Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced the indefinite closure of his new West End musical Cinderella a day before its official opening due to what the composer angrily called “the blunt instrument that is the Government’s isolation guidance” regarding Covid-19.
In a tweet Monday morning, Webber said the musical, which began performances just last month at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, will not resume today as planned (performances were halted Saturday after an actor tested positive for Covid). The $8.2 million musical was set to officially open July 20.
In his statement, Webber said that the cast member (“who has a cameo role in the show”) tested positive on Saturday, prompting producers to cancel two weekend performances and test the rest of the company. Webber said that, aside from the one performer, the tests were negative, as were subsequent tests conducted today.
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“Despite this, the impossible conditions created by the blunt instrument that is the Government’s isolation guidance, mean that we cannot continue,” Webber wrote. “We have been forced into a devastation decision which will affect the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of people and disappoint the thousands who have booked to see the show.”
“Cinderella was ready to go,” the composer concluded. “My sadness for our cast and crew, our loyal audience and the industry I have been fighting for is impossible to put into words. Freedom Day has turned into closure day.”
Webber did not indicate whether the show will return at a later date.
In addition to his statement posted on the website of his LW Theatres (which includes the Gillian Lynne venue), a note on the site tells ticket-holders, “We will be in touch as soon as we can to reschedule your dates. Please bear with us and don’t contact us until we’ve contacted you.” UK’s The Telegraph quotes an ALW spokesperson as saying “We will do everything we can to come back but it’s hard to see a route forward under the current rules.”
Webber has been an outspoken critic of the UK government’s handling of Covid within the theater industry, specifically its closures and limited capacity mandates for theatrical venues.
Cinderella also features a book by Emerald Fennell with lyrics by David Zippel, and starred Carrie Hope Fletcher in the title role and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as the Stepmother. Laurence Connor directed.
A statement from Andrew Lloyd Webber pic.twitter.com/bP8wgq2Nyt
— Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella (@ALWCinderella) July 19, 2021