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Andrew Lloyd Webber has taken another swipe at the government after his new show Cinderella was forced to close down due to a coronavirus case.

On Monday afternoon, the impresario announced that the musical would not be going ahead with its “Freedom Day” show after a cast member caught COVID-19, forcing a number of the team to isolate as close contacts – despite them repeatedly testing negative.

Sky News understands the show will be postponed until at least next week.

Carrie Hope Fletcher (L) plays Cinderella in Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical. Pic: Tristram Kenton
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Carrie Hope Fletcher (L) plays Cinderella in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical. Pic: Tristram Kenton

Speaking from the Gillian Lynne Theatre in Covent Garden, where Cinderella was due to open, Lord Lloyd Webber said that his industry “cannot function with this current system”.

“We can’t isolate every time somebody may or may not have it. It just simply doesn’t work,” he said.

“I say this from the heart, I am seeing the profession I have loved, I’m seeing musical theatre I think I had a small part in pioneering in this country at a time when frankly the British were not considered to be people who could do musicals.

“And I am just saying it with passion – please, please will this government for once listen to us.

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“Listen. We do know what we’re doing, we do. Just listen and knock all these platitudes and endless, endless blunt instruments that don’t apply across the board.”

Clearly emotional, the peer added that he had “tried and I have tried and I have tried” to work with the government and prove theatres are safe.

Cinderella. Pic: Tristram Kenton
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Cinderella. Pic: Tristram Kenton

After COVID-19 restrictions were extended in June, Lord Lloyd Webber rejected the government’s offer to be part of the Events Research Programme, which would have allowed him to open his preview shows at full capacity earlier than 19 July.

He also argued that his theatre has “100% fresh air” and the “best ventilation system you can find”, as well as warning of another “very, very major show” that will also be forced to cancel its opening.

“We can’t go on like this, theatre is now on its knees, there’s no way forward,” he said, adding that he feels Prime Minister Boris Johnson “doesn’t seem to grasp what we’re about in theatre”.

The musical theatre magnate says he is determined to open his new multi-million pound show in London, and says he has ignored calls from the industry to move it to Broadway instead.

“I do worry at the end of the day that the government doesn’t regard theatre as anything other than nice to have. I don’t think they have a clue of what the real economic value to the country theatre is, and indeed all forms of live entertainment,” he said.

He said that while Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden “does his best”, “I don’t think he’s really able to be that effective”.

Mr Dowden earlier said that he was “deeply disappointed” to hear of the show’s cancellation, adding he recognised the difficulties that self-isolation was having on the sector.

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Equity, the actors’ union, has called for a change to self-isolation rules for the entertainment industry, warning that the current policy is having a “devastating” and costly impact.

Monday’s opening performance of Lord Lloyd Webber’s show appeared to be sold out, with proceeds going to the NHS and St John Ambulance.

Cinderella is a new musical which offers a twist to the traditional story, and features West End star Carrie Hope Fletcher in the titular role, who told fans she was “so, so sorry” about the closure.

Shows across England and the West End have begun to reopen, some at full capacity and some keeping COVID regulations in place, after legal restrictions were lifted across the country.

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Donald Sutherland, Hunger Games and Kelly’s Heroes actor, dies

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Donald Sutherland, Hunger Games and Kelly's Heroes actor, dies

Donald Sutherland, who appeared in films including The Hunger Games and Kelly’s Heroes, has died at the age of 88.

His agency, CAA, said he died in Miami “after a long illness”.

The Canadian actor won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance in the mini-series Citizen X.

In 2017, he received an honorary Oscar.

His son, fellow actor Kiefer Sutherland, said “with a heavy heart” that his father had “passed away”.

“I personally think [he was] one of the most important actors in the history of film,” Kiefer Sutherland posted on X, adding that he was “never daunted by a role – good, bad or ugly”.

“He loved what he did and did what he loved, and one can never ask for more than that. A life well lived.”

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Sutherland with his son Kiefer. Pic: Reuters
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Sutherland with his son Kiefer. Pic: Reuters

In the Hunger Games franchise, Donald Sutherland played President Snow alongside Jennifer Lawrence.

In Kelly’s Heroes he starred alongside Telly Savalas and Clint Eastwood as Sergeant Oddball – on a mission to steal gold from the Nazis.

“I love to work – I passionately love to work,” Sutherland told US talk show host Charlie Rose in 1998.

“I love to feel my hand fit into the glove of some other character. I feel a huge freedom – time stops for me. I’m not as crazy as I used to be, but I’m still a little crazy.”

Sutherland with Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence in 2015. Pic: AP
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Sutherland with Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence in 2015. Pic: AP

His “breakthrough performances” were in 1967 movie The Dirty Dozen and MASH, CAA said.

He also took parts in Robert Redford’s Ordinary People and Oliver Stone’s JFK.

He is survived by his wife Francine Racette, sons Roeg, Rossif, Angus, and Kiefer, daughter Rachel, and four grandchildren.

“A private celebration of his life will be held by the family,” CAA said.

Born in St John, New Brunswick, on the east coast of Canada in July 1935, he was the son of a salesman and a mathematics teacher.

He started university in Toronto as an engineering student but switched to English and started acting in college productions.

