Andrew Lloyd Webber is anxious to get audiences back to the theater, which is why he's now taking part in a coronavirus vaccine trial from Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. "I am excited that tomorrow I am going to be vaccinated for the Oxford Covid 19 trial," the composer said in a Tuesday tweet, per CNN. "I'll do anything to prove that theatres can re-open safely." He already held "a socially distanced safety pilot" at his London Palladium theater in July, reports the Evening Standard. The venue was chemically cleaned before audience members were admitted. They underwent temperature checks, sat at least two seats away from other audience members, and wore face coverings throughout an hourlong performance by Beverley Knight.
Cameron Mackintosh, who owns several West End theaters, said the pilot "brilliantly exposed the artistic and commercial bankruptcy of trying to apply social distancing to indoor mainstream theater." Mackintosh, the stage producer responsible for shows like Hamilton and the Phantom of the Opera, has had to lay off most of his staff. "I'm still hopeful that by Easter next year most of my productions and some of our theaters can reopen," he says, per the Evening Standard. It's unclear when the British government might allow theaters to reopen. Broadway shows won't resume until at least January 2021. Still, actors applaud Lloyd Webber's move. "It's so amazing how you're leading from the front," says Jeremy Secomb. "You Sir are giving us the help and hope we so need,” adds Jennie Dale. (More Andrew Lloyd Webber stories.)