The West End production of Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends will delay its first performance at the Gielgud Theatre in London, due to the withdrawal of actress Haydn Gwynne.
Gwynne, who most recently appeared in the West End productions When Winston Went To War and The Great British Bake off Musical, and is well known on TV for playing Camilla in The Windsors, has withdrawn due to sudden personal circumstances.
The first performance will be delayed by four days to allow for a replacement to be found to join and rehearse with the all-star ensemble cast which includes Broadway stars Bernadette Peters and Lea Salonga.
The first performance will now be held on Thursday 21 September 2023. Affected ticket holders will be contacted by their point of sale.
In a statement, Producer Cameron Mackintosh said “Matthew Bourne and I were naturally very distressed, along with our brilliant cast headed by Bernadette Peters and Lea Salonga, to learn that Haydn Gwynne must suddenly withdraw from the production, for the immediate future at least. Haydn gave an unforgettable performance of Ladies Who Lunch during the OLD FRIENDS Gala Premiere in May 2022 and has been an integral part of this very close-knit company ever since. Haydn will be very much missed and we all send her our love. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused to our patrons who had bought tickets for the first few performances, particularly those coming from afar. All affected ticket holders will be contacted directly by the box office to make arrangements for you to see an alternative performance as quickly as possible”.
Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends is a celebration of the legendary lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim, and was originally staged as a one-off tribute concert in 2022.
The show will be directed by Matthew Bourne, side by side with Julia McKenzie, with choreography by Stephen Mear.
This show is booking to 6 January 2024 in London.