Scottish Daily Mail

Lloyd Webber’s anger at schools’ ‘PC’ censorship of Joseph lyric

- By Laura Lambert TV and Radio Reporter

ANDREW Lloyd Webber has attacked the censorship of a lyric from his musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolo­r Dreamcoat, which saw a reference to ‘Israel’ removed.

The composer, 69, was furious to learn that the wording of Close Every Door had been changed by several schools over concerns that it sounded political.

He insisted that the original wording should be left alone because it was a ‘serious and key’ moment in the show.

Lord Lloyd-Webber was responding to a row between his former lyricist Sir Tim Rice and schools in Wellington, New Zealand, which amended ‘children of Israel are never alone’ to ‘children of kindness’.

He told The Observer: ‘Tim is quite right. You cannot reinvent a Bible story. That song is a serious moment and a key point in the show. It is about the connection Joseph suddenly makes with Israel. Tim was paraphrasi­ng the Bible and it should be kept that way.’

Sir Tim, who collaborat­ed with Lord Lloyd-Webber for the first time on the musical, revealed his anger at the ‘bonkers’ lyric change earlier this month.

Speaking at the Chalke Valley History Festival, he said: ‘They were doing the Joseph songs and they changed Close Every Door, the last line “Children of Israel are never alone”, they changed it to “children of kindness are never alone”, which was obviously being politicall­y correct or something. [They] interprete­d the song completely wrongly, and what a rotten thing. And I only heard about it because someone tweeted me and said, “Did you approve this change?”

‘We came down on them like a ton of bricks and they said...“we wanted to make it easier for the children”. This was moronic. I mean Joseph is an innocent story straight from the Bible and these people in New Zealand thought we were making statements about Israel and Palestine – bonkers.’ In response to Sir Tim’s protest, Wellington City Council vowed to reinstate the original lyrics.

A representa­tive said: ‘A community co-ordinator made an error in judgment which we will rectify before the schoolkids perform in September. Sorry, we love your work.’ Last night, Lord Lloyd-Webber was given a lifetime achievemen­t award at The South Bank Show Awards.

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