Why I was afraid to face the music, by Roger Moore
Roger Moore told yesterday of the 'nightmares' which forced him to quit Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical.
The former James Bond star confessed he pulled out because he could not cope with the technical side of singing in Aspects of Love.
"I was having nightmares of the worst possible kind over this show", he said as understudy Kevin Coulson prepared to take over.
"Once we were in the theatre with an orchestra I knew it would be impossible for me to continue. The only polite way out was to leave while there is still time for them to find someone else".
Moore started rehearsals six weeks ago in the lead role of romantic aristocrat Sir George Dillingham.
The show, due to be premiered at London's Prince of Wales Theatre on April 12, would have been the 61-year-old actor's West End musical debut.
"From the time I agreed to be in it I have been somewhat scared", he said. "You can't fake it on stage. If you are singing with an orchestra and you come in a split-second after them, you've had it.
"I sat down with Andrew and he agreed the score was far more complicated than he had first thought. It needed someone with experience of orchestras.
"It was a hard enough decision to make to appear in Aspects, so you can imagine how difficult it was to decide that I could not continue. It was a heart-rending situation.
"But I had a wonderful time at rehearsals and they are a great cast. It's a fantastic show and whoever comes in will do a fantastic job."
Now he and his wife Luisa will fly back to their Swiss mountain home.
Kevin Coulson is currently in the musical Chess - written by Lloyd Webber's former partner Tim Rice - which is to close in a few weeks.
Yesterday, calls went out to his agent and the show's producers to see if he can be released early. But unofficially, he was being hailed as the new star of Aspects.
Moore said he would love to return to the West End in a musical another time. "But I need to learn to sing with an orchestra first".