On Sunday (1 May), it was announced that Lloyd Webber and Emerald Fennell’s original musical, which stars Carrie Hope Fletcher, would be coming to an end on 12 June less than a year after it first opened.
No reason was given for the show closing at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, but the original cast had been due to complete their run in July, with a new ensemble taking over.
One new cast member was actor Daisy Blanche Twells, who was going to make her West End debut as a member of the ensemble and first cover for stepsisters Adele and Marie.
Cinderella was the first West End production that Twells, who had recently appeared in the UK tour of Heathers, had reached the recall stage for.
The actor had created a TikTok video to celebrate the moment she got the part, which included a screen recording of her mum Caroline crying in shock over FaceTime as a cover of Hilary Duff’s “What Dreams Are Made Of” played.
However after the show was cancelled, Twells released the clip on TikTok, where it went viral and prompted an outpouring of support from her followers who branded the situation “shocking” and “heartbreaking”.
Explaining what happened on social media, Twells claimed that she had only found out that she wouldn’t be appearing in Cinderella via press release.
“This was a dream come true for me and yesterday it was all taken away in seconds,” she wrote. “I and many others in the current and upcoming cast found out through a press release that the show is closing.
“As you can probably imagine this is the most devastating thing to hear after [accepting] 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.”
Twells continued: “With rehearsals due to start next month I have spent nearly every day searching for somewhere to live and get ready for this massive next step in my life! I spent weeks going back and forward from London for 6 rounds [of auditions] and put all my energy into a contract I only dreamed of!
“I’m just very upset about how something that could have been addressed differently was handled, thank you to everyone who has reached out already and given me nothing but love and well wishes, it definitely helps with the healing, but hopefully change is coming.”
Other members of the new cast also claimed that they had found out via social media, as the announcement was made on a Bank Holiday Sunday when many agents weren’t checking their emails.
Actor Summer Strallen, who had been due to replace Rebecca Trehearn as the queen, said that she’d found out the show was closing after a friend sent her a WhatsOnStage article announcing the news.
Strallen said that she had been booked for a year’s contract on Cinderella for the past two months. “I basically got fired by social media,” she said in a video shared on Instagram.
A spokesperson for Lloyd Webber told The Independent that the current cast had been told on Sunday after their matinee performance, and that reports they were informed minutes before going on stage were “not correct”.
“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,” they said.
The Independent has contacted Lloyd Webber’s representatives for further comment.
Equity, the trade union for performers, called the show’s closure a “callous attack on the dignity of the Cinderella company” and said that staff must be compensated.
Lloyd Webber has hinted that the show will open on Broadway in March 2023.
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