Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber has said that next year’s Olympic Games will lead the West End theatres to have a “bloodbath of a summer”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he claimed that “nobody’s going to go to the theatre at all” during the Olympics, adding that “most of the theatres in London will shut”.
The composer revealed that early bookings figures for the summer season show a ten per cent drop on normal levels, largely due to already-booked out hotels and an increase in the price of hotel rooms during the Olympics.
He also stressed that the people heading to the Olympics are not the type of people interested in musicals, so there will not be an increase in ticket sales from sporting spectators.
Indeed, Lloyd Webber, who also owns seven theatres in London’s West End with his company Really Useful Group, said that three major shows will be forced to close over the summer. While he did not say which ones, he confirmed that the most popular shows like Phantom of the Opera will stay.
Phantom is the most financially successful show in history, taking more than £3.5 billion globally.
And the popularity of musicals has never been so strong, he told the news provider.
“Musicals are insatiable”, he said, adding that there are more shows being offered to London theatres than there are venues to accommodate them.
Once the Olympics are over, Lloyd Webber said that demand for theatre tickets is strong, particularly as new shows like The Bodyguard, Charlie and Chocolate Factor, The Book of Mormon, the Spice Girls Musical and the Bridget Jones Musical are all heading for the stage in 2012.
Lloyd Webber did suggest, however, that “the legacy of the Olympics and the attention London will get probably will pay dividends in 2013”.
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