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Best The West End of All Time

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    1
    Sadler's Wells Theatre

    Sadler's Wells Theatre

    Sadler's Wells Theatre is a performing arts venue located in Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell in the London Borough of Islington. The present day theatre is the sixth on the site since 1683. It consists of two performance spaces: a 1,500 seat main auditorium and the Lilian Baylis Studio, with extensive rehearsal rooms and technical facilities also housed within the site. Sadler's Wells is one of the United Kingdom's foremost dance venues and producing houses, with a number of associated artists and companies who produce original works for the theatre. Sadler's Wells is also responsible for the management of the Peacock Theatre in the West End. Richard Sadler opened a "Musick House" in 1683, the second public theatre opened in London after the Restoration. The name Sadler's Wells originates from his name and the rediscovery of monastic springs on his property. The well water being thought to have medicinal properties, Sadler was prompted to claim that drinking the water from the wells would be effective against "dropsy, jaundice, scurvy, green sickness and other distempers to which females are liable – ulcers, fits of the mother, virgin's fever and hypochondriacal distemper." In 1698
    7.80
    5 votes
    2
    Savoy Theatre

    Savoy Theatre

    The Savoy Theatre is a West End theatre located in the Strand in the City of Westminster, London, England. The theatre opened on 10 October 1881 and was built by Richard D'Oyly Carte on the site of the old Savoy Palace as a showcase for the popular series of comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, which became known as the Savoy Operas as a result. The theatre was the first theatre, and the first public building in the world, to be lit entirely by electricity. In 1889, Richard D'Oyly Carte built the Savoy Hotel next to the theatre. For many years, the Savoy was the home of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, and it was run by the Carte family for over a century. Richard's son Rupert D'Oyly Carte rebuilt and modernised the theatre in 1929, and it was rebuilt again in 1993 following a fire. It is a Grade II* listed building. Apart from The Mikado and other famous Gilbert and Sullivan premières, the theatre has hosted such notable premières as Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit in 1941. In recent years it has presented opera, Shakespeare and other non-musical plays, as well as musicals, including revivals of Fiddler on the Roof and Carousel, and new shows like Never Forget. The original London
    7.40
    5 votes
    3
    Garrick Theatre

    Garrick Theatre

    The Garrick Theatre is a West End theatre, located on Charing Cross Road, in the City of Westminster. It opened on 24 April 1889 with The Profligate, a play by Arthur Wing Pinero. In its early years, it appears to have specialised in the performance of melodrama, and today the theatre is a receiving house for a variety of productions. The theatre is named for David Garrick, considered the most influential Shakespearean actor. The Garrick Theatre was financed in 1889 by the playwright W. S. Gilbert, the author of over 75 plays, including the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas. It was designed by Walter Emden, with C. J. Phipps brought in as a consultant to help with the planning on the difficult site, which included an underground river. Originally the theatre had 800 seats on 4 levels, but the gallery (top) level has since been closed and the seating capacity reduced to 656. A proposed redevelopment of Covent Garden by the GLC in 1968 saw the theatre under threat, together with the nearby Vaudeville, Adelphi, Lyceum and Duchess theatres. An active campaign by Equity, the Musicians' Union, and theatre owners under the auspices of the Save London Theatres Campaign led to the
    9.00
    4 votes
    4
    Fortune Theatre

    Fortune Theatre

    The Fortune Theatre is a 432 seat West End theatre in Russell Street, near Covent Garden, in the City of Westminster, built in 1922-4 by Ernest Schaufelberg for impresario Laurence Cowen. The façade is principally bush hammered concrete, with brick piers supporting the roof. The theatre is entered through bronze double doors, internally, there is a foyer of grey and red marble, with a beaten copper ticket booth. The theatre is situated next to Crown Court Church and opposite the Theatre Royal. It was the first theatre to be built in London after the end of World War I. The theatre opened, as the Fortune Thriller Theatre on August 8, 1924, with Sinners by Lawrence Cowen. An author and playwright, Cowen commissioned the theatre in an Italianate style, that stands on the site of the old Albion Tavern, a public house that was frequented by Georgian and Victorian actors. During World War II, the theatre hosted performances by ENSA, entertainers drawn from the armed forces. Since the war, the theatre has been a receiving house, with actors such as Dame Judi Dench, Dirk Bogarde and Maureen Lipman appearing. The Fortune also hosted shows from Flanders and Swann and Beyond the Fringe.
    9.67
    3 votes
    5
    Arts Theatre

    Arts Theatre

    The Arts Theatre is a theatre in Great Newport Street, in Westminster, Central London. It now operates as the West End's smallest commercial receiving house. The Arts Theatre seats 350 in a two-tier basement auditorium. It opened on 20 April 1927 as a members only club for the performance of unlicensed plays, thus avoiding theatre censorship by the Lord Chamberlain's office. It was one of a small number of committed, independent theatre companies, including the Hampstead Everyman, the Gate Theatre Studio and the Q Theatre, which took risks by producing a diverse range of new and experimental plays, or plays that were thought to be commercially non-viable on the West-End stage. The theatrical producer Norman Marshall referred to these as ‘The Other Theatre’ in his 1947 book of the same name. The theatre opened with Picnic a revue by Herbert Farjeon, produced by Harold Scott and music by Beverley Nichols. Its first important production was Young Woodley by John Van Druten, staged in 1928, which later transferred to the Savoy Theatre when the Lord Chamberlain's ban was lifted. In 1938 a four week revival of the Stokes brothers' Oscar Wilde, starring Francis L. Sullivan and produced by
    7.25
    4 votes
    6
    Dominion Theatre

