A Lion And A Witch And Sam Mendes: Two Shows Lined Up To Replace Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Troubled ‘Cinderella’ In London’s West End

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EXCLUSIVE: Two shows are being lined up to replace Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella musical which closes after a disappointing, short-lived run in London’s West End.

News of Cinderella’s closure became a contentious affair, causing members of the actors union Equity to picket outside the Gillian Lynne Theatre. Cast, crew, musicians and those working backstage were angered with management because many heard about the show’s demise via social media.

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However, no time has been wasted in finding new tenants for the Gillian Lynne. Producers stampeded the place in almost impolite haste.

Tickets for the show that immediately follows Cinderella into the theater in London’s Covent Garden will be on sale by the end of next week.

Deadline has learned that it will be the much trumpeted Elliott & Harper, Catherine Schreiber and Leeds Playhouse production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, adapted from C.S. Lewis’ classic fantasy novel.

It will take up residence at the Gillian Lynne in the second half of July for a six-month season.

Then, sources have told Deadline that The Lehman Trilogy, a National Theatre and Neal Street production directed by Sam Mendes (Skylight), is negotiating a move to the Gillian Lynne for an extended run in 2023.

Art work for tickets for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe are being designed today in readiness for when bookings are launched on Thursday or Friday of next week.

The family show about four siblings – Edmund, Peter, Susan and Lucy – evacuated during WW2 to a country house where, through a wardrobe door, they discover Narnia, the land of external winter under the rule of the villainess White Witch, ended a UK tour in Bristol several days ago.

Marianne Elliott and Chris Harper and their Elliott & Harper production company (responsible for the present Company on Broadway and forthcoming Death of a Salesman) partnered with West Yorkshire-based Leeds Playhouse several years ago to explore how to adapt Lewis’ much-loved novel for the stage.

Initially, Sally Cookson directed a production, full of humans and puppetry, that played Leeds,and the Bridge Theatre on the south side of the River Thames opposite the Tower of London. It also toured extensively. More recently, Michael Fentiman took over direction to make it every more family friendly.

The Lehman Trilogy become a theatrical phenomenon the moment it opened on the National Theatre’s Lyttelton stage to rave notices.

The cast included Simon Russell Beale ,a close friend and frequent collaborator of director Mendes; Adam Godley and Ben Miles. The Lehman Trilogy has played at the National , the Piccadilly Theatre (London) ; a run Off Broadway at the Park Avenue Armory, then a limited season at the Nederlander which ended last January. Adrian Lester took over from Miles.The play received eight Tony award nominations. Beale ,Godley and Lester were cited for their portraits of Lehman siblings and other Lehman family members.

It’s too early to know if any of those thespians will be available for further Lehman Trilogy duty next year.

Mendes is likely to turn to casting matters once he has finished filming new film Empire of Light which stars Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Toby Jones (Infamous), Michael Ward (Top Boy) and Tanya Moodie (Motherland).

The deal for The Lehman Trilogy has not been finalized yet, though Deadline has heard that scenic designer Es Devlin and her team have checked out the Gillian Lynne to ensure that their set will fit.

The Lehman Trilogy was written by novelist and playwright Stefano Massini and adapted by Ben Power.

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