Super-producer and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has halted performances of hit West End musical “Cinderella” until Feb. 2022 as the Omicron variant of coronavirus surges across the U.K.
“I am absolutely devastated that ‘Cinderella’ has to temporarily close. My life has been devoted to musical theatre. Once again, this wretched virus has put paid to the joy of entertaining audiences, something that I hold so dear,” Webber tweeted on Tuesday. “Sadly this is the right thing to do, not just for the safety of our cast, musicians and backstage crew, but for the quality of the show we give our audiences who travel long distances and make significant investments to come and see us. Rest assured, ‘Cinderella’ will re-open as soon as this wave is licked and we know we can give our audiences the fantastic time they deserve.”
A message from ALW. https://t.co/tXmbdX58oG pic.twitter.com/R8T4VgWFPB
— Andrew Lloyd Webber (@OfficialALW) December 21, 2021
Performances of the show, written by “Promising Young Woman” Oscar winner Emerald Fennell, are currently suspended until Feb. 9.
“Cinderella” is the latest in a spate of cancellations caused by the latest wave of the virus. Performances of the well-reviewed “Cabaret,” starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley that were canceled last week remain suspended but hope to resume from Dec. 7.
“Wendy and Peter Pan” at the Leeds Playhouse, “Measure For Measure” at London’s Shakespeare’s Globe and “Hex” at the National Theatre in London are suspended till early January. There are similar suspensions around the country.
On Tuesday, the U.K. government revealed a further £30 million ($39.7 million) addition to the existing Culture Recovery Fund, designed to support theaters, orchestras and museums.
The Society of London Theatre said in a statement that the measure was a “clear signal” that U.K. government understands “the challenges facing our theaters and other cultural businesses.”
“Whilst the new funding is most welcome, it is now crucial that DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] works with the theatre sector to ensure it is targeted to those businesses and individuals that need it most,” the statement added.
An average of 90,000 people are testing positive for COVID-19 daily across the U.K. While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that there will be no restrictions through Christmas, it is expected that he will announce circuit breaker measures for the period immediately after. This could mean closure of theaters and cinemas.