Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella musical played its final performance in the West End on Sunday night.
First premiering last year after numerous delays due to the pandemic, the show features music from Webber with lyrics by David Zippel and an original story and book by Emerald Fennel.
Webber wasn’t present for the closing night performance, instead penning a letter that was readout at the final bows.
However his comments were met with boos from the audience, reports Variety, as he described opening the production amid the pandemic a “costly mistake”.
In the letter, read aloud by director Laurence Connor, Webber started by praising the show’s “fabulous cast, crew and musicians, the superb creative team” before continuing: “I keep thinking if only we had opened three months later, we wouldn’t have had to postpone our opening twice; if only we hadn’t had to close for a month over Christmas and New Year; and if only we had a crumb of help from the Recovery Fund I promise you we would have been here for a very long time to come.
“My huge thanks to everyone. We kept the government’s feet to the flame and led the charge to the West End opening again. It might have been a costly mistake but I am proud of what we did and will forever be grateful to everyone who supported me.”
He concluded: “Cinderella got some of the best reviews of my career and I am immensely proud of it and it’s hugely due to you all. All my love, Andrew.”
As some in the audience booed, Connor spoke up: “Honestly, it’s really easy to find a villain in these things. I will say to you all, it’s easy to see things from the outside.
“There’s a lot of people who have tirelessly done a lot of great work on this show and what I feel about this production is we created something really special and on this day, watching this final performance with everybody, that is how I want us to go.”
UPDATE Webber has since posted a message to social media, saying: “I am devastated to have been reported to have said that my beloved production of Cinderella was a ‘costly mistake.’ Nothing could be further from the truth, and I am very sorry if my words have been misunderstood.
“I adore this production and I am incredibly, incredibly proud of Cinderella and everyone who has been involved in our show.
“We were desperate to support the West End after 2 years of a devastating pandemic and the mistake we made was trying to open too early, meaning we had to postpone twice. Everything we did was to try and support the West End and get everyone back to work after the worst period in our history.
“For now, I want to say thank you to everyone involved in Cinderella for all you have done. ”
While the show has closed in London, it’s been reported that plans are in place to bring the musical to Broadway next year.
For now, an original studio cast album is available to stream or download as well as on CD and Vinyl.