    Dominion Theatre

    The Dominion Theatre is a West End theatre on Tottenham Court Road close to St Giles Circus and Centre Point Tower, in the London Borough of Camden. The Dominion was built in 1928–29, designed by W and TR Milburn with a steel-framed construction and a concave Portland stone facade. It was built as a theatre for live shows, but after faltering business in the early 1930s, the building was converted to also allow it to show films. The theatre was built on the location of the former Horse Shoe Brewery, which was the site of the 1814 London Beer Flood. During the 1980s it became a popular venue for music concerts. Tangerine Dream's album Logos was recorded there in 1982, and contains a tune called "Dominion" in tribute, and Dolly Parton's 1983 concert at the Dominion was filmed and released as a television special, Dolly in London. In the mid-1980s the Dominion hosted the musical Time, and the interior was extensively reconstructed to accommodate the shows effects. Since the early 1990s the venue has played host to David Ian and Paul Nicholas' new production of Grease, Scrooge: The Musical, Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, a return of Grease, and Notre Dame de
    7.00
    4 votes
    7
    Duchess Theatre

    Duchess Theatre

    The Duchess Theatre is a West End theatre in the City of Westminster, London, located in Catherine Street, near Aldwych. The theatre opened on 25 November 1929 and is one of the smallest 'proscenium arched' West End theatres. It has 479 seats on two levels. The Duchess theatre was designed by Ewen Barr, and constructed by F. G. Minter Ltd, for Arthur Gibbons. The theatre is built with the stalls below street level, to overcome the scale of the site, and the rights of neighbours to Ancient lights. The theatre opened on 25 November 1929 with a play called Tunnel Trench by Hubert Griffith. The interior decoration scheme was introduced in 1934 under the supervision of Mary Wyndham Lewis, wife of J. B. Priestley.
    7.00
    4 votes
    8
    Royal Court Theatre

    Royal Court Theatre

    The Royal Court Theatre is a non-commercial theatre on Sloane Square, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. It is noted for its contributions to modern theatre. In 1956 it was acquired by and is home to a resident company, the English Stage Company. The first theatre on Lower George Street, off Sloane Square, was the converted Nonconformist Ranelagh Chapel, opened as a theatre in 1870 under the name The New Chelsea Theatre. Marie Litton became its manager in 1871, hiring Walter Emden to remodel the interior, and it was renamed the Court Theatre. Several of W. S. Gilbert's early plays were staged here, including Randall's Thumb, Creatures of Impulse (with music by Alberto Randegger), Great Expectations (adapted from the Dickens novel), and On Guard (all in 1871); The Happy Land (1873, with Gilbert Abbott à Beckett; Gilbert's most controversial play); The Wedding March, translated from Un Chapeau de Paille d'Italie by Eugène Marin Labiche (1873); The Blue-Legged Lady, translated from La Dame aux Jambes d'Azur by Labiche and Marc-Michel (1874); and Broken Hearts (1875). By 1878, management of the theatre was shared by John Hare and W. H. Kendal. Further alterations
    7.00
    4 votes
    9
    Lyric Theatre

    Lyric Theatre

    The Lyric Theatre is a West End theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster. Designed by architect C. J. Phipps, it was built by producer Henry Leslie with profits from the Alfred Cellier and B. C. Stephenson hit, Dorothy, which he transferred from the Prince of Wales Theatre to open his new venue on 17 December 1888. It was the second theatre to be constructed on this stretch of Shaftesbury Avenue and is now the oldest on the street. The foyer and bars were refurbished in 1932-33, and the facade was restored in 1994. At present it seats 967 on four levels, although it originally was designed with a seating capacity of 1,306. The theatre still uses an electric pump to operate its iron curtain. Early in the theatre's history, it staged mostly comic operas, and later it has been a home to light comedies, musicals and straight dramas. The theatre retains many of its original features (including being built behind an original 1767 house front, at the rear to Great Windmill Street, the former house and museum of Sir William Hunter) and the theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in September 1960.
    8.67
    3 votes
    10
    Noël Coward Theatre

