Andrew Lloyd Webber has recently announced that his new version of Cinderella is set to waltz into the West End later this year. Another version of Cinderella? Yes, Cinderella is one of the most popular fairy tales of all time – with too many stage adaptations to count – so, why should you be excited about this new production?
Here are our five reasons why we think this particular version of the well-worn tale could be something truly special.
1 – Killing Eve’s Emerald Fennell
Andrew Lloyd Webber has been wanting to write a new musical adaptation of Cinderella for years but was struggling to find a writer with an interesting, modern take…
Enter: Emerald Fennell. Fennell replaced Phoebe Waller-Bridge as head writer on the hit BBC drama Killing Eve and is currently writing and directing the upcoming film Promising Young Woman, starring Carey Mulligan. Alongside her writing career, Fennell played Camilla Parker-Bowles in the latest series of The Crown and starred alongside Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl.
2 – A modern take
Some of musical theatre’s biggest names have adapted the Cinderella story for the stage, including Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1957 TV musical starring Julie Andrews. This version was recently revived on Broadway. Stephen Sondheim also included the character in his fairy tale mash-up musical Into the Woods.
Lloyd Webber’s version had a closed workshop in May 2019 at The Other Palace, with Youtuber and Les Misérables alum, Carrie Hope Fletcher, taking on the title role. From what we’ve heard about these workshops, this won’t be the Cinderella story as we know it. Lloyd Webber has described his Cinderella as ‘fiesty and firey’, whose love interest is a quirky young guy called Sebastian.
Prince Charming is still around though, but in this version he’s more interested in having a fling with the Duke. It seems this new production is not scared to shake things up!
3 – The ALW Factor
Cinderella marks Webber’s first new musical since School of Rock in 2015. It’s also his first musical to premiere in London since the ill-fated Stephen Ward musical, back in 2013. Despite this, the Lord’s legacy still has a stronghold on London’s West End. This summer Webber will have four shows running, including Jamie Lloyd’s acclaimed revival of Evita at the Barbican, the return of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Palladium, as well as long-runner The Phantom of the Opera.
4 – The newly refurbished Gillian Lynne Theatre
When School of Rock closes in March 2020, the Gillian Lynne Theatre will undergo a period of refurbishment ahead of Cinderella opening in September. Audiences can expect the theatre to shine and sparkle as brightly as Cinderella’s glass slipper. The theatre has long been affiliated with Lloyd Webber. As well as hosting a revival of Joseph for a two-year run in 2003 starring the late Stephen Gately, he premiered mega-musical Cats in 1981, which played at the theatre for over 20 years!
5 – A Netflix film?
Attendees of the closed workshop last year included some of the most influential movers and shakers in London and Broadway theatre, including representatives from Disney Theatrical, producer Scott Rudin and actor Michael Caine. Reports from the workshops also suggested that Lloyd Webber has been in talks with video streaming giant Netflix to film his new musical.
Netflix have recently acquired the rights to several musicals, including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tick, Tick… Boom! and Jason Robert Brown’s 13. Later this year, they will premiere a filmed adaptation of The Prom, which ran on Broadway last year. The film has an impressive cast including Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Ariana Grande.
With all this going for it, we feel that this fresh new take on Cinderella could be a very exciting addition to the West End in 2020. What do you think? Do we need another version of Cinderella? Will the combined efforts of Emerald Fennel and Andrew Lloyd Webber make this a winner? Be sure to comment your thoughts below.