Andrew Lloyd Webber faces backlash as Boris Johnson hints they’re ‘in talks’

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Andrew Lloyd Webber, 73, has come under fire from social media users after Boris Johnson, 56, hinted during his nationwide address on Monday evening that his latest version of Cinderella might be able to open within the next four weeks, despite Freedom Day being pushed back from 21 June to 19 July. It comes after Lloyd Webber admitted that if the Government doesn’t open the theatres properly soon, he would either risk arrest or have to sell his.

Speaking to the nation, Boris revealed that he had been “in talks” with the Cats composer following his comments about the impact of a delay to the roadmap to his productions and the wider theatre ecosystem.

And following the push back to lifting the last phase of lockdown, the decision could have an even more drastic impact on the performing arts sector.

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Cinderella was set to open in previews later this month at capacity, with the Prime Minister saying: “We’ll do whatever we can to make it work – there are some pilot events we hope to have go ahead within the next four weeks.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber has since responded to the news, taking to his social media to share his response.

“My goal is to fight for the full and safe reopening of theatre and live music venues up & down the country,” he said.

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“I was pleased & surprised to hear the PM mention Cinderella this evening, but I can’t comment further on the proposed pilot until I know more about the scheme.”

And while many were excited that at least there would might be a trial period for one theatre, fans seemed slightly put out by the suggestion, which led to some questioning why this was allowed to happen when others would be left struggling.

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Taking to Twitter, one said: “There’s more to theatre than Andrew Lloyd Webber shows.”

Another wondered sarcastically: “Andrew Lloyd Webber wouldn’t by any chance be a Tory donor would he?”

“I haven’t seen Andrew Lloyd Webber this energised since he flew first class across an ocean so he could vote to try and ensure poor people could be poorer,” a third snapped.

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Others began to make jokes about his pending arrest, after the composer stated he would open regardless of restrictions and the law.

“Let’s be honest, Andrew Lloyd Webber would thrive in prison. Imagine the musical!!” one joked.

Comedian Danny Wallace also got involved in the humour, penning: “Just performed a citizen’s arrest on Andrew Lloyd Webber. I wrestled him to ground as he attempted to enter his theatre. He’s in my van now hissing like a cat. Whole thing is rocking. The police don’t want him. Not sure what to do with him now.”

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Another agreed: “So excited! I’ve got front row seats for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s arrest.”

“Will Andrew Lloyd Webber carry out his threat to defy lockdown rules and risk arrest to open his theatres without observing lockdown rules?” a fourth quizzed.

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While a fifth hoped he would stick to his word: “So Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Let’s see if you’re a man of your word.”

It comes after he told The Telegraph about how he’s had to remortgage his London home due to the theatre industry’s financial struggles over the pandemic.

The creator of musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar said: “We are going to open, come hell or high water.”

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And when asked what he would do if the June 21 Freedom Day lockdown lifting was postponed, the 73-year-old admitted he would risk arrest.

Lord Lloyd Webber said defiantly: “We will say: ‘come to the theatre and arrest us.”’

With rising Covid variants and rising cases across the UK, the June 21 Freedom Day date has been brought into doubt.

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Yet the composer claimed that scientific evidence proved that theatres are “completely safe” and wouldn’t cause outbreaks.

He continued: “If the government ignore their own science, we have the mother of all legal cases against them.

“If Cinderella couldn’t open, we’d go, ‘Look, either we go to law about it or you’ll have to compensate us.”’

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