    Noël Coward Theatre

    The Noël Coward Theatre, formerly known as the Albery Theatre, is a West End theatre on St. Martin's Lane in the City of Westminster, London. It opened on 12 March 1903 as the New Theatre and was built by Sir Charles Wyndham behind Wyndham's Theatre which was completed in 1899. The building was designed by architect W. G. R. Sprague with an exterior in the classical style and an interior in the Rococo style. In 1973 it was renamed the Albery Theatre in tribute to the late Sir Bronson Albery who had presided as its manager for many years. Since September 2005, the theatre has been owned by Delfont-Mackintosh Ltd. It underwent major refurbishment in 2006, and was renamed the Noël Coward Theatre when it re-opened for the London premiere of Avenue Q on 1 June 2006. Noël Coward, one of Britain's greatest playwrights and actors, appeared in his own play, I'll Leave It To You, at the then New Theatre in 1920, the first West End production of one of his plays. The theatre seats 872 patrons on four levels. The building is now a Grade II Listed structure. It is one of the 40 theatres featured in the 2012 DVD documentary series Great West End Theatres, presented by Donald Sinden. After
    6.75
    4 votes
    11
    St Martin's Theatre

    St Martin's Theatre

    St Martin's Theatre is a West End theatre, located in West Street, near Charing Cross Road, in the London Borough of Camden. It was designed by W.G.R. Sprague as one of a pair of theatres, with the Ambassadors Theatre. The 19th Baron Willoughby de Broke, together with B.A. (Bertie) Meyer, commissioned Sprague to design the St Martin's. Although the Ambassadors opened in 1913, the St Martin's construction was delayed by the outbreak of World War I. The theatre is still owned by the Willoughby de Broke family. The first production at the theatre was the spectacular Edwardian musical comedy Houp La!, starring Gertie Millar, which opened on 23 November 1916. The producer was the impresario Charles B. Cochran, who took a 21 year lease on the new theatre. Many famous British actors have passed through St Martin's. In April 1923 Basil Rathbone played Harry Domain in R.U.R. and in June 1927 Henry Daniell appeared there as Gregory Brown in Meet the Wife. Successes at the theatre included Hugh Williams's play (later a film) The Grass is Greener, John Mortimer's The Wrong Side of the Park and the thriller Sleuth (1970). After Cochran, Bertie Meyer ran the theatre intermittently until 1967,
    6.50
    4 votes
    12
    New London Theatre

    New London Theatre

    The New London Theatre is a West End theatre located on the corner of Drury Lane and Parker Street in Covent Garden, in the London Borough of Camden. The Winter Garden Theatre formerly occupied the site until 1965. The modern theatre is built on the site of previous taverns and music hall theatres, where a place of entertainment has been located site since Elizabethan times. Nell Gwynn was associated with the tavern, which became known as the Great Mogul by the end of the 17th century, and presented entertainments in an adjoining hall, including "glee clubs" and "sing-songs". The Mogul Saloon was built on the site in 1847, which was sometimes known as the "Turkish Saloon or the "Mogul Music Hall." In 1851, it became the Middlesex Music Hall, known as The Old Mo. This in turn was rebuilt as the New Middlesex Theatre of Varieties, in 1911 by Frank Matcham for Oswald Stoll. In 1919, the theatre was sold to George Grossmith, Jr. and Edward Laurillard, refurbished and reopened as the Winter Garden Theatre. They produced Kissing Time (1919, with a book by P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton and music by Ivan Caryll), followed by A Night Out (1920), both starring Stanley Holloway. Grossmith
    8.00
    3 votes
    13
    Peacock Theatre

    Peacock Theatre

    The Peacock Theatre is a West End theatre in the City of Westminster, located in Portugal Street, near Aldwych. The 999-seat house is owned by, and comprises part of the London School of Economics and Political Science campus, who utilise the theatre for lectures, public talks, conferences, political speeches and open days. The university has a long lease with London's principal centre for contemporary dance, Sadler's Wells, with whom it has negotiated a deal to bring in dance companies under the banner 'Sadler's Wells in the West End'. The venue often plays host to dance performances, conferences, ballet, pop concerts and award ceremonies. The stage is approximately 36 feet (11 m) by 33 feet (10 m). Gibbon's Tennis Court became used as a theatre on this site in the 17th century. In 1911, the London Opera House opened on this site, becoming the National Theatre of England, three years later. Neither theatre was successful and the venture was sold, becoming the Stoll Theatre, in 1916. A theatre has stood on the site since the 17th century. Known as Gibbon's Tennis Court, or the Vere Street Theatre. Mrs Hughes became the first (identified) woman to tread the boards of a London
    8.00
    3 votes
    14
    Harold Pinter Theatre

    Harold Pinter Theatre

    The Harold Pinter Theatre, formerly the Comedy Theatre until 2011, is a West End theatre, and opened on Panton Street in the City of Westminster, on 15 October 1881, as the Royal Comedy Theatre. It was designed by Thomas Verity and built in just six months in painted (stucco) stone and brick. By 1884 it was known as just the Comedy Theatre. In the mid-1950s the theatre went under major reconstruction and re-opened in December 1955, the auditorium remains essentially that of 1881, with three tiers of horseshoe-shaped balconies. In 1883, the successful operetta Falka had its London première at the theatre, and in 1885, Erminie did the same. The theatre's reputation grew through World War I when Charles Blake Cochran and André Charlot presented their famous revue shows. Famous actors who appeared here include Henry Daniell who played John Carlton in Secrets in September 1929. The theatre was notable for the role it played in overturning stage censorship by establishing the New Watergate Club in 1956, under producer Anthony Field. The outdated Theatres Act 1843 still required scripts to be submitted for approval by the Lord Chamberlain's Office. Formation of the club allowed plays that
    7.67
    3 votes
    15
    Prince Edward Theatre

