Andrew Lloyd Webber and Malala Yousafzai have teamed up to co-host a gala performance of Cinderella. The musical opened August 18 at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London’s West End and, despite a few starts and stops due to the COVID-19 pandemic, received near-unanimous acclaim from critics.
All proceeds from the November 22 performance will go directly to the Malala Fund, which focuses on providing access to a free, safe, and quality education. The gala event will also feature the work of contemporary Afghan artist Shamsia Hassani and the stories of female Afghan musicians.
“Since age 10, I've been fighting for a world where every girl can learn and lead,” said Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yousafza. “But in the past two years, girls in many countries have faced enormous setbacks to their education—from COVID to economic pressures to conflict and displacement. I am grateful to my friend Andrew for all his support, and I want to thank the cast and crew of Cinderella for arranging this special performance.”
“We wanted to do this gala performance of Cinderella because our heroine is a strong-willed and mischievous young woman whose lesson is: don’t change to please others,” said Lloyd Webber.
Cinderella features an updated story and book by Oscar-winning screenwriter Emerald Fennell, with music by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by David Zippel. Carrie Hope Fletcher stars in the title role opposite Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as the Stepmother, Ivano Turco as Prince Sebastian, Rebecca Trehearn as The Queen, Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin as Cinderella’s stepsisters, and Gloria Onitiri as The Godmother.
The creative team also includes 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.