Andrew Lloyd Webber ‘sacked Cinderella cast by social media’

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The cast who performed Sunday’s matinee of Cinderella at London’s Gillian Lynne Theatre was told of its closure after the show. But those who didn’t take part that day, including the main “Cinderella”, Carrie Hope Fletcher, said they only found out through friends and social media.

Carrie wrote on Instagram: “I was only informed via other cast members and a member of the music team. I had no official call from the company to let me know before it was posted online.”

Lord Lloyd-Webber’s statement said of his show: “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.”

He then announced: “Now I am really excited to get to work putting together a new production with (production company) No Guarantees for Broadway. Thank you very much to everyone involved (in Cinderella), particularly our UK audiences who have loved and supported the show. See you next March on Broadway.”

Actors who had been about to take over as the new cast of Cinderella, written by The Crown star Emerald Fennell, also said they only found out via third parties.

Summer Strallen said in a video on Instagram that she’d recently had a wig fitting for her new role as the Queen but discovered the musical had been axed when a friend sent her an online article on Sunday.

Theatre producer and writer James Graham tweeted: “When your show became the face of ‘reopening’. When you are entirely in control of the announcement about it closing, definitely make sure the people employed hear first. Definitely don’t write an article days before you tell them for the trade mag. Definitely call your actors.”

Strictly Come Dancing finalist and chef John Whaite also expressed his heartbreak, as he was due to take over as Prince Charming in July.

He said: “I was so excited to join the cast, it was a lifelong dream come true, but sadly it isn’t to be right now.”

A statement from Lord Lloyd-Webber’s theatre group yesterday said: “The timeline being reported online is not correct. The entire company working [on Sunday] were told in person after the matinee. At the same time, everyone not present was called or emailed by the RUG (Really Useful Group).”

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