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Britain’s theatre industry has reacted with uproar at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘disgusting’ decision to shut down his Cinderella musical next month, as the West End legend faces allegations that he announced the cancellation via social media before telling his staff.

Cast members and West End veterans took to social media last night to rail against Lloyd Webber after he announced that the musical – which is being staged at the Gillian Lynne Theatre and has suffered Covid-related disruption since the start – will play its final performance on June 12.

Last July, Lloyd Webber – who has scored a string of musical hits includes The Phantom Of The Opera, Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar – said he was determined to open ‘his’ Cinderella in London, and had at that stage ignored ‘siren voices’ suggesting he moves it to Broadway.

However, reports indicate that he intends to ‘put together a new production with [production company] No Guarantees for Broadway.’ Broadway previews for the show will begin in February next year, ahead of a March opening. 

Lloyd Webber is now facing claims that he announced the decision to scrap the London production less than a year after it opened without telling his staff.

Cast member Summer Strallen, whose parents Sandy Strallen and Cherida Langford both performed in the original London production of Cats, and whose aunt is Bonnie Langford, claimed in an Instagram video that she had turned down a ‘big job’ for a role in Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella.

Carrie Hope Fletcher, who is playing the titular role of Cinderella, appears to have claimed via Twitter that she was only told about the show’s cancellation ‘via other cast members and a member of the music team’. In the post, which appears to have since been deleted, she added: ‘I had no official call from the company to let me know before it was posted online’. 

In a later tweet, Fletcher said: ‘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’. 

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie star Jordan Cunningham raged: ‘The theatre industry is truly crumbling. Nobody is safe. @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’.

Composer Sam Young thundered: ‘And I’m sorry but how f**king 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’. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber attends a special gala performance of Cinderella at Gillian Lynne Theatre on November 22, 2021

Andrew Lloyd Webber attends a special gala performance of Cinderella at Gillian Lynne Theatre on November 22, 2021

Andrew Lloyd Webber attends a special gala performance of Cinderella at Gillian Lynne Theatre on November 22, 2021

Cast members including Georgina Castle, director Laurence Connor, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Lloyd Webber, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Laura Baldwin and Caleb Roberts bow at the curtain call during the press night performance of Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre on August 18, 2021 in London

Cast members including Georgina Castle, director Laurence Connor, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Lloyd Webber, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Laura Baldwin and Caleb Roberts bow at the curtain call during the press night performance of Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre on August 18, 2021 in London

Cast members including Georgina Castle, director Laurence Connor, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Lloyd Webber, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Laura Baldwin and Caleb Roberts bow at the curtain call during the press night performance of Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre on August 18, 2021 in London 

Cast member Summer Strallen, whose parents Sandy Strallen and Cherida Langford both performed in the original London production of Cats, and whose aunt is Bonnie Langford, claimed in an Instagram video that she had turned down a 'big job' for a role in Lloyd Webber's Cinderella

Cast member Summer Strallen, whose parents Sandy Strallen and Cherida Langford both performed in the original London production of Cats, and whose aunt is Bonnie Langford, claimed in an Instagram video that she had turned down a 'big job' for a role in Lloyd Webber's Cinderella

Cast member Summer Strallen, whose parents Sandy Strallen and Cherida Langford both performed in the original London production of Cats, and whose aunt is Bonnie Langford, claimed in an Instagram video that she had turned down a 'big job' for a role in Lloyd Webber's Cinderella

Cast member Summer Strallen, whose parents Sandy Strallen and Cherida Langford both performed in the original London production of Cats, and whose aunt is Bonnie Langford, claimed in an Instagram video that she had turned down a 'big job' for a role in Lloyd Webber's Cinderella

Cast member Summer Strallen, whose parents Sandy Strallen and Cherida Langford both performed in the original London production of Cats, and whose aunt is Bonnie Langford, claimed in an Instagram video that she had turned down a ‘big job’ for a role in Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella

Carrie Hope Fletcher, who is playing the titular role of Cinderella, appears to have claimed via Twitter that she was only told about the show's cancellation 'via other cast members and a member of the music team'

Carrie Hope Fletcher, who is playing the titular role of Cinderella, appears to have claimed via Twitter that she was only told about the show's cancellation 'via other cast members and a member of the music team'

In a later tweet, Fletcher said: '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'

In a later tweet, Fletcher said: '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'

Carrie Hope Fletcher, who is playing the titular role of Cinderella, appears to have claimed via Twitter that she was only told about the show’s cancellation ‘via other cast members and a member of the music team’. In the post, which appears to have since been deleted, she added: ‘I had no official call from the company to let me know before it was posted online’. In a later tweet, Fletcher said: ‘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’

Everybody's Talking About Jamie star Jordan Cunningham raged: 'The theatre industry is truly crumbling'

Everybody's Talking About Jamie star Jordan Cunningham raged: 'The theatre industry is truly crumbling'

The All That Dazzles account tweeted: 'Cinderella has been one giant s**tshow from before it had even opened'

The All That Dazzles account tweeted: 'Cinderella has been one giant s**tshow from before it had even opened'

Left, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie star Jordan Cunningham raged: ‘The theatre industry is truly crumbling’

The All That Dazzles account tweeted: 'Cinderella has been one giant s**tshow from before it had even opened'

The All That Dazzles account tweeted: 'Cinderella has been one giant s**tshow from before it had even opened'

The All That Dazzles account tweeted: ‘Cinderella has been one giant s**tshow from before it had even opened’

Andrew Lloyd Webber criticizes young cast of his musical Cinderella but DENIES berating the actors over poor reviews 

Andrew Lloyd Webber has criticised the young cast members of his musical Cinderella, saying they must recognise that they work in the ‘service industry’.

