A spokesperson has defended Andrew Lloyd Webber from criticism and denied rumours that the cancellation of his musicalCinderella was announced moments before the cast went onstage.
On Tuesday 2 May, it was announced that the West End production would close at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London’s Covent Garden in June – less than a year after its official opening.
Early reports claimed that the current cast members were notified of the cancellation minutes before the show, with other future cast members claiming they only found out via social media.
In a statement provided to The Independent, a representative for Lloyd Webber denied these reports, saying: “The timeline being reported online is not correct. The entire company working yesterday were told in person after the matinee performance.
“There was no evening performance so this was not before a show last night. At the same time as the company were told, everyone not present was called or emailed by the wider RUG team. Every effort was made to ensure that the message was distributed as widely as possibly as quickly as possible but clearly we had to move quickly as news was getting out on social media.”
Since the news broke, other actors have joined the Cinderella cast in expressing their anger and disapproval on Twitter.
“The theatre industry is truly crumbling. Nobody is safe,” wrote Everybody’s Talking About Jamie star Jordan Cunningham. “@OfficialALW @ALWCinderella - disgusting behaviour; your upcoming cast, your current cast and crew finding out through social media; or their agents finding out 2 mins before publication that it’s closing ; utterly gross.”
I don’t think I have the words. And if I did I would probably be advised not to say them. Sending love to all impacted by todays news and by how that news was delivered. 💔
— Carrie Hope Fletcher (@CarrieHFletcher) May 1, 2022
British actor Robert Lindsay added: “#Cinderella shocking and unforgivable from a man who has earned so much from this insecure profession to dismiss those desperate to work by social media. #andrewlloydwebber the business is tough enough as it is.”
Carrie Hope Fletcher, who plays the musical’s titular character, tweeted: “I don’t think I have the words. And if I did I would probably be advised not to say them. Sending love to all impacted by today’s news and by how that news was delivered.”
“And I’m sorry but how f***ing DARE he already brag about a Broadway run when the current and incoming cast of incredible UK talent has barely had a second to process the news,” said composer Sam Young, alluding to Webber’s recent statement regarding the musical’s future on Broadway.
In a statement released Sunday (1 May), Webber wrote: “I am incredibly proud of Cinderella. Not only did it get some of the best reviews of my career, but we led the charge to reopen the West End, ensuring that theatre and live entertainment remained relevant and in the news.
“While mounting a new show in the midst of Covid has been an unbelievable challenge, we held the government’s feet to the flames throughout their changes of heart during the pandemic.”
He concluded: “Thank you very much to everyone involved, particularly our UK audiences who have loved and supported the show. See you next March on Broadway!”
Read The Independent’s full review of Cinderella here.