Actor Antonio Banderas, who is from Malaga and runs the Soho theatre in the city, has joined forces with British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber to set up a company called Amigos Para Siempre (APS), which will produce Lloyd Webber's musicals for Spanish-speaking audiences.
The idea was proposed by Andrew Lloyd Webber when the two met for dinner while Antonio Banderas was in London, filming the fifth Indiana Jones movie. Lloyd Webber rang the actor and suggested getting together for a meal, which came as no surprise as they have been good friends since Banderas played a role in Evita.
What did come as a surprise, though, was that there was another reason for that meeting. Lloyd Webber said his company, Really Useful Group, would cede all the stage rights of Spanish versions of his classic shows, including Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Starlight Express, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cinderella and School of Rock, to a new company formed with Banderas. Unsurprisingly, the actor jumped at the chance.
The aim is for APS, which is also the name of the song that Lloyd Webber composed for the Olympic Games in Barcelona, to produce shows in Spain and in other Spanish-speaking countries, and possibly in parts of the USA where there are large communities of Spanish speakers. The shows would be performed in quality venues such as those in the West End of London or New York's Broadway.
The company will use new translations and adaptations of Lloyd Webber's works, the new business partners explained at the presentation of their new project.
"I have come across some that aren't very good and we want to look at the possibility of re-translating some of the old works and giving writers the opportunity of doing a good translation from the script of the new works," Lloyd Webber said.
Banderas also stressed that the texts will be adapted to the accents and types of Spanish spoken in different countries, so that the shows reach the audiences in an emotional sense.
The two will meet again during the summer to discuss putting on one or two of the shows and what type of theatres would be suitable for them. Banderas is not ruling out the possibility of playing a part in some of the shows, "although I look a bit older now," he laughed, and would like to direct them.
They are also considering the possibility of taking not only Lloyd Webber's shows in Spanish around the world, but also productions by other composers, including Spanish ones, who are finding it difficult in other countries.