Andrew Lloyd Webber is revamping his Cinderella musical after the production was savaged by the new ‘Butcher of Broadway’, New York Post theatre critic Johnny Oleksinski.

Cinderella received mostly 5-star reviews from critics, though not all of them were raves. But Lloyd Webber was so incensed by what ran in the Post — Oleksinski called it ‘joyless’ and said 30 minutes needed to be cut for it to have any chance of transferring to NY — that he took it out on the cast, berating them down the phone from his Mallorca holiday home.

The call was broadcast via loudspeakers to the actors as they were on stage, getting ready for their performance at the Gillian Lynne Theatre last Thursday evening.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is revamping his Cinderella musical after the production was savaged by the new ‘Butcher of Broadway’, New York Post theatre critic Johnny Oleksinski

The ¿new¿ version will be unveiled on November 22 at a gala charity performance to raise money for the Malala Fund, the charity named for Malala Yousafzai, which works to empower women and girls

The ‘new’ version will be unveiled on November 22 at a gala charity performance to raise money for the Malala Fund, the charity named for Malala Yousafzai, which works to empower women and girls

A few were said to have been in tears and some were so outraged that there was a vote after Friday night’s show for strike action. However, it was said that this was done in the heat and the cast considered asking for an apologies.

Oleksinski may have found plenty to fault with the show — but not the acting. He praised the cast and the ‘heart-racing ballads’. He gave Laurence Connor a drubbing. However, his production of Joseph is entertaining. And he dismissed Gabriela Tylesova’s set designs as ‘drab and forgettable’.

He wasn’t crazy about the book by Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell, either.

Though few were prepared to put their head above the parapet in a ‘difficult situation’, one agent with a client in the show said: ‘Andrew was clearly upset by the NY Post but he shouldn’t have slagged off performers like that when it was the production that had come under fire.’

He wasn¿t crazy about the book by Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell (pictured), either

He wasn’t crazy about the book by Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell (pictured), either

But another praised the composer for stepping up and ‘giving people work’ during a troubled time.

Re-rehearsals involving the full creative team and cast, to incorporate ‘adjustments’, will begin on Monday. The ‘new’ version will be unveiled on November 22 at a gala charity performance to raise money for the Malala Fund, the charity named for Malala Yousafzai, which works to empower women and girls.

A source close to Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber told me last night that the story was ‘all nonsense’. A statement from the production said: ‘Andrew is really proud of Cinderella and its entire cast and crew. He is passionate about every performance. And the audience reaction continues to be terrific.’

Ann’s role of a mother in torment haunts Ann. 

Ann Dowd arrives just in time for tea and we ‘reluctantly’ agree to share a bottle of Laurent-Perrier, even though I confess that I’ve been a boring, good boy recently; rarely touching a drop of booze.

‘Have you?’ she says, aghast, adding: ‘I haven’t. Full disclosure!’ Her natural warmth reminds me of her performance in a film called Mass, which I’m haunted by. It was my third viewing at the London Film Festival.

Fran Kranz (who also directs the film) wrote a wonderful script. Dowd describes it as ‘this story about four people going through the unimaginable’. A high school student has been killed in a shooting. Dowd plays the shooter’s mother, Linda; her face a mask of grief and loss.

Dowd (right), who has won awards for her cattle-prod wielding enforcer Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid¿s Tale, has been acting since she switched career paths ¿ she was studying to become a doctor ¿ when she was 18

Dowd (right), who has won awards for her cattle-prod wielding enforcer Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale, has been acting since she switched career paths — she was studying to become a doctor — when she was 18

Fellow castmates — Reed Birney as her husband Richard; Martha Plimpton and Jason Isaacs as the parents of the dead boy — met to read through the script, then scattered for a few weeks before regrouping to spend three weeks filming in a church in Idaho. Dowd, 65, is the mother of three children. Raising them has not always been easy; but, as she points out, ‘the great gift for actors is that at the end of the day, we don’t go home with the consequences’. She adds, softly: ‘My children are alive, thank God.’

Dowd, who has won awards for her cattle-prod wielding enforcer Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale, has been acting since she switched career paths — she was studying to become a doctor — when she was 18. I’ve been watching her on stage and screen for years, but Linda is her best role.

  • The film will be shown in cinemas and Sky Cinemas in the first quarter of 2022.

Kristen as Bond baddie 

Kristen Stewart, a contender this award season for her portrait of Princess Diana in Spencer, which opens in cinemas today, told me she’d love to be shaken and stirred as a Bond Girl. By the way, Stewart used the ‘girl’ word herself, gender police. ‘I would do a Bond movie, oh yeah!’ she cried. Actually, she wouldn’t say no to being asked to play ‘the Bond girl who is the bad girl … who is the villain! I could play both parts,’ she said, warming to her theme. ‘I haven’t done a baddie, yet. I like being a good guy. . . but maybe I need to cross to the other side.’

Stewart told me she lapped up every one of No Time To Die’s 163 minutes, not least because the film stars her friend Lea Seydoux as 007’s love interest Madeleine Swann.

Kristen Stewart, a contender this award season for her portrait of Princess Diana in Spencer, which opens in cinemas today, told me she¿d love to be shaken and stirred as a Bond Girl

Kristen Stewart, a contender this award season for her portrait of Princess Diana in Spencer, which opens in cinemas today, told me she’d love to be shaken and stirred as a Bond Girl

The pair were fellow jurors on the Cannes Film Festival’s main jury three years ago. And they worked together on David Cronenberg’s latest film, Crimes Of The Future, along with Cronenberg’s main man Viggo Mortensen. ‘Lea’s one of the coolest people I’ve met,’ said Stewart.

I hope the 007 producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and their casting director, Debbie McWilliams get to read it. Though I suspect they’re busy on hush-hush business to find the next Bond.

I wonder if he’ll even be from these shores?