Director reflects on Andrew Lloyd Webber, journey to success
The Daily sat down with director Hugh Wooldridge to reflect on his journey from small to abounding success and his time here working on the production.
The Daily: How did you meet Andrew Lloyd Webber?
Wooldridge: We go back to 1975. We worked together in a show that was not a very good success. It was an unmitigated disaster. It was a show called “Jeeves”, and [Webber] was kind enough to say that the best thing to come out of it was our friendship.
The Daily: How did you get to do this show at OU?
Wooldridge: I was asked by Max [Weitzenhoffer]. I used to run Andrew’s theatre festival, and Max used to come as a guest. He wanted to do “Les Miserables” or “South Pacific”, but I suggested we do this so that we could involve over 300 people instead of just 12 soloists.
The Daily: Does the show have a plot, or is it just a compilation of songs?
Wooldridge: There’s no plot, but it’s very carefully constructed to take people on a journey. The older stuff is first, and the newer stuff is later. We’re doing the U.S. premiere of a song and another song I commissioned for this show that is making its world premiere. It’s a new version of “Love Changes Everything” [from “Aspects of Love”].
The Daily: Do the songs come from Webber’s more popular shows?
Wooldridge: Yes, most come from his popular shows, but old ones and new ones.
The Daily: What was the rehearsal process like?
Wooldridge: It’s been quite surprising. It was a very short time. We work from 7 to 11 p.m., and it’s strange to work with people after they’ve already worked all day.
The Daily: Who does the production involve?
Wooldridge: It involves everyone, students and professors alike.