    Prince Edward Theatre

    The Prince Edward Theatre is a West End theatre situated on Old Compton Street, just north of Leicester Square, in the City of Westminster. The theatre was designed in 1930 by Edward A. Stone, with an interior designed by Marc-Henri Levy and Gaston Laverdet. Named after Prince Edward (then the Prince of Wales, briefly Edward VIII and later Duke of Windsor), it opened on April 3, 1930 with a performance of the musical Rio Rita. Other notable events in its opening years included the London debut of famed cabaret artiste Josephine Baker, who performed her famous 'Bananas Dance'. In 1935, Stone converted the theatre to a dance and cabaret hall, being renamed the "London Casino". In 1942, stage alterations were undertaken by Thomas Braddock, re-opening as the "Queensberry All Services Club" in 1942 – a club for servicemen, the shows were broadcast on the BBC. After the war, the architects T. and B. Bradock restored the building to theatrical use, becoming the "London Casino" once again — when the King of Yiddish Music Leo Fuld hit the stage. In 1954, the same architects converted it to a cinema, reopening as the "Casino Cinerama Theatre". In 1974, the theatre was acquired by impresario
    7.67
    3 votes
    16
    Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

    Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

    The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, commonly known as Drury Lane, is a West End theatre in Covent Garden, in the London borough of Westminster. The building faces Catherine Street (earlier named Bridges or Brydges Street) and backs onto Drury Lane. The current building is the most recent in a line of four theatres which were built at the same location, the earliest of which dates back to 1663, making it the oldest theatre site in London. For its first two centuries, Drury Lane could "reasonably have claimed to be London's leading theatre". For most of that time, it was one of a handful of patent theatres, granted monopoly rights to the production of "legitimate" (meaning spoken plays, rather than opera, dance, concerts, or plays with music) drama in London. The first theatre on the site was built at the behest of Thomas Killigrew in the early years of the English Restoration. Initially known as "Theatre Royal in Bridges Street", its proprietors hired a number of prominent actors who performed at the theatre on a regular basis, including Nell Gwyn and Charles Hart. In 1672 the theatre caught fire and Killigrew built a larger theatre on the same plot, designed by Sir Christopher Wren;
    7.67
    3 votes
    17
    Donmar Warehouse

    Donmar Warehouse

    The Donmar Warehouse is a 251 seat, not-for-profit theatre in Covent Garden, London, England. Under the artistic leadership of Sam Mendes, Michael Grandage and now Josie Rourke, the theatre has a diverse artistic policy that includes new writing, contemporary reappraisals of European classics, British and American drama and small-scale musical theatre. As well as presenting at least six productions a year at its home in Covent Garden, every year the Donmar tours one in-house production in the UK. Theatrical producer Donald Albery formed Donmar Productions around 1953, with the name derived from the first three letters of his name and that of his friend Dame Margot Fonteyn, the prima ballerina. In 1961, he bought the warehouse, a building that in the 1870s had been a vat room and hops warehouse for the local brewery in Covent Garden, and in the 1920s had been used as a film studio and then the Covent Garden Market banana-ripening depot. His son Ian Albery, a producer and theatre design consultant, converted the warehouse into a private rehearsal studio for Fonteyn's London Festival Ballet. In 1977 the Royal Shakespeare Company acquired it as a theatre and renamed it the Warehouse,
    5.75
    4 votes
    18
    Palace Theatre, London

    Palace Theatre, London

    The Palace Theatre is a West End theatre in the City of Westminster in London. Its red-brick facade dominates the west side of Cambridge Circus behind a small plaza near the intersection of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road. The Palace Theatre seats 1,400. Richard D'Oyly Carte, producer of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, commissioned the theatre in the late 1880s. It was designed by Thomas Edward Collcutt and intended it to be a home of English grand opera. The theatre opened as the "Royal English Opera House" in January 1891 with a lavish production of Arthur Sullivan's opera Ivanhoe. Although this ran for 160 performances, followed briefly by André Messager's La Basoche, Carte had no other works ready to fill the theatre. He leased it to Sarah Bernhardt for a season and sold the opera house within a year at a loss. It was then converted into a grand music hall and renamed the Palace Theatre of Varieties, managed successfully by Charles Morton. In 1897, the theatre began to screen films as part of its programme of entertainment, In 1904, Alfred Butt became manager and continued to combine variety entertainment, including dancing girls, with films. Herman Finck was musical
    7.00
    3 votes
    19
    Gielgud Theatre

