Three titans of the stage—Elaine Paige, Betty Buckley, and Glenn Close—recorded congratulatory messages for Linedy Genao, who begins performances in the title role of the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Bad Cinderella February 17 at Broadway's Imperial Theatre.
All three women won critical acclaim and major awards for their performances in Lloyd Webber musicals: Paige received the Olivier for creating the role of Eva Peron in the London world premiere of Evita, Buckley earned the Tony for dazzling as Grizabella in the Broadway premiere of Cats, and Close played the role of Norma Desmond to Tony-winning effect in the Broadway debut of Sunset Boulevard.
Watch the Instagram video below to hear messages from all three theatre stars and Genao's emotional reaction:
The musical, featuring a book by Oscar-winning screenwriter Emerald Fennel, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and lyrics by Tony winner David Zippel, reimagines the classic fairytale to center around a damsel—but this one is not in distress. "I'm not your Cinderella. I'm Bad Cinderella," teased leading lady Genao at a press event announcing the production last year.
Genao, starring in the title role, is joined by Carolee Carmello as the "Machiavellian" stepmother, Great Comet alum Grace McLean as the Queen, and A Beautiful Noise's Jordan Dobson as Sebastian, along with Morgan Higgins as stepsister Marie, Sami Gayle as stepsister Adele, and Christina Acosta Robinson as Godmother.
The ensemble includes Raymond Baynard, Michael Baerga, Lauren Boyd, Tristen Buettel, Kayleigh Cronin, Josh Drake, Ben Lanham, Angel Lozada, Cameron Loyal, Mariah Lyttle, Sarah Meahl, Christian Probst, Larkin Reilly, Julio Rey, Lily Rose, J. Savage, Tregony Shepard, Dave Schoonover, Paige Smallwood, and Aléna Watters, with Alyssa Carol, Gary Cooper, Robin Masella, Michael Milkanin, Chloe Nadon-Enriquez, and Lucas Thompson rounding out the company as swings. Savy Jackson serves as the Cinderella alternate.
The Broadway bow follows a short-lived West End premiere (then titled simply Cinderella) that began performances in June 2021 even as COVID restrictions still in place limited audience sizes to 50% of the Gillian Lynne Theatre's usual capacity. Following an opening night postponed by cases of COVID within the company, the musical ultimately shuttered June 12, 2022, with Lloyd Webber describing the decision to open the show while the industry was still dealing with the pandemic a "costly mistake."
Laurence Connor is back at the helm for the Broadway bow after staging the West End run. Also returning are choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter, scenic and costume designer Gabriela Tylesova, lighting designer Bruno Poet, and sound designer Gareth Owen. Luc Verschueren provides hair and wig design. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting.