The Aldwych Theatre opened on 23 December 1905 with a new version of Seymour Hicks' popular pantomime Bluebell in Fairyland, entitled Blue Bell. Over the years it has housed numerous theatre productions including nine years of farces all penned by Ben Travers from the late 1920s onwards, also known as The Aldwych farces; a 1949 production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire starring Vivien Leigh and Private Lives starring Dynasty powerhouse Alexis Carrington-Colby herself, Joan Collins, in 1980-81. The Stratford-upon-Avon Royal Shakespeare Company planned to take residence there for three years from 1960, but ended up staying for over twenty. In more recent years the theatre has been home to musicals Whistle Down The Wind, Fame, Dancing In The Streets and current hit Dirty Dancing. So there is no end to demand for Aldwych theatre tickets.
Dirty Dancing has been playing there since September 2006 and is notable for the highest pre-sales of any show in West End history, selling over £6 million of tickets before the production had opened. In the last five years the London show has gone on to accumulate £40 million in ticket sales, and will finish at the Aldwych this July prior to a two year national tour. The original 1987 movie is still a firm fan favourite, although the London stage musical has been considerably more successful than the short-lived TV series commissioned by American network CBS after the film topped box offices, which only survived for a few episodes. Such is the enduring popularity of the original film, star Patrick Swayze was paid $5 million to reprise his role in a cameo in the 2004 prequel Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights - considerably more than the $200,000 paycheck he received for the original.
The theatre has a seating capacity of 1200 and the best seats in the house are reputed to be rows B to H in the Stalls and rows A to E in the Dress Circle. The theatre seating plan is available online and cheaper seats are available in the Grand Circle, two levels above the Stalls. The Aldwych is an air-conditioned theatre and no food or drinks are allowed in the auditorium except for sweets and ice creams bought inside the venue. The nearest car park is on Parker Street, under the New London Theatre, although public transport is recommended, with the nearest underground and train station at Charing Cross or Embankment. A five to ten minute walk straight down The Strand and onto Aldwych will take you to the theatre. The theatre was designed by W.G.R. Sprague and built by Walter Wallis. The ornate decorations of the Aldwych Theatre are in the Georgian style and the building was Grade II listed in 1971. Aldwych theatre tickets
are easily bookable online, but be sure you only book from a S.T.A.R. (Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) Official Agent, or directly from the Aldwych theatre box office.