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    To help with future plans for up his Really Useful Group, Lloyd Webber has now had to sell his first ever theatre purchase, The Palace , in order to help facilitate expensive upkeep on Theatre Royal Drury Lane and planned refurbishment of the London Palladium.  It's a case of real-life Monopoly as the Nimax chain swoop in on another of Lloyd Webber's venues.

    In 1995 Really Useful Group parted with four of their theatres to Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer who then set up the Nimax theatre chain.  The Duchess, the Lyric, the Garrick and the Apollo Shaftesbury Avenue were let go to free up funds.   Burns and Weitzenhoffer have since added the Vaudeville Theatre to their chain in 2008.   Lloyd Webber purchased the Palace in 1993.

    A statement relating to the sale read: "So why am I selling it?  First, and most importantly, I want to see a secure theatrical future for the Palace as I do the other historic theatres that I own through Really Useful Theatres.  I can think of no better future custodians of Britain's finest Victorian theatre than my friends Nica and Max.  Secondly, the proceeds of the sale will be used to repay debt and to strengthen the balance sheet of Really Useful Theatres.    This will allow me to plan the future of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and continue work on refurbishing The London Palladium.  Lastly, Nica and Max are completely aware of my passion for The Palace and we have agreed that if there is a major theatrical reworking of the building, I will partner them.  Good luck Nica and Max.   I hope the Palace is as good for you as it has been for me."

    Burns has since said: "We have longed to own a major musical house and it doesn't get much better than the Palace."  The theatre is currently playing the West End transfer of the Chichester Theatre's revival of Singin' In The Rain which is scheduled to run until February 2013.  The sale will not affect the show's engagement.

    Book Singin' In The Rain tickets online now.

    [posted by James, 12/04/2012]