The musical theatre legend said in an interview in November last year that ‘nobody has a right to be on the stage’ and denied claims he had previously berating them over poor play reviews.  

He told BBC Radio 4: ‘What I was saying to everybody is… the younger cast don’t really realise all the time that we are actually a service industry and nobody has a right to be on the stage.

‘I don’t have a right to have my musicals in the theatre. What we have to do is try to give the best performances possible. 

‘All I was saying is that that’s what we have to do and the cast we’ve got at Cinderella are a really, really wonderful cast who are well capable of doing that. But this has been wildly exaggerated.’

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The All That Dazzles account tweeted: ‘Cinderella has been one giant s**tshow from before it had even opened. And I’m not talking about how poorly written it was and how the cast worked a miracle to even make it watchable. The way that cast have been treated by ALW time and time again is so awful, it breaks my heart’.

Actress Katie Ramshaw tweeted: ‘Disgusted. A whole new cast waiting for rehearsals and found out they won’t be anymore from social media… I have no words’. 

One social media claimed: ‘This West End Cinderella cancellation is crazy. I mean, whether you enjoyed the show or not, cancelling the remaining dates and not letting the current cast or the new cast know about it is disgusting. Is there no respect for actors in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s team?’.

Another added: ‘But honestly – after the shambles that is how Andrew Lloyd Webber treated everyone involved in Cinderella no one should touch his work. No one should audition for his shows. Theatre creatives deserve so much better, no matter how much you wanna get work, don’t do it’.

MailOnline has approached representatives for Lloyd Webber for comment. 

The Cinderella premiere took place in August last year, having been scheduled to take place the previous month but delayed due to Covid isolation protocols.

The show opened with an audience capacity of 50% after the impresario rejected Prime Minister 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. 

Writing in the Mail in December, Lloyd Webber had said: ‘It has been a terrible few days and it is getting worse. It is simply heartbreaking for me to see our industry decimated by a situation beyond all of our control. 

‘Of course, the entire industry is having the same nightmare – from huge extravaganzas such as Cinderella, with a massive cast and endless costume changes, to small and local theatres, many showing our beloved pantomimes, in city centres up and down the country.

‘Not to mention all the hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars and thousands of others who rely on us to bring people into town and city centres.

‘I am nearly 74 and desperate to get back to writing again. Instead, for the last year and a half, I have been campaigning for the commercial theatre industry.

‘But in the end, I have come to the conclusion that no one in the Government listens. Certainly not the new Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, who has made it abundantly clear that she doesn’t think commercial theatre needs any support.

‘It’s a difficult message for all the industries, jobs and people who are now lurching from day to day to hear from someone who is supposed to be a Tory minister representing the arts.’

One social media claimed: 'This West End Cinderella cancellation is crazy. I mean, whether you enjoyed the show or not, cancelling the remaining dates and not letting the current cast or the new cast know about it is disgusting. Is there no respect for actors in Andrew Lloyd Webber's team?'

One social media claimed: 'This West End Cinderella cancellation is crazy. I mean, whether you enjoyed the show or not, cancelling the remaining dates and not letting the current cast or the new cast know about it is disgusting. Is there no respect for actors in Andrew Lloyd Webber's team?'

Another added: 'But honestly - after the shambles that is how Andrew Lloyd Webber treated everyone involved in Cinderella no one should touch his work. No one should audition for his shows. Theatre creatives deserve so much better, no matter how much you wanna get work, don't do it'

Another added: 'But honestly - after the shambles that is how Andrew Lloyd Webber treated everyone involved in Cinderella no one should touch his work. No one should audition for his shows. Theatre creatives deserve so much better, no matter how much you wanna get work, don't do it'

One social media claimed: ‘This West End Cinderella cancellation is crazy. I mean, whether you enjoyed the show or not, cancelling the remaining dates and not letting the current cast or the new cast know about it is disgusting. Is there no respect for actors in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s team?’. Another added: ‘But honestly – after the shambles that is how Andrew Lloyd Webber treated everyone involved in Cinderella no one should touch his work. No one should audition for his shows. Theatre creatives deserve so much better, no matter how much you wanna get work, don’t do it’

Actress Katie Ramshaw tweeted: 'Disgusted. A whole new cast waiting for rehearsals and found out they won't be anymore from social media... I have no words'

Actress Katie Ramshaw tweeted: 'Disgusted. A whole new cast waiting for rehearsals and found out they won't be anymore from social media... I have no words'

Actress Katie Ramshaw tweeted: ‘Disgusted. A whole new cast waiting for rehearsals and found out they won’t be anymore from social media… I have no words’

Curtains: Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella will close in June, less than one year after its West End premiere

Curtains: Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella will close in June, less than one year after its West End premiere

Curtains: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella will close in June, less than one year after its West End premiere 

In a statement yesterday, Lloyd Webber said: ‘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. 

‘Now, I am really excited to get to work putting together a new production with No Guarantees (Christine Schwarzman, President, Darren Johnston, Executive Vice President) for Broadway. Thank you very much to everyone involved, particularly our UK audiences who have loved and supported the show. See you next March on Broadway!’.

The website for the show says anyone who has tickets booked for after June 12 will not lose their money. 

In the frequently asked questions section of the website, under a question about bookings after June 12, it says: ‘If you have booked directly through our website or LW Theatres, you will be contacted shortly to discuss your options, but don’t worry, if you’re unable to make an alternative performance, you will not lose your money.

‘As you can imagine, the box office team are busy rebooking everyone, so please don’t contact them until they’ve contacted you. 

‘If you have booked via a ticket agent, they will be in contact with you in the next few days.’

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.

Source: Daily Mail

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