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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cinderella’ delayed on the West End due to COVID-19

An older man posing in a black suit and purple tie
Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber attends the 2019 premiere of “Cats” in New York.
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Emerald Fennell’s “Cinderella” has come to a temporary close before it even had a chance to open on London’s West End.

On Monday, the prolific composer announced that his version of the timeless musical will not be moving forward, citing “impossible conditions created by the blunt instrument that is the Government’s isolation guidance” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The show has not been entirely scrapped, however. A representative for Lloyd Webber later clarified to the New York Times that the opening of “Cinderella” had simply been delayed and will hopefully happen “soon, but it’s very difficult under the current conditions.”

The highly anticipated production was officially set to premiere Tuesday after about a month of previews at the Gillian Lynne Theatre held at half capacity, according to Playbill.

Lloyd Webber’s announcement came shortly after the United Kingdom lifted the majority of its coronavirus restrictions — prompting widespread “Freedom Day” celebrations and concerning scientists who have been tracking the country’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

“Today, on this ‘Freedom Day,’ I have been forced to take the heart-breaking decision not to open my Cinderella,” Lloyd Webber wrote in a statement.

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“We have been forced into a devastating decision which will affect the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of people and disappoint the thousands who have booked to see the show.”

On social media, Webber revealed that production on “Cinderella” temporarily shut down over the weekend, canceling its Saturday performances after a cast member with “a cameo role in the show” tested positive for COVID-19. Everyone else involved in the musical later tested negative for the respiratory illness, he said.

“Cinderella was ready to go,” Webber’s statement continued Monday. “My sadness for our cast and crew, our loyal audience and the industry I have been fighting for is impossible to put into words. Freedom Day has turned into closure day.”

Of all the concerts on social media for COVID-19 captives at home, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s was the one to bring tears. Even the dog seemed to approve.

Scripted by Fennell — Oscar-winning screenwriter and director of 2020’s “Promising Young Woman” — the West End’s modern take on the classic fairy tale would have starred Carrie Hope Fletcher, Ivano Turco, Rebecca Trehearn, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Georgina Castle, Laura Baldwin, Gloria Onitiri and Caleb Roberts.

Other productions slated to open soon on the West End, according to Playbill, include “The Mousetrap,” “The Prince of Egypt” and Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Updates

2:33 p.m. July 20, 2021: This post was updated with additional information about how long the closure might last.


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