Andrew Lloyd Webber booed during Cinderella West End closing night
Andrew Lloyd Webber was booed at the closing night of Cinderella in the West End, as he said opening the show during the pandemic had been “a costly mistake”.
The impresario did not attend the performance in person but sent a letter, which was read out on stage at the curtain call.
The production has closed early - a decision that also proved controversial, as some actors due to take up roles in the production only discovered the news after reading about it online.
Cinderella opened at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in August last year after several Covid-related delays. It was forced to close again over Christmas as Covid figures rose.
In his letter, which was met with boos from the auditorium, Lord Lloyd Webber began by thanking the team for bringing the show “brilliantly to life”. He was “hugely sorry not to be able to be with you today”.
The letter went on: “I once wrote a song with the late great Jim Steinman called If Only.
“I keep thinking, if only we had opened three months later we wouldn't have had to postpone our opening twice because of Covid. If only we hadn't had to close for a month over Christmas and New Year, once again thanks to Covid.
“And if only we had had a crumb of help from the Recovery Fund, I promise you we would have been here for a very long while to come.
“Anyway, my huge thanks to everyone. We kept the Government's feet to the flame and led the charge to get the West End open again.
“It might have been a costly mistake, but I am proud that we did and proud of everyone who supported me. Cinderella got some of the best reviews of my career. I am immensely proud of it and it's hugely due to you.
“All my love, Andrew."
A spokesperson for Lord Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group said: “The reference to a ‘costly mistake’ was never - and never would be - about the production.
“It related to the early opening of the show and the myriad challenges faced because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which the full text makes clear.
“As Andrew said in the letter, he is immensely proud of the show and that is hugely due to everyone involved.”