Andrew Lloyd Webber to Receive Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine as Part of Medical Trial
The award-winning composer, 72, announced his decision to take part in the study in a tweet on Wednesday, writing, “I am excited that tomorrow I am going to be vaccinated for the Oxford Covid 19 trial. I’ll do anything to prove that theatres can re-open safely."
The University of Oxford has been developing an experimental vaccine called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, according the BBC. The outlet reports results have been promising so far and researchers have enlisted more than 10,000 people in the United Kingdom for the next stage of the medical trial.
Webber's tweet comes after his longtime producer Cameron Mackintosh confirmed that they had shuttered the West End production of Phantom of the Opera after 34 years due to a "huge financial hit" from coronavirus-related shutdowns.
"With no endgame to this crisis in sight, last week I had to follow through with the awful distressing downsizing of my organisation [sic] to ensure my company’s survival," Mackintosh wrote in an essay for the Evening Standard in late July.
"On top of this, Andrew and I have had to sadly permanently had to shut down our London and UK touring productions of The Phantom of the Opera, but are determined to bring it back to London in the future."
Webber has since vowed to restart the production, writing on Twitter, "As far as I’m concerned Phantom will reopen as soon as is possible."
Stage productions across the world have taken a massive hit amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In the United States, Broadway has been dark since March 12, with the Broadway League — the national trade association that represents the theater industry — announcing in June that all productions on the Great White Way will be suspended through the rest of the year.
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Since performances stopped, thousands of people in the industry have been out of work — from actors and musicians to stagehands and ushers and more. Businesses in Times Square that depend on theater patrons have seen considerable dents in their finances, too.
Several Broadway shows that had recently opened announced that they have closed permanently. The Inheritance, Hangmen and the revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf starring Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett were among those cutting their futures short.
As of Wednesday, there have been more than 5,196,500 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and 165,400 deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses, The New York Times reported.
Worldwide, there have been at least 20,445,252 coronavirus cases and 745,229 deaths, according to data from the John Hopkins University.
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