Bad Cinderella Reviews

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Bad Cinderella has opened on Broadway.

Based on Lloyd Webber’s 2021 West End musical Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, the New York transfer has acquired a new name, and a brand new production.

Playing at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre, the show has music by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tony Award-winner David Zippel.

The show is led by Linedy Genao as Cinderella, with Carolee Carmello as the Machiavellian Stepmother, Grace McLean as the ever-exacting Queen, Jordan Dobson as the heir-do-well Sebastian, Sami Gayle as the ditzy step-sister Adele, Morgan Higgins as the husband-hungry step-sister Marie, Christina Acosta Robinson as the all-seeing Godmother, and Savy Jackson as the Cinderella alternate.

The ensemble includes Raymond Baynard, Michael Baerga, Lauren Boyd, Tristen Buettel, Kaleigh Cronin, Josh Drake, Ben Lanham, Angel Lozada, Cameron Loyal, Mariah Lyttle, Sarah Meahl, Christian Probst, Larkin Reilly, Julio Rey, Lily Rose, J. Savage, Tregony Shepherd, Dave Schoonover, Paige Smallwood, and Aléna Watters; and the swings are Alyssa Carol, Gary Cooper, Robin Masella, Michael Milkanin, Chloe Nadon-Enriquez, and Lucas Thompson.

The show is directed by Laurence Connor, with a book by Oscar winnerEmerald Fennell and choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter.

Did the New York critics love or loathe Bad Cinderella? Read the reviews round-up from the New York Times, Variety, Guardian, The Stage and more.

The Stage

"Better Cinderella"

"Slight improvements make for better, but still not great, version of Cinderella by Andrew Lloyd Webber"

"Though it still falls short of becoming Great Cinderella, Lloyd Webber and the team have finessed the material without making really substantive changes."

"Lloyd Webber and lyricist David Zippel have kept the skeleton of their score intact, though there are revised orchestral arrangements throughout. The new sound leans toward an electro-pop style for Cinderella’s anthems but maintains a musical theatre feel for the other characters."

"[Linedy Genao’s] powerhouse vocals are a perfect match for Lloyd Webber’s soaring melodies. Carolee Carmello as the Stepmother and Grace McLean as the Queen are the production’s highlights. Both appear to be having the time of their lives, eating up every morsel of these characters..."

Lane Williamson, The Stage
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"Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Muddled, Sexed-Up, Broadway Spin on the Fairy Tale Is True to Its Name"

"To clear up the obvious question, “Bad Cinderella,” which opened at the Imperial Theater Thursday night, isn’t good. Composed by Webber and with lyrics by David Zippel, it is a muddled and momentum-less retooling of the familiar fairy tale in search of a coherent point of view as if it were a glass-slippered foot."

"'Bad Cinderella,' directed here by Laurence Connor (“School of Rock”), even manages to gleefully reinforce the chronic social fixations — on beauty, vanity and wealth — that it purports to deem toxic."

"But as the Webber production’s requisite turntable spins and spins, it’s easy to wonder who this new fable is for and what revised moral it aims to impart. If “every great disaster has a villain,” as the hot people of Belleville claim, maybe the villain, in this case, is us. For not-so-secretly wanting to be admired ourselves, and to see our vanity endlessly reflected back to us. And for so often rewarding creators for rehashing old stories while vainly expecting the unexpected."

Naveen Kumar, Variety
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The New York Times

"The Title Warned Us."

"Andrew Lloyd Webber hopes to extend an unbroken 43-year streak on Broadway. But his 13th new musical may not be the charm."

"First: Bring earplugs. Not just because the songs in “Bad Cinderella,” the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that opened on Thursday at the Imperial Theater, are so crushingly loud. The dialogue, too, would benefit from inaudibility."

"That’s because “Bad Cinderella” is not the clever, high-spirited revamp you might have expected, casting contemporary fairy dust on the classic story of love and slippers. It has none of the grit of the Grimm tale, the sweetness of the Disney movie or the grace (let alone the melodic delight) of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Instead, it’s surprisingly vulgar, sexed-up and dumbed-down: a parade of hustling women in bustiers and shirtless pec-rippling hunks."

"One reason it isn’t is the unrelievedly pompous direction by Laurence Connor. Aside from those strident sets and costumes (by Gabriela Tylesova) and that aggressive sound (by Gareth Owen), there is a fundamental mismatch between the flippant fairy tale tone of the book, which wants the lightest possible treatment, and the exhaustingly one-note insistence of the staging."

"Lloyd Webber, not only British but a Lord, has been, in that sense, America’s most successful theater composer. We can argue that “Evita” wasn’t good for the culture — and “Cats” not good for anything — but somehow, he and Broadway made a match that’s lasted like no other. Even without the blessing of critics, and just like “Bad Cinderella,” it’s an implausible story about a real marriage of love."

Jesse Green, The New York Times
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The Guardian

"Andrew Lloyd Webber’s chaotic musical hits Broadway"

"The infamous ‘costly mistake’ has made its way to the US and while hardly the revisionist take it aims to be, there’s some sprightly fun to be had"

"Lloyd Webber’s latest, Bad Cinderella, now on Broadway after a tumultuous start in London’s West End, is not lacking in the sweeping melodies and staccato punctuations that are the bedrock of the ALW sensibility."

