Queen’s Theatre- Opened in 1907, as a twin to the neighbouring Gielgud Theatre, the Queen’s Theatre is located in Shaftesbury Avenue. The Queen’s Theatre has held Tony award winning productions such as “Contact” and its current running production of “Les Miserables.” “Les Miserables” has surpassed “Cats” as the longest running musical of all time and has been at the Queen’s Theatre since 2004.
Her Majesty’s Theatre- Situated on Haymarket, Her Majesty’s Theatre was constructed in 1897 for actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree. This theatre has had a long history of theatre productions and since World War I, has hosted many large scale musicals including “Chu Chin Chow” and its current production of “The Phantom of the Opera.” This musical has played at Her Majesty’s Theatre since 1986 which is the second longest running musical behind “Les Miserables.”
Prince of Wales Theatre- Near Leicester Square, the Princes of Wales theatre was established in 1884 and has been the host of many beloved musicals. To name just a few, such musicals as “Annie Get Your Gun,” Funny Girl,” “West Side Story,” and “Rent.” After its remodelling in 2004, the theatre hosted “Mama Mia” for over 8 years and currently is home to the hilarious “Book of Mormon.”
Lyceum Theatre- Located just off the Strand, the Lyceum Theatre was first built in 1765 and has worn many hats. While first hosting a circus, then acting as a chapel, and even hosting the first exhibition of waxworks of Madame Tussaud. It then served as an English Opera House until 1830 when the theatre suffered a from fire damage. It was reopened as anopera house which hosted adaptations of Charles Dickens and Shakespeare. Since then it has been threatened to be shut down and demolished but has been saved and now plays host to the Tony award winning musical, “The Lion King.”
Victoria Palace Theatre- Opposite Victoria Station is the Victoria Palace Theatre. Beginning as a small concert hall and hotel in 1832, it was originally named “The Royal Standard Music Hall.” In 1910 it was rebuilt and named the Victoria Palace Theatre. “Me and My Girl” was the first big musical success at the theatre which took place in 1937. Since then, there has been several memorable musicals that the Victoria Palace Theatre has hosted such as: “Kiss Me Kate,” “Annie,” and “Fame.” Currently the theatre is showing the smash success, “Billy Elliot the Musical.”
Apollo Victoria Palace- Across from the London Victoria Station, the Apollo Victoria Palace opened in 1930 as a cinema and became a musical theatre in 1981 with the opening of “The Sound of Music.” The theatre is now home of the world renowned “Wicked” musical and has been here for over eight years now.
Prince Edward Theatre- Just north of Leicester Square, is the Prince Edward Theatre. Built in 1930, the theatre is named after the Prince of Wales and opened with the musical “Rio Rita.” Over the years it has been converted into a London Casino and a cinema, but has returned to its former theatre roots with the opening of the musical “Evita.” Many tony award winning productions have been put on in this theatre such as: “Evita,” “Chess,” “Anything Goes,” “Some Like It Hot,” “West Side Story,” “Mama Mia,” “Mary Poppins,” and “Jersey Boys.” Currently, the famous “Miss Saigon” has returned to the theatre as of 2014.
Lyric Theatre- The oldest theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, the Lyric Theatre was built in 1888. Its first production was “Dorothy which brought in over 100,000 GBP. Even though the theatre has been updated and refurbished, it still uses the original water pump to operate the iron curtain. Over the years the theatre has seen everything from comic operas to straight dramas with some notable productions such as: “The Royal Family,” An Ideal Husband,” “Blood Brother,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” Cabaret,” and the musical, “Hairspray.” Currently the theatre is showing “Thriller-Live.”
London Palladium- Located off Oxford Street is the London Palladium This theatre can arguably be the most famous theatre in London and the United Kingdom due to the many stars who have played here as well as the many televised performances which have taken place at the theatre. The London Palladium building dates back to 1910, where it was originally a temporary wooden building call Corinthian Bazaar, which meant to entice previous customers of the closed Pantheon Bazaar which was also located on Oxford Street. A year later, the building was rebuilt by Fredrick Hengler, the son of a tightrope walker, and was used as a circus venue. Before World War II, the London Palladium was a premier venue for variety performances and it was linked to the Royal Variety Performances is still performed here at the theatre to this today. In 1945, Val Parnell took over as Managing Director. He brought in a line-up of high-priced, big-name acts such as: Judy Garland, Sophie Tucker, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Bob Hope, Elle Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Frankie Laine, Johnnie Ray, Petula Clark, and Norman Vaughan. The theatre became the setting for the top-rated ITV variety shows “Sunday Night at the London Palladium,” from 1955-1967. In 1968, Sammy Davis Jr. starred in “Golden Boy,” the first book musical to be produced at the venue. Throughout the years, big musicals have hit the London Palladium stage, such as: “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “The Sound of Music,” “The King and I,” “Sister Act,” “The Chorus Line,” and “Cats.” Currently “Cats” is preparing for its reopening revival show for October 2015.
If you plan on catching a show at any one of these West End theatres, be sure to check out our last minute hotels London West End.