Earlier this month, reports emerged in The Daily Mail claiming that the theatre composer had “berated” the cast of his new production after they received a negative review from The New York Post, believing it would impact a Broadway transfer of the musical.
His call was allegedly played over the speakers at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, with cast members said to be left in tears afterwards and discussing potential strike action.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Front Row on Tuesday (23 November), Lloyd Webber said that while he did address the cast, it had had “nothing to do with The New York Post” and that he had reminded them that “nobody has a right to be on the stage”.
“What I was saying to everybody is… the younger cast don’t really realise all the time that we are actually a service industry and nobody has a right to be on the stage,” Lloyd Webber said.
“I don’t have a right to have my musicals in the theatre. What we have to do is try to give the best performances possible. All I was saying is that that’s what we have to do and the cast we’ve got at Cinderella are a really, really wonderful cast who are well capable of doing that. But this has been wildly exaggerated.”
At the time of the original reports of the call, many social media users pointed out that The Post’s review had actually singled out the cast for praise and instead criticised the length of the show and Emerald Fennell’s book.
In a three-star review of Cinderella, The Independent praised the show’s design, but singled out Cinderella’s own songs as particularly weak and said that Fennell’s book presented an “unclear” viewpoint.
“The production is driven forward by high-camp visuals, incredible comic talent and an electric ensemble cast,” the review reads.
“But look below the surface – as is Cinderella’s whole message – and you’ll find something more muddled, a show that doesn’t quite know what it’s saying or have the consistent material to support its vision.”