Celebrity Lloyd Webber Whistling Today By People Staff Published on May 31, 1999 12:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber was cleared in a plagiarism suit Tuesday when a jury in New York concluded he did not copy the melody for the “Phantom of the Opera” theme from a Baltimore songwriter. “I have been totally vindicated,” Lloyd Webber said. “This is a victory not just for me but for all songwriters who have been plagued by contingency lawyers. Perhaps we will now see the end of these money-grabbing spurious cases.” Ray Repp, the songwriter who had accused Lloyd Webber of stealing his 1978 song “Till You,” stood dejected in the federal courtroom in Manhattan after the jury returned with its decision. “I have no doubt whatsoever that’s my song,” said Repp, 56, who first brought the lawsuit in 1990. Repp has written dozens of religious songs and has 11 albums to his credit. During the trial, Lloyd Webber played some of the notes to the “Phantom” theme song on a small black piano in front of the jury box. In his testimony, he scoffed at the suggestion that he based the song he began writing in 1983 on Repp’s song. The composer said he’d actually lifted the “Phantom” song” from his own “Close Any Door” composition. Webber testified that the “Phantom” song” was written at his home in Sydmonton, England. Lloyd Webber also said he went out of his way to avoid hearing other people’s music.