    Gielgud Theatre

    The Gielgud Theatre is a West End theatre, located on Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster, London, at the corner of Rupert Street. The house currently has 889 seats on three levels. The theatre opened on 27 December 1906 as the Hicks Theatre in honour of actor, manager and playwright Seymour Hicks, for whom it was built. Designed by W.G.R. Sprague in Louis XVI style, the theatre originally had 970 seats, but over the years boxes and other seats have been removed. The theatre is a pair with the Queen's Theatre, which opened in 1907 on the adjacent street corner. The first play at the theatre was a musical called The Beauty of Bath by Hicks and Cosmo Hamilton. My Darling, another Hicks musical, followed in 1907, followed by the successful London production of the Straus operetta, A Waltz Dream in 1908. An astonishing event occurred midway through the run of the theatre's next major work, The Dashing Little Duke (1909), which was produced by Hicks. Hicks' wife, Ellaline Terriss, played the title role (a woman playing a man). When she missed several performances due to illness, Hicks stepped into the role — possibly the only case in the history of musical theatre where a
    6.67
    3 votes
    20
    Phoenix Theatre

    Phoenix Theatre

    The Phoenix Theatre is a West End theatre in the London Borough of Camden, located on Charing Cross Road (at the corner with Flitcroft Street). The entrance is in Phoenix Street. The theatre was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, Bertie Crewe and Cecil Massey and is Grade II listed. It has a restrained neoclassical exterior, but an interior designed in an Italianate style by director and designer Theodore Komisarjevsky. It opened on 24 September 1930 with the première of Private Lives by Noël Coward, who also appeared in the play, with Adrienne Allen, Gertrude Lawrence and a then young Laurence Olivier. Coward returned to the theatre with Tonight at 8:30 in 1936 and Quadrille in 1952. On 16 December 1969, the long association with Coward was celebrated with a midnight matinee in honour of his 70th birthday, and the foyer bar was renamed the Noel Coward Bar. The Phoenix has had a number of successful plays including John Gielgud's Love for Love during the Second World War. Harlequinade and The Browning Version, two plays by Terence Rattigan, opened on 8 September 1948 at the theatre. In the mid 1950s, Paul Scofield and Peter Brook appeared at the theatre. In 1968, a musical
    6.33
    3 votes
    21
    Apollo Theatre

    Apollo Theatre

    The Apollo Theatre is a Grade II listed West End theatre, on Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster. Designed by architect Lewin Sharp for owner Henry Lowenfield, and the fourth legitimate theatre to be constructed on the street, its doors opened on 21 February 1901 with the American musical comedy The Belle of Bohemia. The production was followed by John Martin-Harvey's season, including A Cigarette Maker's Romance and The Only Way, an adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. The first London theatre built in the Edwardian period, the Apollo was renovated by Schaufelberg in 1932, and a private foyer and anteroom was installed to the Royal Box. The sculpted work on the stone fascia is by T. Simpson, the building is of plain brick to the neighbouring streets. The theatre has a first floor central loggia. Inside there is a three galleried auditorium with elaborate plasterwork. The theatre seats 796, and the balcony on the 3rd tier is considered the steepest in London. The Stoll Moss Group purchased the Apollo Theatre in 1975 and sold it to Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Group and Bridgepoint Capital in 2000. Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer purchased the
    10.00
    1 votes
    22
    Trafalgar Studios

    Trafalgar Studios

    Trafalgar Studios, formerly The Whitehall Theatre until 2004, is a West End theatre in Whitehall, near Trafalgar Square, in the City of Westminster, London. Also known as Trafalgar Studios at the Whitehall Theatre in honour of its former incarnation, the building consists of two intimate theatres designed by architects Tim Foster and John Muir. Studio 1, the larger of the two spaces with 380 seats, opened on June 3, 2004 with the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Othello. Studio 2, with 100 seats, opened in October 2005 with the play Cyprus. The original Whitehall Theatre, built on the site of the 17th century Ye Old Ship Tavern was designed by Edward A. Stone, with interiors in the Art Deco style by Marc-Henri and Laverdet. The theatre opened on September 29, 1930 with The Way to Treat a Woman by Walter Hackett, who was the theatre's licensee. In November 1933 Henry Daniell appeared there as Portman in Afterwards. Hackett presented several other plays of his own before leaving in 1934, and the theatre built its reputation for modern comedies throughout the rest of the decade. During World War II it housed revues, which had become commonplace entertainment throughout the
    7.50
    2 votes
    23
    Wyndham's Theatre

    Wyndham's Theatre

    Wyndham's Theatre is a West End theatre, one of two opened by the actor/manager Charles Wyndham (the other is the Criterion Theatre). Located on Charing Cross Road in the City of Westminster, it was designed c.1898 by W.G.R. Sprague, the architect of six other London theatres between then and 1916. It was designed to seat 759 patrons on three levels although later refurbishment increased this to four. The theatre was Grade II* listed by English Heritage in September 1960. Wyndham had always dreamed of building a theatre of his own and through the admiration of a patron and the financial confidence of friends, he was able to realise his dream when Wyndham's Theatre opened on 16 November 1899, in the presence of the Prince Of Wales. The first play performed there was a revival of T. W. Robertson's David Garrick. In 1910, Gerald du Maurier began an association with the theatre which lasted 15 years and to include the stage debut of the screen actress Tallulah Bankhead. Du Maurier's small daughter, Daphne, often watched her father's performance from the wings. Thirty years later she presented her own play, The Years Between, on the same stage. In January 1954, a small-scale musical
    7.50
    2 votes
    24
    Criterion Theatre

