Who Are Those Shirtless, Leathered Hunks in Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Cinderella?'

Monday July 5, 2021
Originally published on June 30, 2021

Ivano Turco and Rebecca Trehearn in the Andrew Lloyd Webber's new version of "Cinderella," currently in the West End.
Ivano Turco and Rebecca Trehearn in the Andrew Lloyd Webber's new version of "Cinderella," currently in the West End.  (Source:Tristram Kenton)

Andrew Lloyd Webber has been making headlines lately as he attempts to bring his new version of "Cinderella" to the West End under changing COVID guidelines.

Now a production still released this week makes it apparent that this will not be the squeaky clean version that has been staged since the 1950s when Rodgers and Hammerstein famously adapted the Charles Perrault fairy tale into a television musical starring Julie Andrews. It was subsequently produced as a stage musical, making it to Broadway in 2013 in a rewritten version.

Chorus members from Andrew Lloyd Webber's new version of  (Source: Tristram Kenton)

In the photo, Rebecca Trehearn, who plays The Queen, stands with Ivano Turco (Prince Charming) with a chorus line of leather-clad muscle men standing behind them. The shirtless men wear a variety of harnesses and other leather gear.

Little is known as to the production's concept, but it looks as if it might be trading a glass slipper for a glass dildo.

Other changes from traditional stage interpretations has Turco dressed not in royal garb, but casually in grey turtleneck and black pants. Trehearn wears a traditional brocaded gown, but with a large piece of fabric attached to the lower part of the garment that may have some alternative meaning. On her head is a period, bouffant wig with white feathers attached that gives the look like it walked off the runway on "RuPaul's Drag Race."

Playbill reports that the production features an updated story and book by Oscar-winning screenwriter Fennell, with music by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Zippel. Also attached to the project are director Laurence Connor, choreographer JoAnn Hunter, set and costume designer Gabriela Tylesova, sound designer Gareth Owen, lighting designer Bruno Poet, and co-musical supervisor John Rigby."

Headlining the production is Carrie Hope Fletcher in the title role. Joining her are Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as the Stepmother, Turco as Prince Sebastian, Trehearn as The Queen, Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin (Waitress) as Cinderella's stepsisters, and Gloria Onitiri as The Godmother.

The production has had its shares of problems. "Webber, one of the country's more vocal and prominent figures in the movement to reopen the arts and culture sector, has threatened legal action should his new Cinderella musical not be able to begin as planned June 25, going so far as to say he would rather be arrested than keep the theatre closed," wrote Playbill.

Webber threatened this action after the final phase of the British reopening was pushed back to July 19. Until then theaters will be running at 50% capacity, not 100% as originally planned. Currently in previews, "Cinderella" is scheduled to open on July 14 at the Gillian Lynne Theatre.

Also this week Webber released the London Gay Men's Chorus recording of "Marry For Love," the wedding march from the musical. "Following a prolonged lockdown which restricted public gatherings and prevented in-person rehearsals and performances, 200 members of the London Gay Men's Chorus gathered for the first time at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane to record the song," wrote Broadway World.

This version of "Marry For Love" is being released in celebration of Pride and is available on all music services. The Polydor/UMe full album of "Cinderella" will be released on Wednesday July 9 featuring voices from the cast of the highly anticipated new musical, as well as some soon-to-be announced, high-profile guest vocalists.