Piccadilly Theatre

Piccadilly Theatre

Infobox Theatre
name = Piccadilly Theatre

caption = Piccadilly Theatre facade, July 2007
address = 16 Denman Street
city = Westminster, London
country =
designation =
latitude = 51.510611
longitude = -0.134194
architect = Bertie Crewe and Edward A. Stone
owner = Ambassador Theatre Group
capacity = 1,232 on 3 levels (reduced from 1400 on opening)
type = West End theatre
opened = 27 April 1928
yearsactive =
rebuilt =
closed =
othernames =
production = Grease
currentuse =
website = www.theambassadors.com/piccadilly/

The Piccadilly Theatre is a West End theatre located at 16 Denman Street, behind Piccadilly Circus and adjacent to the Regents 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 1232-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 April 27 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. [http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/PiccadillyTheatre.htm Piccadily Theatre History, at Arthur Lloyd website] accessed 23 August 2007]

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 performances.

Following a conversion into a cabaret restaurant, the theatre reopened in April 1936 as The London Casino, which became noted for its lavish stage shows. The building sustained considerable damage when it was hit by a stray German bomb during World War II. After renovations in the early 1950s, it returned to its original name and became a venue for plays, revues, and musicals.

In the 1960s and 1970s, it improved its reputation with a series of successful transfers from Broadway – both "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "A Streetcar Named Desire" made their London debuts here. The 1990s witnessed an expansion in ballet and dance, notably the most successful commercial ballet season ever to play in the West End, with Matthew Bourne's acclaimed production of "Swan Lake".

In 1986, the venue was the setting for ITV's popular Sunday evening variety show, "Live From the Piccadilly", hosted by Jimmy Tarbuck.

The Piccadilly has played host to such renowned stars as Henry Fonda, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Michael Pennington, Barbara Dickson, Lynn Redgrave, Julia McKenzie, Eric Sykes, and Dame Edna. Its productions have run the gamut from "Wish You Were Here" to "Edward II" to "Spend Spend Spend" to "Noises Off" to "Blues in the Night" to a season of plays directed by Sir Peter Hall.

The Donmar Warehouse production of "Guys and Dolls" ran from 19 May 2005 - 14 April 2007. This has been followed by David Ian's new production of "Grease" which opened on 8 August 2007.

The Piccadilly is one of twenty-four venues owned by the Ambassador Theatre Group.

Recent and present productions

* "Ragtime" - starring Maria Friedman
* "Noises Off" (13 August 2003 - 8 November 2003) by Michael Frayn
* "Jumpers" (20 November 2003 - 6 March 2004) by Tom Stoppard
* "Jailhouse Rock - The Musical" (19 April 2004 - 23 April 2005) by Rob Bettinson and Alan Janes
* "Guys and Dolls" (19 May 2005 - 14 April 2007) by Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, starring at various times - Ewan McGregor, Jane Krakowski, Jenna Russell, Douglas Hodge, Nigel Harman, Sarah Lancashire, Patrick Swayze, Don Johnson, Ben Richards, Adam Cooper, Sally Ann Triplett, Amy Nuttall, Samantha Janus, Neil Morrissey, Alex Ferns and Claire Sweeney
* "Grease" (24 July 2007 - ) by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, starring Danny Bayne, Susan McFadden and Siobhan Dillon


* "Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950", John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 131 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3

External links

* [http://www.piccadilly-theatre.co.uk/ Piccadilly Theatre]
* [http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/PiccadillyTheatre.htm Arthur Lloyd - Piccadilly Theatre]
* [http://www.london-theatreland.co.uk/theatres/piccadilly-theatre/theatre.php London Theatre Guide]

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