The curtain must fall on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new West End musical Cinderellajust under a year after it opened, with its final performance set for June 12.
In a statement released by Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group on Sunday, the composer said “putting on a new show in the midst of Covid” had been an “incredible challenge” and that a new production of Cinderella would open on Broadway in 2023.
The manner in which news of the show’s closure reached current and future members of the Cinderella Company over the holiday weekend sparked astonishment. Summer Strallen, who was set to join the cast, said she found out about it while reading a news report online and her agent received an email. Appearing on Instagram Live, Strallen said she was due to start rehearsals in June and had been in for a wig three days earlier for her role as queen, which she expected to play for a year.
Luke Latchman, who was also set to join the show, tweeted: “Imagine – planning in your head 100 times what you’re going to say when it’s announced. Telling your friends and family that you have something coming up and you can’t wait to tell them. Knowing that this West End career-changing track was coming. Then you see a tweet and it’s all gone.
Daisy Twells has said she is due to join rehearsals next month and is due to make her West End debut in the set of Cinderella. She had the following year “planned financially and logistically” before receiving the “devastating” news. “It was a dream come true for me and yesterday it was all removed in seconds,” she tweeted on Monday. She said she “found out through a press release that the show was ending”.
Carrie HopeFletcherwho plays Cinderella, tweeted on Sunday night: “I don’t think I have the words… Sending love to everyone affected by today’s news and how this news has been transmitted.”
A Really Useful Group spokesperson said on Monday: “Everyone involved with Cinderella was contacted by phone, email or in person (some through agents) before the news was released in Every effort was made to ensure people were informed before it went live, while trying to manage how quickly it would move on social media once people were informed.Paul Fleming , the general secretary of Equity, the UK’s creative practitioners’ union, tweeted that the way some people learned of the closure amounted to “a ruthless attack on the dignity of the Cinderella business”.
Great British Bake Off winner and Strictly Come Dancing runner-up John Whaite has revealed on social media that he is set to join the cast of Cinderella in July as Prince Charming. He said his “heart was out” for those working on the show. Cast member Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, who plays the scheming, sharp-tongued stepmother on the show and brought Cinderella her only Olivier Award nomination, tweeted that the role “was a thrill and an experience what I needed… Starting Monday morning June 13, I’m your women in your rehearsal room.
No specific reason for the show’s closure was given by the Really Useful Group, but Cinderella suffered heavy losses during its run, particularly when performances were suspended from late December to early February to avoid disruptions. and “protect the quality of the show” while the Omicron variant spread rapidly across the UK.
The show’s arrival at the Gillian Lynne Theater in the West End has been delayed by a year due to the pandemic. Government restrictions meant Cinderella was playing at reduced capacity at its previews, with an estimated weekly loss of £100,000. Its official opening night was canceled at the 11th hour last July due to a case of Covid in the cast. When the show finally opened in August, it received rave reviews, but its online booking system reveals that there are still plenty of empty seats for the remaining performances.
In his statement, Lloyd Webber said, “I’m incredibly proud of Cinderella. Not only did it receive some of the best reviews of my career, but we led the charge to reopen the West End, ensuring live theater and entertainment remained relevant and in the news.
The composer – who in 2017 quit as a Tory peer, saying he was entering the busiest period of his career – has been candid about the government’s handling of the pandemic. “We have held the government’s feet against the flames throughout its change of heart during the pandemic,” he said in the statement. Last summer, he even declared himself ready to risk being shut down and opened to full audiences when theater capacities were restricted for social distancing. His total fortune, according to the Sunday Times Rich List for 2021, fell from £275m to £525m.
Spectators with tickets for performances after June 12 should be contacted by the box office or their ticket agent to discuss their options. Broadway previews for Cinderella, presented with production company No Guarantees, are scheduled to begin in February 2023.
The End of a Fairy Tale: Cinderella’s Troubled Timeline
January 10, 2020
News reported that Andrew Lloyd Webber is creating a new version of Cinderella with writer Emerald Fennell and lyricist David Zippel.
February 14, 2020
Carrie Hope Fletcher has announced the lead role in the musical, which is slated to open in August 2020.
March 5, 2020
As Covid causes disruption, the announcement has meant that the first preview will now be postponed to October 9 due to “current global circumstances”.
July 8, 2020
Opening night is pushed back to March 2021. “The show is absolutely going to go on, just a little later than I had hoped,” says Lloyd Webber.
June 4, 2021
The Far Too Late song was released for a musical, which is now set to open in July.
June 8, 2021
Lloyd Webber says he’s determined to open Cinderella at full capacity and willing to risk being arrested while doing so.
June 18, 2021
The composer decries ‘government delays and confusion’ and says Cinderella will not be part of a pilot scheme to reopen theaters as the Prime Minister has suggested.
June 25, 2021
The first preview takes place at the Gillian Lynne Theatre.
July 19, 2021
Press evening canceled at short notice due to a case of Covid in the cast; Lloyd Webber criticizes “the impossible conditions created by the blunt instrument that is the government’s isolation guide”.
August 18, 2021
Cinderella finally opens up to reviews, receiving five stars in the Guardian.
December 21, 2021
The performances of Cinderella stopped because of Omicron and will restart “as soon as this wave is licked”, specifies Lloyd Webber.
February 3, 2022
May 1, 2022
Closing announced. “Many thanks to everyone involved, especially our UK audience who loved and supported the show,” said Lloyd Webber.