Andrew Lloyd-Webber comes under fire for sacking Cinderella cast

Actor went on holiday to celebrate landing Cinderella role… then found out he’d been fired via Twitter: Andrew Lloyd-Webber under fire as performers say they were dropped with NO warning and reveal their shock – and loved-ones’ reactions – online

  • The cast of Cinderella have slammed Andrew Lloyd Webber over his move to shut down London musical
  • Lloyd Webber is facing allegations that he announced the decision via social media before telling staff
  • Cast member Summer Strallen claimed she had turned down a ‘big job’ for a role in Cinderella
  • Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella in Covent Garden has suffered Covid-related disruption since the start
  • Are YOU a member of the Cinderella production? Email jack.wright@mailonline.co.uk or tips@dailymail.com 

Actors have blasted Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘callous’ sacking of the entire cast of his beleaguered Cinderella show just minutes after a matinee performance. 

Britain’s theatre industry has condemned the legendary composer, 74, after he announced yesterday that he is closing the West End production of his musical just a year after it officially opened – while boasting about a Broadway run of the show next year.

Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group has admitted that the cast were fired minutes after yesterday’s matinee performance at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London’s Covent Garden.

A chorus of future Cinderella cast members have claimed that they only learned of the show’s cancellation via social media.

Actor Olly Reynolds claimed in an Instagram clip that he had gone on holiday to celebrate joining the cast – only to learn that he had been fired via Twitter. He said: ‘I booked a holiday to celebrate getting this contract, and I’m on holiday and I found out on Twitter that I lost it. Honestly you can’t write it.’

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Email jack.wright@mailonline.co.uk or tips@dailymail.com 

Carrie Hope Fletcher, who is playing the titular role of Cinderella, said she only learned about the show’s cancellation ‘via other cast members’.

Theatre star Summer Strallen said in a long video on Instagram that she had been for a wig fitting for her role as The Queen last Thursday before finding out from a friend on Sunday that the show was being cancelled.

On Twitter, Daisy Blanche Twells described how her hopes had been dashed by yesterday’s announcement, after posting a TikTok video which had showed her excitedly telling her mother that she was joining the cast.

She wrote: ‘Well this is definitely not the way I expected to write this but as most of you may know I was due to be making my West End Debut in the next cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne theatre as Ensemble and 1st cover for Adele and Marie the step sisters.

‘This was a dream come true for me and yesterday it was all taken away in seconds, I and many others In the current and upcoming cast found out through a press release that the show is closing and as you can probably imagine this is the most devastating thing to hear after [I] accepted the contract and having the next year all planned out financially and logistically! 

‘This is something I have wanted and have worked so hard to achieve not only over the last 5 years since graduating but since I was a little girl’.

Luke Latchman, who had also been due to join the show, tweeted: ‘Imagine – planning in your head 100 times what you’re going to say when it’s announced. Telling your friends and family you have something coming and can’t wait to tell them about it. Knowing that career-changing West End lead was coming. Then you see a tweet and it’s all gone.’ 

And Strictly Come Dancing finalist and chef John Whaite expressed his heartbreak at the news as he was due to join the cast in July and take over the role of Prince Charming.

Whaite said in a message on his Instagram Stories: ‘This is heartbreaking news. For me because I was due to take the role of Prince Charming in July, but more so for the current cast, band and production team who have battled through Covid to bring a brilliant new show to the stage.

‘My heart goes out to each and every one of them.

‘I was lucky enough to watch Cinderella in December 2021 and it was one of the most wonderful musicals I’ve seen in a long time. I was so excited to join the cast, it was a lifelong dream come true, but sadly it isn’t to be right now. Who knows what the future will hold – I won’t lose hope.’

In a statement, the Really Useful Group said it had contacted ‘everyone involved’ via ‘call, email or in person’ before the decision was made public.

Government pandemic restrictions meant the show had played at reduced capacity during its previews, at a reported weekly loss of £100,000. 

Cast members Carrie Hope Fletcher, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ivano Turco bow at the curtain call during the press night performance of Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre on August 18, 2021


Cast member Summer Strallen, whose parents Sandy Strallen and Cherida Langford both performed in the original London production of Cats, and whose aunt is Bonnie Langford, claimed in an Instagram video that she had turned down a ‘big job’ for a role in Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella

Actor Olly Reynolds claimed in an Instagram clip that he had gone on holiday to celebrate joining the cast – only to learn that he had been fired via Twitter. He said: ‘I booked a holiday to celebrate getting this contract, and I’m on holiday and I found out on Twitter that I lost it. Honestly you can’t write it’


In a TikTok video, Daisy Blanche Twells films herself riding a train to London as she prepares to join the cast of Cinderella. By the end of the clip, she is weeping on a phone call to her mother after learning that the show has been cancelled

