John Whaite was set to play Prince Charming in Cinderella (Photo: Rex)
John Whaite has spoken of his disappointment after it was announced that Cinderella will close before he’s had the chance to make his stage debut in the West End musical.
The former Strictly Come Dancing star was due to join the cast of the Andrew Lloyd Webber production as Prince Charming, however, the show will end next month, less than a year after its premiere.
Cinderella, which has been playing at London’s Gillian Lynne Theatre, has been hit with Covid-19 related disruption since the start, will play its final performance on 12 June.
Responding to the announcement that the musical will close, former Bake Off champ John wrote on Instagram: “This is heartbreaking news for me because I was due to take the role of Prince Charming in July, but more so for the current cast, band and production who have battled through Covid to bring a brilliant new show to the stage.
“My heart goes out to each and every one of them.”
He continued: “I was lucky enough to watch Cinderella in December 2021 and it was one of the most wonderful musicals I’ve seen in a long time.
“I was so excited to join the cast, and it was a lifelong dream come true, but sadly it isn’t to be right now. Who knows what the future will hold – I won’t lose hope.”
John Whaite shared his disappointment on Instagram (Photo: John Whaite/Instagram)
The Cinderella premiere took place in August last year, having been scheduled to debut the previous month but was delayed due to Covid isolation protocols.
The show opened with an audience capacity of 50% after the Lloyd Webber rejected Boris Johnson’s offer for the show to be included in the coronavirus live events pilot scheme.
Then in December, Cinderella was stopped due to “Covid-related absences”, alongside London productions of hit musicals Hamilton and The Lion King.
At the time, Lloyd Webber said it is “simply heartbreaking” to see the theatre industry “decimated” by Omicron cancellations, adding “no-one in the Government listens”.
He postponed Cinderella until 2022 “to avoid more disruption” as the number of Covid-19 cases increased across the country.
Written by The Crown star Emerald Fennell and starring Carrie Hope Fletcher, Cinderella is described as a “complete reinvention” of the classic fairytale, and is based on an original idea by Fennell.
The website for the show says anyone who has tickets booked for after 12 June will not lose their money.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.