LEGENDARY lyricist Sir Tim Rice has put his considerable support behind the new British musical TESS.

The wordsmith behind some of the world’s best-loved musicals – including Evita, Joseph, Chess and From Here to Eternity – praised material from the new show as “very well crafted” and “very professional in all departments”.

The giant of musical theatre was commenting on tracks released by composer Michael Blore and lyricist Michael Davies as part of their drive to bring TESS to the stage. Now, as Rice astutely points out: “What you really need is a producer.

Rice’s pedigree is unmatched in the world of musicals. From his early partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber, which produced global successes including Jesus Christ Superstar, he has gone on to work with pop luminaries such as Sir Elton John and Benny and Bjorn from Abba.

He described TESS as “based on a very strong story and the songs I have heard [are] very well crafted”, adding: “I wish you all the very best.”

Almost two years in the making, TESS is a sumptuous new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Three demo tracks are already available for free online at www.tessthemusical.com and the writers announced this week that studio time has been scheduled in 2016 to record a full album version of the show.