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Travis Scott arrested for ‘causing a disturbance while drunk and trespassing’

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Travis Scott arrested for 'causing a disturbance while drunk and trespassing'

Rapper Travis Scott has been arrested for “disorderly intoxication and trespassing”, police in the US have said.

Scott, who has two children with Kylie Jenner, was arrested for causing a “disturbance” on a charter boat at the Miami Beach Marina, where he “was drunk, and asked to leave multiple times”, the Miami Beach Police Department said.

Officers were called to the marina at 12.44 am on Thursday morning to reports of a disturbance, according to official records.

The 10-time Grammy Award nominee was reportedly getting off a charter boat when the owner of the boat asked him to leave, 7News Miami said on its website.

The force said officers found Scott, arguably one of the biggest hip-hop acts in the world, “standing by the dock yelling at the vessel occupants”, and while he complied with their instructions to begin with, he then ignored them, NBC, Sky’s US partner, said.

Officers could sense “a strong smell of alcohol coming from the defendant’s breath”, records showed.

Though he agreed to leave the dock after being threatened with arrest, he did not go quietly.

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As he walked to the boardwalk, Scott “walked backwards yelling obscenities to the occupants of the vessel”, police said.

He left the marina, but returned five minutes later and was seen by officers walking back toward the vessel.

Scott spoke to a sergeant he had spoken to earlier and began yelling once again – “becoming erratic” and “disturbing the peace of the occupants of the marina and nearby residential buildings causing a public disturbance”, court documents said.

The 33-year-old musician was arrested at 1.17am and booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center at 4.35 am on a charge of alleged disorderly intoxication as well as trespassing property after warning.

He submitted a $650 (£512) bond – $500 (£394) for the trespass charge and $150 (£118) for disorderly intoxication, the Daily Mail said.

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Scott, real name Jacques Bermon Webster II, has achieved four number-one hits on the US charts and is known for his energetic live shows and successful albums, including Astroworld.

He has two children with the socialite and media personality, Kylie Jenner, but the pair are no longer together.

His European tour, titled Circus Maximus, is due to start in The Netherlands next Friday and he is scheduled to play Manchester’s Co-Op Live venue on 13 July.

In 2021, 10 fans died in a crowd surge at his Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas, where he was born.

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He did not face criminal charges over their deaths but remains involved in civil cases alleging that organisers were at fault.

Last year he scored his first UK number one album with Utopia, which has been streamed more than 50 billion times globally, NME said.

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Taylor Swift Eras Tour: Final UK shows at London’s Wembley Stadium ‘will boost economy by £300m’

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Taylor Swift Eras Tour: Final UK shows at London's Wembley Stadium 'will boost economy by £300m'

The final UK shows of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour are expected to boost the economy by £300m, officials have claimed.

The US star will perform three gigs at London’s Wembley Stadium this Friday, Saturday and Sunday – before returning to the venue in August for a further five dates.

The sold-out shows will be attended by a total of nearly 640,000 people.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) estimates fans will spend an average of £471 per show, with many travelling from around the world or other parts of the country to watch.

The capital’s mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “delighted” the 34-year-old was playing more shows in the city than anywhere else in the world during her Eras Tour.

He said the gigs would be “a huge boost to our hospitality industry and [provide] further proof that London is the greatest city in the world to watch live music.”

It comes following the singer’s shows in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Cardiff this month.

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Taylor Swift greets fans in Welsh

Officials in London are keen to harness enthusiasm for Swift’s visit.

Transport for London has said it will rename some Tube stations in her honour, while Mr Khan has also unveiled a mural of the singer on the Spanish Steps outside Wembley Stadium.

EMBARGOED TO 0600 THURSDAY JUNE 20 EDITORIAL USE ONLY Mayor of London Sadiq Khan unveils Swiftie Steps and new murals at Wembley Park as global popstar kicks off her first London show. Picture date: Wednesday 19 June 2024.
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Mr Khan with the new mural at Wembley Park. Pic: PA

The GLA said its economic estimate was based on research by tourism body UKInbound.

A previous study claimed Swift’s shows would have an even bigger impact – with Barclays predicting that fans would fork out a total of almost £1bn across her 15 UK shows.

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UK leg of Eras tour kicks off

However, some commentators have questioned the claims.

George Moran, an economist at Japanese bank Nomura, expressed doubts over the alleged net benefit of the tour, saying he believed some fans would be cutting back on other spending in order to attend.

He told The Guardian last month: “We think the idea has been overhyped, especially for economies like the UK.”

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Nonetheless, there appears little doubt that fans – some of whom have spent around £200 on tickets alone – will be spending big on accommodation, food and merchandise during the UK leg.

The multi-billion pound tour is also expected to be a major earner for Swift, who has an estimated net worth of more than $1.1bn (£0.9bn), according to Forbes.

The star has faced criticism for some spending, including her frequent use of private jets.

General view of of Anfield Stadium in Liverpool where a Taylor Swift concert is taking place. Picture date: Thursday June 13, 2024.
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Fans packed out Anfield Stadium in Liverpool to watch the star last week. Pic: PA

It comes amid a boom in concert tours worldwide – and their increasingly hefty economic impact.

Last year, officials in Sweden said two shows by singer Beyonce in Stockholm may have been responsible for a rise in inflation in the country.

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