloyd Webber and the show’s songwriters Don Black and Charles Hart to gather for a workshop in London before the end of the year. Under Kent’s direction, it will explore how to reassess Aspects of Love, including how to structure the piece so that Ball, as George, can perform “Love Changes Everything.”
Lloyd Webber wrote the musical’s original book, adapted from David Garnett’s 1955 novella. Ball and Kent are keen to strip it of its more saccharin moments that were fine 30 years ago but would sink it now.
Along with Ball, the original 1989 company, included Ann Crumb as Rose and Kevin Colson as George.
Colson was a last-minute replacement for Roger Moore, who had been picked by Lloyd Webber and original director Trevor Nunn to play George. However, during rehearsals it became clear that Moore couldn’t carry a tune and couldn’t possibly carry on with the show. He withdrew and went off skiing in the Swiss Alps.
Aspects of Love will preview at the Lyric Theatre on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue from May 12, and opening night will be May 25. The show has been booked to run for 26 weeks.