Robert Lindsay tweeted: ‘Shocking and unforgivable from a man who has earned so much from this insecure profession to dismiss those desperate to work by social media. #andrewlloydwebber the business is tough enough as it is’


Carrie Hope Fletcher, who is playing the titular role of Cinderella, appears to have claimed via Twitter that she was only told about the show’s cancellation ‘via other cast members and a member of the music team’. In the post, which appears to have since been deleted, she added: ‘I had no official call from the company to let me know before it was posted online’. In a later tweet, Fletcher said: ‘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 today’s news and by how that news was delivered’

Malala Yousafzai and Lloyd Webber pose with cast members including Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Rebecca Trehearn, Ivano Turco, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Laura Baldwin, Georgina Castle and Giovanni Spano following a special gala performance of Cinderella in support of The Malala Fund at Gillian Lynne Theatre on November 22, 2021

Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella musical has been mired in crisis since its launch during the Covid pandemic. 

The show was originally scheduled for August 2020, but was delayed by the virus outbreak and restrictions which saw British theatres shut.

Previews for the musical eventually began at 50% capacity in June 2021 at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London’s West End, with a view to opening on July 20. 

But just two days before its official opening, Cinderella was postponed yet again after a cast member tested positive for Covid.  Performances resumed with an official opening on August 18.

Then in December, Cinderella was stopped due to ‘Covid-related absences’, alongside London productions of hit musicals Hamilton and The Lion King.

At the time, Lloyd Webber said it is ‘simply heartbreaking’ to see the theatre industry ‘decimated’ by Omicron cancellations, adding ‘no-one in the Government listens’. 

He postponed Cinderella until 2022 ‘to avoid more disruption’ as the number of Covid-19 cases increased across the country. 

Lloyd Webber then announced that productions of Cinderella would end in June 2022, less than 12 months after it opened. 

Though no official reason has been given for the show’s closure, MailOnline understands that it would have been ‘unsustainable’ for the theatre company to have kept it going after it suffered heavy losses – particularly when performances were suspended during the Omicron wave in December and January. 

The Really Useful Group said: ‘Everyone involved in Cinderella was contacted by call, email or in person (some through agents) before the news went live in the evening. Every effort was made to ensure people were notified before it went live, while trying to manage how quickly it would move on social media once people were informed.’ 

Taking to Twitter today, Equity General-Secretary Paul Fleming furiously slammed Lloyd Webber’s so-called ‘callous attack on the dignity of the Cinderella company’ and demanded that all those out of work be compensated.

He added: ‘For @EquityUK members to find out about closure by press release is unacceptable. I’ve written to ALW to express our anger at this callous attack on the dignity of the Cinderella company. We’re in touch with the Deps & will be looking at how to respond. They must be compensated.’

Cinderella has been hit by Covid-related disruption since the start. The show was originally scheduled for August 2020, but was delayed by the initial outbreak. Previews for the musical eventually began at 50% capacity in June last year, with a view to opening on July 20. But just two days before its official opening, it was postponed again after a cast member tested positive for Covid. 

Performances resumed with an official opening on August 18. Then in December, Cinderella was stopped due to ‘Covid-related absences’. 

Last summer, Lloyd Webber – whose musical hits include The Phantom Of The Opera, Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar – memorably declared that he would risk being arrested in order to open for full audiences while virus curbs were in place. 

Condemning the closure, actor Robert Lindsay tweeted: ‘Shocking and unforgivable from a man who has earned so much from this insecure profession to dismiss those desperate to work by social media. #andrewlloydwebber the business is tough enough as it is’.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie star Jordan Cunningham raged: ‘The theatre industry is truly crumbling. Nobody is safe. @OfficialALW @ALWCinderella – disgusting behaviour; your upcoming cast, your current cast and crew finding out through social media; or their agents finding out 2 mins before publication that it’s closing; utterly gross’.

Composer Sam Young thundered: ‘And I’m sorry but how f**king DARE he already brag about a Broadway run when the current and incoming cast of incredible UK talent has barely had a second to process the news’.

The All That Dazzles account tweeted: ‘Cinderella has been one giant s**tshow from before it had even opened. And I’m not talking about how poorly written it was and how the cast worked a miracle to even make it watchable. The way that cast have been treated by ALW time and time again is so awful, it breaks my heart’.

Actress Katie Ramshaw tweeted: ‘Disgusted. A whole new cast waiting for rehearsals and found out they won’t be anymore from social media… I have no words’. 

One social media claimed: ‘This West End Cinderella cancellation is crazy. I mean, whether you enjoyed the show or not, cancelling the remaining dates and not letting the current cast or the new cast know about it is disgusting. Is there no respect for actors in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s team?’.

