Acclaimed lyricist Sir Tim Rice fears he will never write another stage musical as the public seems to prefer shows featuring well-known pop songs to original material.

The songwriter helped create hugely successful musicals including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita with his longtime collaborator Andrew Lloyd Webber.

However, his latest offering, From Here to Eternity, is set to close in March (14) after just 22 weeks in London's West End, and Rice now fears theatre-goers are more interested in seeing shows such as Mamma Mia!, which features the music of Abba, and Queen musical We Will Rock You.

He tells Britain's The Times newspaper, "The public don't seem interested in musicals with new material. They just want old songs repackaged. I feel sorry for Stuart Brayson (the composer he worked with on From Here to Eternity). I think he's excellent."

When asked whether he will write another stage musical, Rice adds, "I very much doubt it."

The news comes shortly after it was announced that Lloyd Webber's latest musical, Stephen Ward, is to also close in March (14) after just four months on stage in London.