Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theater company has faced criticism after it was revealed that West End production of the musical Cinderella is to be halted, with some current and future cast members suggesting they only found out when the news broke.
Production wraps up next month, less than a year after its West End premiere.
The show, which is being staged at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, has been hit by Covid-19-related disruptions from the start and will have its final performance on June 12, according to a note on its website and a tweet.
In a statement, Lord Lloyd-Webber said he was “incredibly proud” of the show, adding: “Not only has it received some of the best reviews of my career, but we have led the charge to reopen the West End and this one Ensure theater and live entertainment stayed relevant and in the news.
“While it has been an incredible challenge to put together a new show amid Covid, we have kept the Government’s feet on fire during their change of heart during the pandemic.”
Lord Lloyd-Webber’s statement added: “Now I’m really looking forward to starting work on putting together a new production with (the production company) No Guarantees for Broadway. Thank you to everyone involved, especially our UK audience who loved and supported the show. See you on Broadway next March.”
Actress Carrie Hope Fletcher, who stars as Cinderella, wrote on Twitter: “I don’t think I’m at a loss for words. And if I did, I would probably be advised not to say them. Sending love to everyone affected by today’s news and the way that news was delivered.”
I don’t think I have the words. And if I did, I would probably be advised not to say them. Sending love to everyone affected by today’s news and how this news was delivered. 💔
— Carrie Hope Fletcher (@CarrieHFletcher) May 1, 2022
Theater star Summer Strallen said in a lengthy video on Instagram that she recently had a wig adjustment before taking on the role of Queen from Rebecca Trehearn, and claimed she only found out the show was canceled when a friend sent her an article On Sunday.
video of the day
A statement from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theater company said: “The timeline reported online is incorrect. The entire company that worked yesterday was informed personally after the matinee performance.
“There was no evening performance, so last night it wasn’t before a show.
“At the same time the company was briefed, anyone who was not present was phoned or emailed by the broader RUG (Really Useful Group) team.
“Every effort was made to ensure the news got out as widely as possible as quickly as possible, but we obviously had to act quickly when the news broke on social media.”
Strictly Come Dancing finalist and chef John Whaite expressed his heartache at the news as he was set to join the cast and take on the role of Prince Charming in July.
Whaite said in a message on his Instagram Stories: “This is heartbreaking news. For me because I was due to take on the role of Prince Charming in July, but even more so for the current cast, band and production team who have battled through Covid to bring a brilliant new show to the stage.
“My heart goes out to each and every one of them.
“I was lucky enough to see Cinderella in December 2021 and it was one of the most wonderful musicals I have seen in a long time. I was so excited to join the cast, it was a lifetime dream come true, but sadly that’s not to be the case now. Who knows what the future will bring – I will not lose hope.”
Deadline reported that the cast were notified of the closure before they took to the stage, in a message that said, “Some of you will already know, we just got the creative/production teams, cast, crew and the band will be informed and a statement will be released shortly in the press and on social media.
“Thank you for your immeasurable contribution to the show. We should all be very proud of Cinderella and all that we have achieved together and we look forward to our paths crossing again soon.”
When your show became the face of the reopening. By all means, if you have complete control over the announcement of the closure, make sure employees know about it first. Definitely don’t write an article days before you tell them to for the trade magazine. Be sure to call your actors.
— James Graham (@mrJamesGraham) May 1, 2022
Theater producer and writer James Graham said in a tweet: “When your show became the face of ‘reopening.’ By all means, if you have complete control over the announcement of the closure, make sure employees know about it first. Definitely don’t write an article days before you tell them to for the trade magazine. Be sure to call your actors.”
Last July, Lord Lloyd-Webber said he was determined to open Cinderella in London and at the time had ignored “sirens” suggesting it move it to Broadway.
The website for the show says anyone who booked tickets for after June 12 won’t lose their money.
The Cinderella premiere took place in August last year after it was supposed to take place the previous month but was delayed due to Covid isolation protocols.
The show opened with an audience capacity of 50% after the impresario turned down Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s offer to include the show in the pilot program of coronavirus live events.
Then in December, Cinderella was shelved alongside London productions of hit musicals Hamilton and The Lion King due to “Covid-related absences”.
At the time, Lord Lloyd-Webber said it was “just heartbreaking” to see the theater industry being “decimated” by Omicron cancellations, adding “no one in government is listening”.
He postponed Cinderella to 2022 “to avoid further disruption” as the number of Covid-19 cases rose across the country.
Written by The Crown star Emerald Fennell, Cinderella is described as a “complete reinvention” of the classic fairy tale and based on an original idea by Fennell.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/current-and-future-cast-of-cinderella-heartbroken-at-shows-west-end-closure-41606888.html Current and future cast of Cinderella ‘heartbroken’ at the closure of the show’s West End