Another added: ‘But honestly – after the shambles that is how Andrew Lloyd Webber treated everyone involved in Cinderella no one should touch his work. No one should audition for his shows. Theatre creatives deserve so much better, no matter how much you wanna get work, don’t do it’.

The Cinderella premiere took place in August last year, having been scheduled to take place the previous month but delayed due to Covid isolation protocols.

The All That Dazzles account tweeted: ‘Cinderella has been one giant s**tshow from before it had even opened’


Left, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie star Jordan Cunningham raged: ‘The theatre industry is truly crumbling’


One social media claimed: ‘This West End Cinderella cancellation is crazy. I mean, whether you enjoyed the show or not, cancelling the remaining dates and not letting the current cast or the new cast know about it is disgusting. Is there no respect for actors in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s team?’. Another added: ‘But honestly – after the shambles that is how Andrew Lloyd Webber treated everyone involved in Cinderella no one should touch his work. No one should audition for his shows. Theatre creatives deserve so much better, no matter how much you wanna get work, don’t do it’

Actress Katie Ramshaw tweeted: ‘Disgusted. A whole new cast waiting for rehearsals and found out they won’t be anymore from social media… I have no words’

Curtains: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella will close in June, less than one year after its West End premiere 

Cast members including Georgina Castle, director Laurence Connor, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Lloyd Webber, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Laura Baldwin and Caleb Roberts bow at the curtain call during the press night performance of Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre on August 18, 2021 in London 

How Lloyd Webber criticised young cast of his musical Cinderella but DENIED berating the actors over poor reviews 

In November, Lloyd Webber denied allegations that he berated his cast members over poor reviews of the show in The New York Post last year.

However, he criticised the young cast members of his musical Cinderella, saying they must recognise that they work in the ‘service industry’.

The musical theatre legend said in an interview at the time that ‘nobody has a right to be on the stage’ and denied claims he had previously berating them over poor play reviews.  

He told BBC Radio 4: ‘What I was saying to everybody is… the younger cast don’t really realise all the time that we are actually a service industry and nobody has a right to be on the stage.

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

The show opened with an audience capacity of 50% after the impresario rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s offer for the show to be included in the coronavirus live events pilot scheme. Then in December, Cinderella was stopped due to ‘Covid-related absences’, alongside London productions of hit musicals Hamilton and The Lion King.

At the time, Lloyd Webber said it is ‘simply heartbreaking’ to see the theatre industry ‘decimated’ by Omicron cancellations, adding ‘no-one in the Government listens’. 

He postponed Cinderella until 2022 ‘to avoid more disruption’ as the number of Covid-19 cases increased across the country. 

Writing in the Mail in December, Lloyd Webber had said: ‘It has been a terrible few days and it is getting worse. It is simply heartbreaking for me to see our industry decimated by a situation beyond all of our control. 

‘Of course, the entire industry is having the same nightmare – from huge extravaganzas such as Cinderella, with a massive cast and endless costume changes, to small and local theatres, many showing our beloved pantomimes, in city centres up and down the country.

‘Not to mention all the hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars and thousands of others who rely on us to bring people into town and city centres.

‘I am nearly 74 and desperate to get back to writing again. Instead, for the last year and a half, I have been campaigning for the commercial theatre industry.

‘But in the end, I have come to the conclusion that no one in the Government listens. Certainly not the new Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, who has made it abundantly clear that she doesn’t think commercial theatre needs any support.

‘It’s a difficult message for all the industries, jobs and people who are now lurching from day to day to hear from someone who is supposed to be a Tory minister representing the arts.’

In a statement yesterday, Lloyd Webber said: ‘I am incredibly proud of Cinderella. 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 during the pandemic. 

‘Now, I am really excited to get to work putting together a new production with No Guarantees (Christine Schwarzman, President, Darren Johnston, Executive Vice President) for Broadway. Thank you very much to everyone involved, particularly our UK audiences who have loved and supported the show. See you next March on Broadway!’.

The website for the show says anyone who has tickets booked for after June 12 will not lose their money. 

In the frequently asked questions section of the website, under a question about bookings after June 12, it says: ‘If you have booked directly through our website or LW Theatres, you will be contacted shortly to discuss your options, but don’t worry, if you’re unable to make an alternative performance, you will not lose your money.

‘As you can imagine, the box office team are busy rebooking everyone, so please don’t contact them until they’ve contacted you. 

‘If you have booked via a ticket agent, they will be in contact with you in the next few days.’

Written by The Crown star Emerald Fennell and starring Carrie Hope Fletcher, Cinderella is described as a ‘complete reinvention’ of the classic fairytale, and is based on an original idea by Fennell.

Are YOU a member of the Cinderella production? Email jack.wright@mailonline.co.uk or tips@dailymail.com 

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