However, in recent years, their friendship has been plagued by breakup rumors, which has mostly led them to go separate directions in their respective careers. Now Sir Tim has finally set the record straight. And though he insists the two are still good friends, he reveals there’s little chance they’ll ever write a musical together again.
“We have a couple of ideas, which might need some weird song, but I don’t see us sitting down to do a massive mega-musical again,” he says. “It would create a certain amount of interest, but I don’t think it’s wise to do it just because. And it’s five or ten years of your life. Well, add ten years to my life and I’m probably gone.
“We’re in touch, we went to see the panto at the London Palladium recently, and we did a couple of songs for The Wizard Of Oz, who are on tour, and we may do another song before it hits the Palladium. year.
“But Andrew is very busy doing Cinderella on Broadway, and I already have enough on my plate. There is talk of a Joseph and Aida film, which I did with Elton John on Broadway, hopefully it will come to London at the end of the year.
More imminent, however, is Tim’s new show, Circle Of Words, a play on the hit single Circle Of Life from Disney’s The Lion King that he wrote with Sir Elton John.
The show features Tim himself, along with The Duncan Waugh Band & Singers.
“They perform some of the songs I’ve written over the years and I introduce each number and tell the story behind it,” Tim explains.
“How it happened, a little bit about the person I wrote it with, and everything that made that song a hit, or not. I also reveal the original lyrics of some of them.”
With the tour kicking off early next month, Tim hopes to be fit in time, having just had his right hip replaced a week ago.
“I told them, are you sure this is okay so close to the start, but you have to take dates when you can and it was getting pretty awkward,” he explains.
“I’ll take the stage with a stick if I have to, the show must go on!”
Now 78 years old, Tim has enjoyed an illustrious career. Knighted for his services to music in 1994, he has won countless awards and collaborated with a host of top musicians, from Abba’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus to Elton John and Alan Menken.
But it is his association with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber that he admits will always be best remembered.
After forming a team in the late 1960s, they wrote three hit musicals, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita.
However, the employment relationship was not always smooth.
“We had some ups and downs,” Tim admits. “We were working on a show called Jeeves, which was meant to be a sequel to Jesus Christ Superstar.
“But after a few months, I felt like it wasn’t good enough. We didn’t actually have a fight, although Andrew was probably a little upset that I wanted to ditch Jeeves and I was a little upset that he didn’t want to immediately go and do Evita, which I thought was a better idea.”
After Evita, the duo eventually went their separate ways. While Andrew left to create Cats and Phantom Of The Opera, Tim started working on Chess. “Cats didn’t need a lyricist: it was TS Eliot’s poems to Andrew’s music, and then it went into Phantom, by which time I was working on other ideas with other people,” Tim explains.
“There was no, ‘That’s it, we’re not going to work together again.’ We just distanced ourselves. Away from work, Tim is devoted to his seven grandchildren, the children of his children Eva and Donald from his marriage to Jane McIntosh.
The marriage fell apart in the 1980s when Tim’s affair with Elaine Paige, the star of Evita, became public.
He also has a 23-year-old daughter, Zoe, from his relationship with artist Nell Sully and another daughter, Charlotte, seven, from a brief affair with playwright and art historian Laura-Jane Foley.
All of the grandchildren, he proudly explains, have inherited his passion for music and often gather in a band to entertain the family, sometimes even performing their grandfather’s songs. But he admits with a wry smile that, despite his worldwide fame, neither of them is what could be called dazzled.
“Fortunately, they like most of the things I’ve done; I have never had a grandchild come up to me and say something was wrong. But while they are not discouraged, they are not impressed either!”
- For information and tickets for An Evening With Tim Rice: Circle Of Words With The Duncan Waugh Band & West End Singers, visit nlp-ltd.com/tim-rice
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