The cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End run of Cinderella have told of their dismay at finding out the show was coming to an end just minutes after a performance – with many having found out via social media.
The show will now end on 12th June, drawing curtains on a production after less than a year. Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group said they had tried to “ensure that the message was distributed as widely as possible as quickly as possible”.
However, the cast were told of the news on Sunday following a matinee performance in which some members were not present, including the show’s star, Carrie Hope Fletcher.
“I wasn’t in the show today and I was only informed via other cast members and a member of the music team,” Fletcher explained via her Instagram. “I had no official call from the company to let me know before it was posted online.”
What’s more, a new cast were set to be welcomed in the forthcoming weeks – many of which have said they were not told of the decision either. Actress Summer Strallen, for instance, was set to take up the role of The Queen, only to be found out of the show’s cancellation after receiving an article from a friend. Strallen took to Instagram Live to explain the ordeal.
In a statement, the Really Useful Group – which deals with all the production and rights for the show – said “the entire company working were told in person after the matinee performance. There was no evening performance so this was not before a show last night.
“At the same time as the company were told, everyone not present was called or emailed by the wider RUG team. Every effort was made to ensure that the message was distributed as widely as possible as quickly as possible but clearly we had to move quickly as news was getting out on social media.”
Many have pointed out, however, that people would not have been checking their emails on the Sunday of a bank holiday.
I don’t think I have the words. And if I did I would probably be advised not to say them. Sending love to all impacted by todays news and by how that news was delivered. 💔
— Carrie Hope Fletcher (@CarrieHFletcher) May 1, 2022
No one. NO ONE should find out a job is no longer going ahead on social media. END. OF
— Alice Fearn (@alice_fearn) May 1, 2022
There has also been widespread criticism from others in the acting world over the way in which the cast were informed. Alice Fearn, for instance, a current star of the West End Show Come From Away, tweeted to say: “No one, NO ONE should find out a job is no longer going ahead on social media.”
Playwright James Graham, meanwhile, added: “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.”
The show had initially gained attention when it first opened after Lloyd Webber said he was prepared to be arrested if authorities had tried to intervene with the show going ahead, in light of coronavirus regulations.
Lloyd Webber hasn’t yet personally commented on the way the cast were told, but has said he is “incredibly proud of Cinderella”, adding “we led the charge to reopen the West End, ensuring that theatre and live entertainment remained relevant and in the news.”
He also said the show would now be revamped ahead of a Broadway transfer in March 2023. So that’ll be of little comfort to the now redundant cast of the West End show after 12th June.