A letter from Andrew Lloyd Webber, read on stage on Cinderella’s closing night, suggested opening his new musical during the pandemic “could have been a costly mistake”.
The musical ended its run at London’s Gillian Lynne Theater on Saturday after heavy criticism of how some of its cast learned of its closure on social media. Boos could be heard from the audience as Lord Lloyd-Webber’s letter was read by the show’s director, Laurence Connor. In the letter, the composer praised a “fabulous cast, crew and musicians” and “the superb creative team” and repeated his earlier claim that he had “kept the government’s feet on the flame” during the Covid crisis in which the theater industry has weathered closures, restricted capacities and severe financial difficulties.
The letter continued: ‘I keep thinking, if only we had opened three months later, we wouldn’t have had to postpone our opening twice because of Covid. Wish we hadn’t had to close for a month over Christmas and New Years, again thanks to Covid. And if only we had a crumb of help from [the government’s culture recovery fund]I promise you we would be here a very long time.
Near the end, Lloyd Webber’s letter read, “It could have been a costly mistake, but I’m proud we did it.” [it] and proud of everyone who supported me. After significant criticism at the suggestion that the show was a “costly mistake”, a spokesperson for the composer’s Really Useful Group said the phrase was “never intended to relate to the production itself, more to the myriad challenges the production has faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which the full text of the letter makes clear.”
In an Instagram post, Cinderella star Carrie Hope Fletcher said that in her three years on the project, from the first workshop to the final show, there had been “a lot of ups and downs, but in Overall, I’m glad I participated Cinderella’s glass slippers … It was a ball.
A new production of Cinderella is due to open on Broadway in 2023. The Gillian Lynne Theater will next present a production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobewho toured the UK.
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.
1June 2, 2022
Final performance at the Gillian Lynne Theatre.