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Andrew Lloyd Webber diagnosed with prostate cancer

October 26, 2009 |  2:11 pm

Andrew Lloyd Webber Well, this is a bummer. Andrew Lloyd Webber, master of musicals, a British knight and the guy who made it possible for Susan Boyle to belt out “Memory” to the whole world, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to a statement issued Sunday by a spokeswoman.

“The condition is in its very early stages,” the statement said. “Andrew is now undergoing treatment and expects to be fully back at work before the end of the year."

“Love Never Dies,” the 61-year-old composer’s long-waited follow-up to the musical theater classic “The Phantom of the Opera,” is scheduled to open March 9, 2010, in London and Nov. 10, 2010, on Broadway. Set in Coney Island, N.Y., at the turn of the 20th century, it picks up with “unfinished business” 10 years after we last saw the Phantom and Christine.

Unless you live in a box, it’s hard not to know about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s work.  “Phantom,” “Cats,” “Evita”  -- OK, sometimes it’s hard to know about “Cats,” but that’s another story.

But those who are more “American Idol” than “Jesus Christ Superstar” know his work as a coach on Season 7 of “American Idol”, when future winner David Cook and runner-up David Archuleta performed songs from “Phantom.”  Cook, whose brother died of brain cancer in May, gave Lloyd Webber a supportive shout-out Sunday afternoon on Twitter.

Prostate cancer, incidentally, is the No. 1 cancer diagnosed and the No. 2 cause of cancer deaths in men in the U.S.

And Lloyd Webber’s announcement comes during Breast Cancer Awareness month, when tremendous creativity is put to work  on public service announcements and fund-raising efforts to “save the ta-tas.” But I’d bet almost none of us can remember when Prostate Cancer Awareness Month was. Yes, prostate cancer has a month. And it has a ribbon (sky blue). Hint: What were you doing in September? 

An idea: The next time you think pink, take a minute remember that there’s a sky blue ribbon too. Unfortunately for men, the prostate doesn’t come in one of those easily marketable packages.

He’s a knight, a baron and a winner of Tonys, Grammys, an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Our wish is that Andrew Lloyd Webber very quickly adds “cancer survivor” to his resume.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

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Andrew Lloyd Webber sets opening days for 'Phantom' sequel

Photo credit: Leslie E. Kossoff/AFP/Getty Images