    Criterion Theatre

    The Criterion Theatre is a West End theatre situated on Piccadilly Circus in the City of Westminster, and is a Grade II* listed building. It has an official capacity of 588. In 1870, the caterers Spiers and Pond began development of the site of the White Bear, a seventeenth-century posting inn. The inn was located on sloping ground stretching between Jermyn Street and Piccadilly Circus, known as Regent Circus. A competition was held for the design of a concert hall complex, with Thomas Verity winning out of 15 entries. He was commissioned to design a large restaurant, dining rooms, ballroom, and galleried concert hall in the basement. The frontage, which was the façade of the restaurant, showed a French Renaissance influence using Portland stone. After the building work began, it was decided to change the concert hall into a theatre. The composers' names, which line the tiled staircases, were retained and can still be seen. The redesign placed the large Criterion Restaurant and dining rooms above the theatre, with a ballroom on the top floor. When Spiers and Pond applied for a licence to operate, the authorities were unhappy because the theatre was underground and lit by gas,
    7.00
    2 votes
    25
    Cambridge Theatre

    Cambridge Theatre

    The Cambridge Theatre is a West End theatre, on a corner site in Earlham Street facing Seven Dials, in the London Borough of Camden, built in 1929-30. It was designed by Wimperis, Simpson and Guthrie; interior partly by Serge Chermayeff, with interior bronze friezes by sculptor Anthony Gibbons Grinling. The theatre is built in steel and concrete and is notable for its elegant and clean lines of design. The theatre was refurbished in 1950—the original gold and silver décor was painted over in red, and candelabras and chandeliers were added. In 1987, in order to restore the original décor, the theatre was once again refurbished, this time by Carl Toms. The theatre has a circular entrance foyer, with Grinling's bronze frieze depicting nude figures in exercise poses, the theme continues into the main foyer, with dancing nudes, marble pilaster up lighters and concealed lighting. English Heritage notes the Cambridge Theatre is a rare, complete and early example of a London theatre adopting the moderne, expressionist style pioneered in Germany during the 1920s. It marked a conscious reaction to the design excesses of the music hall and contemporary cinemas. Theatres looked for a new style
    9.00
    1 votes
    26
    Queen's Theatre

    Queen's Theatre

    The Queen's Theatre is a West End theatre located in Shaftesbury Avenue on the corner of Wardour Street in the City of Westminster. It opened on 8 October 1907 as a twin to the neighbouring Hicks Theatre (now the Gielgud Theatre) which opened ten months earlier. Both theatres were designed by W.G.R. Sprague. Original plans were to name the venue Central Theatre, however after lengthy debate, it was named The Queen's Theatre and a portrait of Queen Alexandra was hung in the foyer. The first production at the Queen's Theatre was a comedy by Madeline Lucette Ryley called The Sugar Bowl. It was poorly received and ran for only 36 performances, however the theatre received glowing reviews. The Stage on 10 October 1907 described the theatre as A two-tier house, the Queen's holds about 1200 persons, representing some £300 in money. The colour scheme of the walls and roof is white and gold, while green is the hue of the carpets, hangings and upholstery, and of the very charming velvet tableau curtain. From a spacious and lofty entrance-hall, with passages leading down into the stalls, one ascends by a handsome marble staircase to the dress circle, which runs out over the pit; and there is
    6.50
    2 votes
    27
    Lyceum Theatre

    Lyceum Theatre

    The Lyceum Theatre is a 2,000-seat West End theatre located in the City of Westminster, on Wellington Street, just off the Strand. There has been a theatre with this name in the locality since 1765, and the present site opened on 14 July 1834 to a design by Samuel Beazley. The building was unique in that it had a balcony overhanging the dress circle. It was built by the partnership of Peto & Grissell. The present building retains Beazley's façade and grand portico, but the theatre behind is substantially different from the 1904 design of Bertie Crewe, restored to theatrical use in 1996 by Holohan Architects, after a long period of use as a Mecca Ballroom The Old Lyceum Theatre was first built in 1765 on an adjacent site, and in the late 18th century, musical entertainments were given by Charles Dibdin. Famed actor David Garrick also performed at the Lyceum. Between 1794 and 1809, the building was used as a circus, brought by Philip Astley when his amphitheatre was burned down at Westminster, and then a chapel, a concert room, and for the first London exhibition of waxworks displayed by Madame Tussaud in 1802. The theatre became a "licensed" house in 1809, and until 1812 it was
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    Ambassadors Theatre London

    Ambassadors Theatre London

    The Ambassadors Theatre (formerly the New Ambassadors Theatre), is a West End theatre located in West Street, near Cambridge Circus on the Charing Cross Road in the City of Westminster. It is one of the smallest of the West End theatres, seating a maximum of 195 people in the Dress Circle and 251 in the Stalls. The theatre was, along with the adjacent St Martin's conceived by their architect, W. G. R. Sprague, as companions, born at the same time in 1913, but the First World War interrupted the construction of the latter for three years. The Ambassadors was built with the intention of being an intimate, smaller theatre and is situated opposite the renowned restaurant The Ivy, favourite haunt of the theatrical elite. The theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in March 1973. In 1996, the venue was bought by its namesake the Ambassador Theatre Group, now the largest operator of theatres in the West End. It was first split into two small spaces, by creating a false floor at circle level, and used by the Royal Court. Then in 1999 the venue was renamed the New Ambassadors and hosted niche works and plays not normally seen outside of smaller fringe venues. However, within a few
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    Duke of York's Theatre

