The London premiere of the new Cinderella musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Zippel, and Emerald Fennell will begin previews as scheduled June 25 at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, though despite initial plans, at 50 percent capacity. Lloyd Webber confirmed the news June 18 in a Twitter statement below.
The composer announced last week that he would rather face legal battle (or arrest, even) than begin Cinderella with anything less than 100 percent capacity, but Lloyd Webber has agreed to follow the U.K. government’s COVID-19 restrictions, which have recently pushed back Step 4 of the country's reopening roadmap to July.
“It would be very likely that every member of my cast, crew, and orchestra, the front and back stage staff, plus our loyal audience members, could be individually fined £500, which I couldn’t possibly risk,” he says. “If it were just me, I would happily risk arrest and fines to make a stand and lead the live music and theatre industry back to the full capacities that we so desperately need.”
Lloyd Webber also confirmed that he will not take part in the latest pilot program to reopen theatres, as was implied by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the time of the delay announcement. "I have made it crystal clear that I would only be able to participate if others were involved and the rest of the industry—theatre and music—were treated equally," the composer wrote. "This has not been confirmed to me."
As previously announced, the contemporary take on the fairy tale stars Carrie Hope Fletcher in the title role. Joining her are Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as the Stepmother, Ivano Turco as Prince Sebastian, Rebecca Trehearn as The Queen, Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin (Waitress) as Cinderella’s stepsisters, and Gloria Onitiri as The Godmother.
Cinderella features an updated story and book by Oscar-winning screenwriter Fennell, with music by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Zippel. Also attached to the project are director Laurence Connor, choreographer JoAnn Hunter, set and costume designer Gabriela Tylesova, sound designer Gareth Owen, lighting designer Bruno Poet, and co-musical supervisor John Rigby.