Antonio Banderas and Andrew Lloyd Webber, who are longtime friends and collaborators, have come under the banner of new company Amigos Para Siempre (APS), aimed at producing theatre, musicals and live entertainment shows, including some of Webber’s best-loved works, for major Spanish-speaking markets.
According to reports, under the initiative, Spanish-language rights to Webber’s shows will be ceded to the new company by the UK composer’s London-based company Really Useful Group.
Shows earmarked for Spanish adaptations include The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Starlight Express, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cinderella, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and School of Rock.
Deadline reports that the name of the company, which translates as “friends forever”, derives from a song Webber composed for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, which was performed at the closing ceremony by Sarah Brightman and José Carreras.
The pair are said to have announced the new initiative at a media event in the Spanish capital of Madrid on Monday.
“Not only is Antonio Banderas entertainment royalty, he is also one of the most versatile, creative minds I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Webber.
“It is truly exciting to partner with Antonio to bring my work, as well as other brilliant Broadway and West End titles, to new markets. While millions of people in the Spanish-speaking world already love our shows and music, the appetite for more, and the level of musical and theatrical talent, is extraordinary. I can’t wait to work with Antonio to bring the very highest-quality Spanish language productions to the world.”
Acting star Banderas, who has been based in his Spanish hometown Malaga since 2019 after a stint living in the UK and nearly two decades in Los Angeles, now devotes much of his time to his Soho Theatre, alongside feature film shooting commitments.
He launched the Malaga venue, with the backing of Spain’s Caixa Bank, in late 2019 with a Spanish-language production of Broadway classic A Chorus Line.
He and Webber have been close since the actor played Ché, opposite Madonna, in Alan Parker’s 1996 adaptation of Evita.
“I had the great privilege to work closely with Andrew during the recording and shooting of his celebrated musical Evita in 1996, but it was when I saw Jesus Christ Superstar back in the early ’70s that I became attached to the music, the theatre and the fabulous talent of Andrew Lloyd Webber.” said the actor.
“It wouldn’t be wrong to say that I became an actor because of the enormous influence and the strong impression I experienced when I saw Andrew’s musicals. To have the opportunity to work with one of the most respected and admired composers of all times, offering his amazing works for Spanish-speaking audiences, is one of the highlights of my career in show business.”
The new company will be overseen by Emanuel Nuñez, Managing Director of NuCo Media Group and Really Useful Group President, Jessica Koravos.