Video shows moment when Andrew Lloyd Webber was booed at Cinderella

June 14, 2022

Moment Andrew Lloyd Webber was BOOED by the audience and cast at curtain call of final Cinderella show as his letter calling the production a ‘costly mistake’ was read out by director

  • The impresario, 74, did not attend the closing show at the Gillian Lynne Theatre
  • Instead, the director appeared on stage to deliver a message from the composer
  • After a backlash at the content of the letter, Lloyd Webber issued a statement

A video has emerged of Andrew Lloyd Webber being booed while a letter was read out on his behalf during the final performance of Cinderella.

The theatre impresario, 74, did not attend the closing show at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London’s West End on Sunday.

Instead, director Laurence Connor appeared on stage alongside the cast to deliver a message from the composer about its premature end – and was roundly booed.

After a backlash at the letter’s content, specifically where he made reference to a ‘costly mistake’, Lloyd Webber said he was ‘devastated’ at a perceived misinterpretation.

It comes after he was criticised last month when the show’s cast and crew were gathered for a meeting at which they were told that the show was going to close after racking up ‘unsustainable’ losses. 

Now, he has issued a statement saying: ‘I am devastated to have been reported to have said that my beloved production of Cinderella was a “costly mistake”.

‘Nothing could be further from the truth, and I am very sorry if my words have been misunderstood.

‘I adore this production and I am incredibly, incredibly proud of Cinderella and everyone who has been involved in our show.

‘We were desperate to support the West End after 2 years of a devastating pandemic and the mistake we made was trying to open too early, meaning we had to postpone twice.

‘Everything we did was to try and support the West End and get everyone back to work after the worst period in our history.

‘For now, I want to say thank you to everyone involved in Cinderella for all you have done. ‘With love today and always, Andrew Lloyd Webber.’

Andrew Lloyd Webber has said he is ‘devastated’ at the misinterpretation of his ‘costly mistake’ comment in a letter read out during the final performance of Cinderella

The statement followed a comment from a spokeswoman for his company The Really Useful Group, who also said the reference did not refer to the production itself.

She said: ‘The reference to a “costly mistake” was never, and would never be, about the production.

‘It related to the early opening of the show and the myriad challenges faced because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which the full text makes clear.

‘As Andrew said in the letter, he is immensely proud of the show and that is hugely due to everyone involved.’

Last month, Lloyd Webber announced Cinderella would be closing, less than a year after it premiered.

In the letter, read out to the audience at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, he said: ‘I am hugely sorry not to be able to be with you today.

‘But I want to thank everyone, our fabulous cast, crew and musicians, the superb creative team, Laurence, JoAnn, Emerald, David and Bruno to mention just a few, and everyone who works in Really Useful and the Gillie for bringing Belleville brilliantly to life.

‘I once wrote a song with the late great Jim Steinman called If Only.

‘I keep thinking, if only we had opened three months later we wouldn’t have had to postpone our opening twice because of Covid. 

‘If only we hadn’t had to close for a month over Christmas and New Year, once again thanks to Covid.

The theatre impresario, 74, did not attend the closing show at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London’s West End on Sunday. Pictured: (L to R) Cast members Carrie Hope Fletcher, Lloyd Webber and Ivano Turco bow at the curtain call

‘And if only we had had a crumb of help from the Recovery Fund, I promise you we would have been here for a very long while to come.

‘Anyway, my huge thanks to everyone. We kept the government’s feet to the flame and lead the charge to get the West End open again.

‘It might have been a costly mistake, but I am proud that we did and proud of everyone who supported me. Cinderella got some of the best reviews of my career.

‘I am immensely proud of it and it’s hugely due to you. All my love, Andrew.’

The show’s premiere took place in August last year, having been scheduled for the previous month but delayed due to Covid isolation protocols.

Instead, director Laurence Connor appeared on stage alongside the cast to deliver a message from the composer about the production’s premature end

Cinderella, played by Carrie Hope Fletcher, opened in June with an audience capacity of 50 per cent.

The following month the theatre maestro was forced to close hours before the world premiere after a member of the cast tested positive for Covid.

Performances were then suspended from late December to early February as Omicron decimated the West End.

‘When we had to cancel Cinderella in July we lost overnight £700,000, and the fact of the matter is, whatever the government thinks, if this all happened again certainly we would go under,’ he told The Stage.

‘Government simply didn’t listen. We would not be able to continue – the theatres would have to go. I have already had to sell one of our theatres, the Other Palace.’

Lord Lloyd-Webber previously revealed he lost more than £1 million a month while his theatres were closed and had to remortgage a home to help cover the costs.

Miss Fletcher, 29, said it was an ‘honour and a privilege’ to star in the production, and told fans: ‘It’s been a ball.’

Cinderella opened last August with 50 per cent capacity  after a series of delays due to Covid. By December, performances were halted due to ‘Covid-related absences’

‘The last three years on this project have had many highs and lows but overall I’m glad to have stood in Cinderella’s glass slippers (and fun fact…her Kurt Giegers…NOT Doc Martens),’ she wrote on Instagram.

‘Everyone in the Gillian Lynne from cast to crew to lighting to sound to wardrobe to dressers to wigs to stage management to front of house…coming to work has been an honour and a privilege.

‘Thank you to everyone who has supported this show and this company from beginning to end. It had meant the world to each and every one of us. Bye, Cinders. It’s been a ball.’

Written by Emerald Fennell and starring Miss Fletcher, Cinderella is described as a ‘complete reinvention’ of the classic fairytale.

In a statement Lord Lloyd Webber said a new production of Cinderella would open on Broadway next year.

It came months after he accused young cast members of not recognising that they work in the ‘service industry’.

‘The younger cast don’t really realise all the time [that] we are a service industry, and nobody has a right to be on the stage,’ he told Samira Ahmed on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row.

‘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 is what we have to do and the cast we’ve got at Cinderella are really wonderful and are well capable of doing that. But this has been wildly exaggerated.’

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