The veteran composer was speaking before the show at the Gillian Lynne Theatre about how it is theatregoers that have carried the industry through what has been an extremely tough and challenging time.
Andrew Lloyd Webber still can’t quite believe that Cinderella has finally opened to the public in the West End despite it taking what seemed to be a very long and winding path which was packed full of pandemic-related postponement to finally get to the opening night on August 18th.
Lloyd- Webber said of the opening night, “I’m still pinching myself, I can’t quite believe we’re here, short of a passing asteroid hitting us, I think it might be possible that we’re going to just possibly have a show tonight.”
Lloyd Webber has been possibly the most prominent vocal advocate for the theatre industry over the past 18 months and has regularly called for government support, championing the vaccine program, and has repeatedly called out regulations that have been affecting those working in the industry. Cinderella was originally scheduled to open on July 19th, which was the colloquially recognised “Freedom Day,” but then had to close due to exposure to Covid-19 which prompted Lloyd-Webber to use his platform to criticize the response to the pandemic from the UK government.
On Wednesday night, however, he extended his immense gratitude to the full house in the auditorium, the very first full capacity audience in the show’s run.
He said of the current situation and the delay to the opening of the show, “I want to say is a big thank you to all of you, audiences all over the country have been frankly messed around and we’ve had to rebook people into other performances, move them— “lift and shift” they call it. …Finally those of you who’ve stayed with us, whose patience has not completely worn thin, you’re all here tonight.”
At the curtain call at the end of the show, Lloyd Webber took a bow alongside director Laurence Connor, book writer Emerald Fennell and the show’s stars Carrie Hope Fletcher and Ivano Turco.
“I’ve seen so many of my friends and colleagues from the theatre from up and down the country just before I came onstage, all of us would like to say thank you to the audiences all around the country who stayed with us and they’ve left their tickets with us,” Lloyd Webber said. “Frankly what audiences have done up and down the country is made all the difference to all of us in theatre to be able to keep going.”
Tickets to Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre are on sale now securely online.