Following the cancellation of weekend performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella at London’s Gillian Lynne Theatre, due to one member of the company testing positive for Covid-19, the composer has announced today that the opening night and gala evening (19 and 20 July 2021) will also not go ahead.
In a solemn statement Lloyd Webber commented that “Freedom Day has turned into closure day” and voiced his frustration that the situation had come about because of “the blunt instrument that is the Government’s isolation guidance”.
The full statement is as follows:
“Today, on this “Freedom Day”, I have been forced to take the heart-breaking decision not to open my Cinderella.
“At Cinderella, from the outset, we have employed a rigorous testing system for all the cast and backstage crew before they begin work. On Saturday, as part of this process, we identified one positive case in a member of our cast who has a cameo role in the show. As a precautionary measure, we cancelled two shows on Saturday while we carried out further tests on everyone backstage, which were negative. Any of those who were identified as a close contact of the positive case were given additional PCR tests. These tests too were negative. This morning we carried out additional tests on those due to perform tonight. Every one of them was negative.
“Despite this, the impossible conditions created by the blunt instrument that is the Government’s isolation guidance, mean that we cannot continue. 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.
“Cinderella was ready to go. 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.”
Cinderella features music by Lloyd Webber, a book by Academy Award-winning Emerald Fennell and lyrics from David Zippel.
Leading the cast is Carrie Hope Fletcher in the title role, Ivano Turco (Prince Sebastian, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (The Stepmother), Rebecca Trehearn (The Queen), Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin (Cinderella’s stepsisters Marie and Adele, Gloria Onitiri (The Godmother) and Caleb Roberts (Prince Charming).
The full company also includes Michael Afemaré, Lydia Bannister, Michelle Bishop, William Bozier, Lauren Byrne, Sophie Camble, Tobias Charles, Vinny Coyle, Nicole Deon, Jonathan David Dudley, Dominic Adam Griffin, Michael Hamway, James Lee Harris, Leah Harris, Kate Ivory Jordan, Kelsie-Rae Marshall, Georgina Onuorah (who will play the role of Cinderella at certain performances), Andy Rees, Alexandra Waite Roberts, Sam Robinson, Giovanni Spano, Lauren Stroud, Georgia Tapp and Matthieu Vinetot.
The production reunites Lloyd Webber with director Laurence Connor and choreographer JoAnn M Hunter, who previously worked on the Olivier Award-winning international hit School of Rock and the recent, sold-out production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium, which returned to the venue this summer.
The creative team also includes designer Gabriela Tylesova, sound designer Gareth Owen, lighting designer Bruno Poet and co-musical supervisor John Rigby.