Andrew Lloyd Webber has been responsible for an astounding string of hit musicals, including “Cats”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, and “Evita”.
With theatres shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the acclaimed composer is anxious to bring audiences back and fill seats – something that won’t happen until the pandemic ends and people once again feel safe sitting shoulder to shoulder in a packed theatre.
To hasten the process, Webber, 72, is offering himself as a guinea pig to test the new vaccine being developed by Oxford University.
In a tweet he shared on Wednesday, Sir Andrew announced:
I am excited that tomorrow I am going to be vaccinated for the Oxford Covid 19 trial. I’ll do anything to prove that theatres can re-open safely. – ALW
— Andrew Lloyd Webber (@OfficialALW) August 12, 2020
As BBC News reports, the experimental vaccine — ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 — has thus far shown promising results, with researchers now enlisting 10,000-plus people throughout the U.K. to volunteer as test subjects for the medical trial.
Broadway and London’s West End have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with shows shuttered and thousands of actors and backstage crew out of work.
Last month, Webber’s longtime producer Cameron Mackintosh wrote in an essay underlining the importance of getting live theatre up and running again.
“With no endgame to this crisis in sight, last week I had to follow through with the awful distressing downsizing of my organization to ensure my company’s survival,” he wrote.
“On top of this, Andrew and I have had to sadly permanently shut down our London and U.K. touring productions of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, but are determined to bring it back to London in the future.”
In June, People reported that the Broadway League confirmed theatres will remain closed until the end of the year; while hopes are high that productions can resume in early 2021, all plans for restarting live theatre remain up in the air.