    Duke of York's Theatre

    The Duke of York's Theatre is a West End Theatre in St Martin's Lane, in the City of Westminster. It was built for Frank Wyatt and his wife, Violet Melnotte, who retained ownership of the theatre, until her death in 1935. It opened on 10 September 1892 as the Trafalgar Square Theatre, with Wedding Eve. The theatre, designed by architect Walter Emden became known as the Trafalgar Theatre in 1894 and the following year became the Duke of York's to honour the future King George V. One of the earliest musical comedies, Go-Bang, was a success at the theatre in 1894. In 1900, Jerome K. Jerome's Miss Hobbs was staged as well as David Belasco's Madame Butterfly, which was seen by Puccini, who later turned it into the famous opera. This was also the theatre where J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up debuted on 27 December 1904. Many famous British actors have appeared here, including Basil Rathbone, who played Alfred de Musset in Madame Sand in June 1920, returning in November 1932 as the Unknown Gentleman in Tonight or Never. The theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in September 1960. In the late 1970s the freehold of the theatre was purchased by Capital
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    London Palladium

    London Palladium

    The London Palladium is a 2,286 seat West End theatre located off Oxford Street in the City of Westminster. From the roster of stars who have played there and many televised performances, it is arguably the most famous theatre in London and the United Kingdom, especially for musical variety shows. Walter Gibbons, an early moving pictures manager, built the Palladium in 1910 to compete with Edward Moss's London Hippodrome and Oswald Stoll's London Coliseum. The facade (originally that of Argyll House, which is why the pub opposite is called The Argyll Arms) dates back to the 19th century. Formerly it was a temporary wooden building called Corinthian Bazaar, which featured an aviary and aimed to attract customers from the recently closed Pantheon Bazaar (now Marks and Spencers) on Oxford Street. The theatre was rebuilt a year later by Fredrick Hengler, the son of a tightrope walker, as a circus venue that included an aquatic display in a flooded ring. Next it became the National Skating Palace - a skating rink with real ice. However the rink failed and the Palladium was redesigned by Frank Matcham, a famous theatrical architect who also designed the Coliseum, for a site that
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    Adelphi Theatre

    Adelphi Theatre

    The Adelphi Theatre is a 1500-seat West End theatre, located on the Strand in the City of Westminster. The present building is the fourth on the site. The theatre has specialised in comedy and musical theatre, and today it is a receiving house for a variety of productions, including many musicals. The theatre was Grade II listed for historical preservation on 1 December 1987. It was founded in 1806 as the Sans Pareil ("Without Compare"), by merchant John Scott, and his daughter Jane (1770–1839). Jane was a British theatre manager, performer, and playwright. Together, they gathered a theatrical company and by 1809 the theatre was licensed for musical entertainments, pantomime, and burletta. She wrote more than fifty stage pieces in an array of genres: melodramas, pantomimes, farces, comic operettas, historical dramas, and adaptations, as well as translations. Jane Scott retired to Surrey in 1819, marrying John Davies Middleton (1790–1867). On 18 October 1819, the theatre reopened under its present name, which was adopted from the Adelphi Buildings opposite. In its early years, the theatre was known for melodrama, called Adelphi Screamers. Many stories by Charles Dickens were also
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    Her Majesty's Theatre

    Her Majesty's Theatre

    Her Majesty's Theatre is a West End theatre, in Haymarket, City of Westminster, London. The present building was designed by Charles J. Phipps and was constructed in 1897 for actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree, who established the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the theatre. In the early decades of the 20th century, Tree produced spectacular productions of Shakespeare and other classical works, and the theatre hosted premières by major playwrights such as George Bernard Shaw, J. M. Synge, Noël Coward and J. B. Priestley. Since World War I, the wide stage has made the theatre suitable for large-scale musical productions, and the theatre has specialised in hosting musicals. The theatre has been home to record-setting musical theatre runs, notably the World War I sensation Chu Chin Chow and the current production, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, which has played continuously at Her Majesty's since 1986. The theatre was established by architect and playwright John Vanbrugh, in 1705, as the Queen's Theatre. Legitimate drama unaccompanied by music was prohibited by law in all but the two London patent theatres, and so this theatre quickly became an opera house. Between
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    Haymarket Theatre

