The irony of a cat destroying the latest score by Andrew Lloyd Webber was too much for many headline writers to ignore, but a spokesperson for the composer has since played down the incident. In a recent video blog recorded at his holiday home in Majorca for his personal website, Lloyd Webber explained that he had left his cat Otto in the UK because “after his deletion of The Phantom of the Opera sequel - completely - on my computer, I thought perhaps I wouldn't bring him here.” Apparently, while leaping around, the feline had accidentally pressed the delete key on the composer’s keyboard. Following newspaper reports, however, a Lloyd Webber spokesperson has clarified that the comment was made “in jest” and that in fact “nothing significant” has been lost irretrievably.
The sequel project (See The Goss, 23 Mar 2007) - which Lloyd Webber originally started working on almost a decade ago, in collaboration with author Frederick Forsyth - was dropped back in 1999, after which Forsyth released the tale as a novel, The Phantom in Manhattan. Set in New York in the early 1900s, the story sees the Phantom flee to the Big Apple, where he builds the Manhattan Opera House and persuades his old flame Christine, now a huge star, to sing for him once more. Lloyd Webber is now working with his Woman in White lyricist David Zippel on the follow-up to his iconic musical, The Phantom of the Opera, which celebrates its 21st birthday at the West End’s Her Majesty's Theatre this October.