Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced that rehearsals for his forthcoming musical Cinderella have started following the Government’s announcement of a road map out of lockdown.
The theatre impresario, who took part in the trials for the Oxford jab, said he felt “buoyed” by the announcement last week, after a “harrowing” year that has seen venues shuttered.
Cinderella is set to be staged at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London’s West End, with an original story by former Killing Eve showrunner and The Crown star Emerald Fennell.
Lord Lloyd-Webber also confirmed that a new cast for The Phantom Of The Opera had been finalised and that a production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will return to The London Palladium in July.
He said in a statement: “I am buoyed by the Government’s road map announcement last week and am absolutely prepared to do my part to get theatre open again this summer. It is thrilling to see the big music festivals like Reading and Leeds on sale and that they have sold out in record time.
“I want to lead the way and give others confidence to follow suit by getting major musicals back open – they are the powerhouse of the West End – and have been out of action for almost a year now.
“So, I have put the wheels in motion for a summer reopening. We start rehearsals for my new musical Cinderella at The Gillian Lynne Theatre today.
“The script is by multiple Golden Globe-nominated Emerald Fennell and isn’t like any Cinderella you will have seen.
“We have just finalised the new cast for The Phantom Of The Opera, and Tim Rice and my first ever musical Joseph will return to The London Palladium this July.
“I cannot wait to welcome back audiences to live theatre and bring life, employment and joy back to our capital city after a harrowing past year.”
The Government’s announcement of a road map last week prompted a number of music festivals, including Reading and Leeds, to confirm they would be going ahead this summer, with some selling out of tickets shortly afterwards.
Theatres will be allowed to reopen with social distancing measures as part of stage three of the road map, provisionally confirmed to take place from May 17.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Lord Lloyd-Webber added: “We’ve got to get theatre open up and down the country, everywhere, for all of the actors and musicians and technicians whose livelihood has been put completely on hold now for a year.
“I’m determined that we open and we’re going to open Joseph and Phantom and obviously Cinderella in July, whatever it takes, unless there’s some really good reason for us not…”
The Government hopes to lift all remaining restrictions on social contact by June 21 at the earliest.