Andrew Lloyd Webber booed for calling 'Cinderella' a 'costly mistake'
Andrew Lloyd Webber was booed at the closing night of Cinderella after calling the show a 'costly mistake'.
The 74-year-old musical producer did not join the cast and crew on stage for the final curtain call of the West End musical following his decision to close the show after less than a year, but instead sent a letter which was read aloud by director, Laurence Connor.
Baron Lloyd-Webber's comments read: "I keep thinking if only we had opened three months later, we wouldn't have had to postpone our opening twice because of COVID… I promise you we would have been here for a very long time to come.
Read more: Andrew Lloyd Webber says it's 'heartbreaking' to see theatres 'decimated' by pandemic
"My huge thanks to everyone. We kept the government's feet to the flames and led the charge to the West End opening again.
Watch: Lloyd Webber's Cinderella had struggled to keep open during the COVID Omicron spike
"It might have been a costly mistake, but I am proud of what we did and will forever be grateful to everyone who supported me."
The 'mistake' comment was met by resounding boos from the audience.
One theatre goer told Yahoo UK: "The boos were clearly audible from about half the audience but the director quickly shut them down and moved on.
"Many of the cast had tears in their eyes, they had clearly worked so hard. It was an amazing performance."
Cinderella, starring Carrie Hope Fletcher, is a modern retelling of the classic fairy story set to music.
When Lloyd Webber announced in May he was closing the show at Covent Garden's Gillian Lynne Theatre in London ahead of schedule, actors union Equity organised protests outside the venue.
The show is reportedly due to be completely revamped before it reopens on Broadway next year.
The production opened with preview shows on 25 June 2021, under COVID restrictions and with many early performances affected due to coronavirus outbreaks.
Lloyd Webber - who was vocal throughout the pandemic about its impact on the theatre and entertainment industry - had fought hard to open the show, including joining a legal bid against the government in relation to social distancing restrictions at live events.
His Really Useful Group said it was losing up to £6m a week in box office sales during the pandemic.
Lloyd Webber even offered his theatres for trial of a chemical spray called triethylene glycol (TEG) that could be pumped into indoor venues to help sanitise them.
Read more: Phantom Of The Opera to close permanently in West End after 34 years due to coronavirus
The musical impresario signed up to the early stages of the vaccine trial and was vaccinated against COVID with the AstraZeneca vaccine in August 2020.