“Bad Cinderella,” a revisionist riff on the classic fairy tale, will close on June 4, bringing to an end, at least for the time being, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 43-year-long streak of shows on Broadway.
The latest musical, which opened March 23, was not the pinnacle of that career — it was greeted on Broadway by hostile reviews, garnered zero Tony nominations and struggled at the box office. Last week it played to houses that were only 54 percent full and grossed just $326,303, which made it the lowest-grossing musical on Broadway.
It had fared slightly better in London, and not just because “bad” was not part of the title there — critics had looked on it more favorably when it opened in the West End after multiple pandemic-related delays, but it had only a modest run and a closing clouded by the way the cast was informed and some of the words Lloyd Webber used to describe the turn of events.
The musical is, like most Cinderella stories, about a shabbily treated young woman whose fortunes change when she meets a prince. The twists, in this production, are that the protagonist is rebellious, Prince Charming is gay, and beauty standards are oppressive.
In addition to music by Lloyd Webber, who is best known as the wildly successful composer of hit musicals like “Cats,” “Evita” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” the musical features a book created by Emerald Fennell (the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Promising Young Woman”) and then adapted by the playwright Alexis Scheer (“Our Dear Dead Drug Lord”), and lyrics by David Zippel (who won a Tony years ago for writing the lyrics for “City of Angels”). “Bad Cinderella” is directed by Laurence Connor, who previously enjoyed more success directing Lloyd Webber’s 2015 musical, “School of Rock.”
“Bad Cinderella” was capitalized for up to $19 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission; that money has not been recouped. The musical’s lead producer is Christine Schwarzman, a lawyer; together she and her husband, the Blackstone billionaire Stephen A. Schwarzman, are major players in New York financial and philanthropic circles. Christine Schwarzman has become increasingly active as a producer on Broadway through her production company, No Guarantees; she is also a lead producer of “Fat Ham,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in drama and is nominated for the best play Tony Award.
At the time of its closing, “Bad Cinderella” will have played 33 preview performances and 85 regular performances.
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