"The staging owes a great debt to the school of Disney, with eye candy aplenty. The bon-bon aesthetic comes to us courtesy of Gabriela Tylesova, who designed the twinkly sets as well as the mouthwatering costumes, a colorful parade of voluminous dresses that would have Carrie Bradshaw’s eyes pinwheeling."

"This Cinderella doesn’t have that much to say in the end. But if bubblegum melodies, outfits that slay, and pectoral-forward fun is what you’re after, the shoe fits."

Lauren Mechling, The Guardian
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The Washington Post

"Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Bad Cinderella’ gets the title it deserves"

"An evening of desultory juvenile antics awaits theatergoers at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre, where Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Bad Cinderella" has officially opened."

Peter Marks, The Washington Post
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New York Post

"A wacko storybook dumpster fire on Broadway"

"For a musical with the drunken confidence to slap the word “Bad” in front of a classic title, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Bad Cinderella,” which opened Thursday night on Broadway, doesn’t have much in the way of ‘tude and swagger onstage. Or brain cells. It’s a mess with multiple personality disorder. From start to finish during this perplexing and often dull fairytale spin — and, oh, does it spin — you’re never entirely sure what you’re watching or why you’re watching it."

"In the title role, an appealing Linedy Genao tries to give the girl some gusto. Every line is delivered confrontationally, even when it doesn’t make much sense to do so, but the material is floss-thin and the character inherently lacks star quality."

"Lloyd Webber’s music — some, not all — is the show’s redeeming element. The direction and design left me cold again... director Laurence Connor is no Hal Prince or Trevor Nunn. He almost never stops spinning his onstage turntable, in hopes of hypnotizing the audience into actually enjoying themselves."

Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
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"Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Latest Could Use Some Badness"

"What Bad Cinderella does have is an amusing enough premise, an appealing score of songs that please in the moment, a gorgeous set design, performers that give it their all, and just enough rousing, good-natured moments to hold onto hopes that Bad Cinderella will arrive somewhere transformative before Dorothy has to return to Kansas."

"... Bad Cinderella, as diverting as it can often be, at other times leaves lots of space for the mind to wander. Nowhere is this more evident, or more unfortunate, than in the scenes spotlighting its title character."

"By the time it reaches its happily-ever-after ending – the musical doesn’t pretend for a moment it won’t get there – Bad Cinderella leaves us both more or less satisfied and more or less disappointed... It’s certainly not the worst Andrew Lloyd Webber musical (Aspects of Love is safe), nor as remotely problematic (or distinctive) as Evita. Put it somewhere between School of Rock and The Woman in White, enjoy it, and hope for a happier ending next time around."

Greg Evans, Deadline
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Entertainment Weekly

"Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical is bibbidi-bobbidi-basic."

"A dream is a wish your heart makes, and we wish the beloved theater maestro's latest Broadway musical made sense"

"Though she appears confident and unapologetic in song, Cinderella is strangely passive and has little to no sense of personal agency throughout the show... Despite Genao's best efforts to bring a secretly soft vulnerability to the character's brash nature, Cinderella often operates out of spite rather than her own self-interests and agonizes over every decision she makes."

"Herein lies Bad Cinderella's biggest problem: like its protagonists, it doesn't know what it wants to be. At times, it's an ominous cautionary tale of how the beauty industry — led by the Fairy Godmother (Christina Acosta Robinson), who excitedly waves a syringe instead of a wand — preys on insecurities and coerces others to conform to its unrealistic standards. At others, it's a critique on how fairytale endings don't actually exist, only for the show to culminate in its own highly dramatic happily ever after. And, at its best, it's a hilariously campy romp that doesn't take itself seriously in the slightest."

"Instead, it's the Queen and the wicked Stepmother (Carolee Carmello) who are the true rulers of Bad Cinderella and, honestly, long may they reign. McLean is sensational as the glittering, gluttonous matriarch..."

"Bad Cinderella is bad, but that's kind of what makes it good. B–"

Emlyn Travis, Entertainment Weekly
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"Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical fumbles the ball"

"In fairness, this Cinderella is only half-bad, but its virtues are in all the wrong places."

"Bad Cinderella is a box of costume jewels: flashy but short on value. Gabriela Tylesova’s glitzy outfits and pop-up-book sets are fun to look at, as are the attractive chorus members who flex and prance for our delectation...The show is most successful when it hews to campiness, especially in the juicy vocals and hamming of the story’s two smother mothers: Grace McLean as the extravagant Queen—who is bent on finding a bride for Charming’s younger brother, the gangling Sebastian (Jordan Dobson), at a Bachelor-style ball—and Carolee Carmello as Cinderella’s scheming stepmother, who wants to snag Sebastian for one of her heir-headed daughters (Sami Gayle and Morgan Higgins)."

"The score, by Lloyd Webber and lyricist David Zippel, goes in one ear and comes out the other without troubling anything in between. You are unlikely to remember much of it, except the oft-repeated title-song motif"

"Directed sleekly by Lloyd Webber loyalist Laurence Connor, Bad Cinderella is the kind of show that seems destined to be left behind. It’s a shiny glass slip-up."

Adam Feldman, TimeOut
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📷 Main photo: Bad Cinderella on Broadway. Photo by Matthew Murphy

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