    Haymarket Theatre

    The Theatre Royal Haymarket (also known as Haymarket Theatre or the Little Theatre) is a West End theatre in the Haymarket in the City of Westminster which dates back to 1720, making it the third-oldest London playhouse still in use. Samuel Foote acquired the lease in 1747, and in 1766 he gained a royal patent to play legitimate drama (meaning spoken drama, as opposed to opera, concerts or plays with music) in the summer months. The original building was a little further north in the same street. It has been at its current location since 1821, when it was redesigned by John Nash. It is a Grade I listed building, with a seating capacity of 888. The freehold of the theatre is owned by the Crown Estate. The Haymarket has been the site of a significant innovation in theatre. In 1873, it was the venue for the first scheduled matinée performance, establishing a custom soon followed in theatres everywhere. Its managers have included Benjamin Nottingham Webster, John Baldwin Buckstone, Squire Bancroft, Cyril Maude, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, and John Sleeper Clarke, brother-in-law of John Wilkes Booth, who quit America after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Famous actors who débuted at
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    Aldwych Theatre

    Aldwych Theatre

    The Aldwych Theatre is a West End theatre, located on Aldwych in the City of Westminster. The theatre was listed Grade II on 20 July 1971. Its seating capacity is 1,200 on three levels, a fairly large auditorium. The theatre was built as a pair with the Waldorf Theatre now known as the Novello Theatre, both being designed by W.G.R. Sprague. Funded by Seymour Hicks, in association with the American impressario Charles Frohman, and built by Walter Wallis of Balham. The ornate decorations were in the Georgian style. The theatre was constructed on the newly built Aldwych. The Aldwych theatre opened on 23 December 1905 with a production of Blue Bell, a new version of Hicks' popular pantomime Bluebell in Fairyland. In 1906, Hicks' The Beauty of Bath, followed in 1907 by The Gay Gordons, played at the theatre. In February 1913 the theatre was used by Serge Diaghilev and Vaslav Nijinsky for the first rehearsals of Le Sacre du Printemps before its controversial première in Paris later that year. In 1920, Basil Rathbone played Major Wharton in The Unknown. From 1925-1933, it became the home of Ben Travers's farces, also known as The Aldwych Farces. Members of Travers's company included Ralph
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    Piccadilly Theatre

    Piccadilly Theatre

    The Piccadilly Theatre is a West End theatre located at 16 Denman Street, behind Piccadilly Circus and adjacent to the Regent Palace Hotel, in the City of Westminster, England. Built by Bertie Crewe and Edward A. Stone for Edward Laurillard, its simple facade conceals a grandiose Art Deco interior designed by Marc-Henri Levy and Gaston Laverdet, with a 1,232-seat auditorium decorated in shades of pink. Gold and green are the dominant colours in the bars and foyer, which include the original light fittings. Upon its opening on 27 April 1928, the theatre's souvenir brochure claimed, "If all the bricks used in the building were laid in a straight line, they would stretch from London to Paris." The opening production, Jerome Kern's musical Blue Eyes, starred Evelyn Laye, one of the most acclaimed actresses of the period. The Piccadilly was briefly taken over by Warner Brothers, and operated as a cinema using the Vitaphone system, and premièred the first talking picture to be shown in Great Britain, The Singing Fool with Al Jolson. The theatre reopened in November 1929, with a production of The Student Prince, having a success in January 1931 with Folly to be Wise, running for 257
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    Prince of Wales Theatre

    Prince of Wales Theatre

    The Prince of Wales Theatre is a West End theatre in Coventry Street, near Leicester Square in the City of Westminster. It was established in 1884 and rebuilt in 1937, and extensively refurbished in 2004 by Sir Cameron Mackintosh, its current owner. The theatre should not be confused with the former Scala Theatre in Charlotte Street, off Tottenham Court Road that was known as the Prince of Wales Royal Theatre or Prince of Wales's Theatre from 1865 until its demolition in 1903. The first theatre on the site opened in January 1884 when C.J. Phipps built the Prince's Theatre for actor-manager Edgar Bruce. It was a traditional three-tier theatre, seating just over 1,000 people. The theatre was renamed the "Prince of Wales Theatre" in 1886 after the future Edward VII. Located between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, the theatre was favourably situated to attract theatregoers. The first production in the theatre was an 1884 revival of W. S. Gilbert's The Palace of Truth starring Herbert Beerbohm Tree, preceded by a one act comedy, In Honour Bound. This was soon followed by a free adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House, called Breaking a Butterfly. In 1885, Lillie Langtry, reputedly
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    Vaudeville Theatre

    Vaudeville Theatre

    The Vaudeville Theatre is a West End theatre on the Strand in the City of Westminster. As the name suggests, the theatre held mostly vaudeville shows and musical revues in its early days. It opened in 1870 and was rebuilt twice, although each new building retained elements of the previous structure. The current building opened in 1926, and the capacity is now 690 seats. Rare thunder drum and lightning sheets, together with other early stage mechanisms survive in the theatre. The theatre was designed by prolific architect C. J. Phipps, decorated in a Romanesque style by George Gordon, and opened on 16 April 1870 with Andrew Halliday's comedy, For Love Or Money and a burlesque, Don Carlos or the Infante in Arms. A notable innovation was the concealed footlights, which would shut off if the glass in front of them was broken. The owner, William Wybrow Robertson, had run a failing billiard hall on the site but saw more opportunity in theatre. He leased the new theatre to three actors, Thomas Thorne, David James, and H.J. Montague. The original theatre stood behind two houses on the Strand, and the entrance was through a labyrinth of small corridors. It had a seating capacity of 1,046,
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