BLOG : PRINCE EDWARD THEATRE
Thursday 12 January 2012
The Price Edward Theatre is a famous theatre in London's West End. It is located on Old Compton Street in the city of Westminster, London, just north of Leicester Square.
Designed by architect Edward A Stone who was a joint architect of the Piccadilly Theatre in 1928, the building itself was a big success. The auditorium was large and seated 1,650 people and the stage was much larger than most theatre's at the time, only exceeded by Drury Lane and Covent Garden. It was specifically designed to accommodate extravagant musical shows.
Named after the Prince of Wales at the time, it opened on 3 April 1930 with the romantic musical comedy Rio Rita starring Edith Day and Geoffrey Gwyther. This show was a huge hit in New York, however sadly the Prince Edwards debut show was not such a hit closing after only 59 performances.
Doing slightly better at the box office was the musical Nippy starring Binnie Hale, opening in 1930 followed by Fanfare, Lady Inverclyde and Un Vent de Folie. After acting as the venue for a series of trade film shows, Aladdin was the next to open. This show closed in January 1935 with insufficient money to pay the artists wages.
The next stage of the Prince Edward Theatre's life was much more lucrative and quite exciting with the theatre being transformed into a cabaret-restaurant. Large kitchens were installed underneath the stage, a semi-circular revolving dance floor was put in and staircases linking the dress circle and stalls. It was then re-opened on 2 April 1936 as the London Casino. It's opening revue was called Folies Parisiennes. It was soon the place to go for an evening out and for the first time in its life, was making money.
In 1940 the Blitz brought all the fun to an end and the theatre was dark for the next two years. It then re-opened again in 1942 as the home of the Queensberry All-Services Club where the service members would make moral boosting broadcasts to troops overseas. By the time the club closed, it had made over 2500 broadcasts. After the war the theatre re-opened again as the London Casino. In 1954 the cinema craze hit London and for the next few years the theatre was converted into a cinema with a 64ft wide screen.
In 1990 Bernard Delfont and Cameron Mackintosh decided to rebuild the theatre and spent over £3 million on a complete refurbishment. This was all done in just over three months and opened again as the Prince Edward Theatre. Since then it has housed many huge hits including Crazy For You, West Side Story, Some Like It Hot, Mamma Mia and Mary Poppins. Currently showing in the Prince Edward Theatre is Jersey boys which has been a hit since opening in March 2008.
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