- Title: Andrew Lloyd Webber closes new 'Cinderella' musical, blaming UK government
- Date: 19th July 2021
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 19, 2021) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF GILLIAN LYNNE THEATRE WITH STAFF WEARING MASKS AND POSTERS OF CINDERELLA SHOW AT ENTRANCE VARIOUS OF JOURNALISTS FILMING (SOUNDBITE) (English) MUSICAL THEATRE IMPRESARIO, ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, SAYING: "Hello. We are just before we start. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for coming. I mean, it's deeply appreciated. And I just wanted to say that, I mean, I've had an awful lot of obviously requests to do interviews today. And I just didn't quite frankly, I don't think I've got the stomach to do a whole load of them. So I just thought perhaps just to do one would be a good thing. And so, so just to kick off, I mean, I think you all know the circumstances in which we've not been able to go ahead tonight. Every single member of the cast has been double tested. None of them are positive. They're all negative, apart from the one person who we didn't allow anyone near the building and the PCR tests that came back from the person in question, all the people who were in contact with the person in question were all negative. And, but I just felt that with the guidelines, as they are at the moment, that we simply couldn't go ahead. And I think one of the, one of the difficulties for us is, is that, you know, with theatre, you know, we we can't carry on like this. We just simply, simply can't, you know, I'm thinking of our audiences, you know, yet again, we've had to say to a whole load of audiences this week, sorry, we can't perform. I mean, it's just no longer viable." (SOUNDBITE) (English) MUSICAL THEATRE IMPRESARIO, ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, SAYING: "What I can't, can't get to grips with is that this government does not seem to understand that theatre is the lifeblood of our cities, every other country in the world seems to have done so. America completely has grasped this. But this, this government doesn't seem to understand. It's not just about even our actors or it's about all of the small people who depend on us. It's the, it's everybody from the taxi drivers to the restaurants to the people who work at dry cleaners, even. You know, it's an endless list. And they don't seem to understand that theatre is a huge revenue earner for the country. And it shows like Les Miserables, Phantom, Lion King, for example, they play all around the world and the revenue comes back into the country in question, but this government does not seem to grasp it. But I would like to just make one plea because I have tried and I have tried and I have tried. I've been treated this government. I have held pilots. We've shown them, we've demonstrated how theatres can be safe. This building in here has got 100 percent fresh air, has got the best ventilation system you could find. We've demonstrated all of this, but I'd like to just make one last plea to them. We can't, we can't go on like this. Theatre is now on its knees. There's no way forward. I have just heard, I'm not going to say which show it is, but one other very, very major show is now not going to be opening on schedule. I mean, this is another big one. I can't say what it is because it's up to them to say. But I've heard tonight and what what I just beg. I just beg them to realise that we have the testing systems, we have everything in place. We have every single thing we could possibly have in place to keep our casts, our backstage crews, our audiences safe and just allow us to get on with our job. I mean, if we if there has been a plea from Equity today to say, let us open again next Monday, but we can't, we cannot function with this, you know, current system, we can't isolate every time somebody may or may not have it. You know, it just simply doesn't work." LLOYD WEBBER SPEAKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) MUSICAL THEATRE IMPRESARIO, ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, SAYING: "Well, I don't know. You have to ask somebody called Boris Johnson, you know, who doesn't seem to, doesn't seem to grasp what are, what we're about in theatre, he doesn't seem to know. I mean, I, I can't answer. All I can say is I've got the most fantastic cast. I am determined to get Cinderella open here. I mean already there are siren voices saying, oh come on, forget Britain, just do it on Broadway and all of that. I mean I'm not going to do that. I can't do that. I'm a Brit and we've got a fantastic cast. And so we will open here. But who knows? 2084, I don't know." (SOUNDBITE) (English) MUSICAL THEATRE IMPRESARIO, ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, SAYING: "Well, I think we I mean, there comes a time, I suppose, where we simply won't be able to go on. There does come a time. I mean, we we really are pretty much at that point now. I'm determined to try and keep it going for as long as we can, I mean, but there does come a point where we can't just literally I mean, we are talking about hundreds of people who were employed and not just directly but indirectly." JOURNALIST: "Do you know when the show will come on?" LLOYD WEBBER: "Well, as I said, we have to ask our beloved prime minister." JOURNALIST: "What's been the reaction that caused him to feel terrible when he can't do anything about it? What's been the reaction from the cast?! LLOYD WEBBER: "Well, the cast are a wonderful bunch. I mean, all I've had just I mean, it's it's almost heartbreaking, really, as I just had, you know, email after email from them and all of us connected with the show just saying, you know, we're with you, Andrew. That's all, I mean. And I mean, we do or feel, you know, we've been we trying to get on a new musical. We're a new musical. We're not, we're not, you know, a revival or something. You know, we've been trying to do that against the, against the odds. And I think they all feel very strongly that they well, they know what they know how much I care. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. But seriously, thank you. Because I don't think I could have done loads and loads." LLOYD WEBBER LEAVING
- Embargoed: 2nd August 2021 21:17
- Keywords: Andrew Lloyd Webber COVID Cinderella Gillian Lynne theatre cast coronavirus production theatre
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment,Europe,Theatre
- Reuters ID: LVA001EMICI13
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS NOTE: PLEASE ALSO SEE EDIT 1203 FOR THEATRE AND LLOYD WEBBER FILE
Musical theater impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber on Monday (July 19) canceled the opening of his new London production of "Cinderella" and said he had no idea when it would go ahead, blaming "impossible conditions" imposed by the British government.
Lloyd Webber said one person in the cast had tested positive for coronavirus, but the rules around quarantine and isolation for the remainder of the actors - all testing negative - meant the show could not open as planned on Tuesday (July 20).
The modern twist on "Cinderella" was a high-profile new musical following the closure of theaters for almost 18 months because of the pandemic.
Lloyd Webber said he had no idea when "Cinderella" might go ahead. "I can't answer," the composer told journalists. "We will open here, but who knows? 2084?"
Lloyd Webber, the creator of hit shows including "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera," is one of the most influential and successful figures in the theater world and had been a key voice urging support for theater during the pandemic.
With music by Lloyd Webber and a story by Oscar-winning screenwriter Emerald Fennell, "Cinderella" had already suffered several delays due to changing restrictions ordered by the British government around quarantine, social distancing, and capacity in indoor entertainment venues.
The government on Monday ended over a year of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in England but the so-called 'Freedom Day' was marred by surging infections, warnings of supermarket shortages and Prime Minister Boris Johnson's own forced self-isolation.
(Production: Steve Hignett, Lisa Keddie, Liliana Ciobanu)
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