The London Palladium is one of the West End’s largest theatres, located near the famous shopping district of Oxford Circus.

In 1910, the London Palladium was converted into the building it is today following extensive work to a building named Hengler’s Grand Cirque. This, as the name suggests, housed a circus for more than 20 years and served as an ice rink and music hall at other times too. It stands on the site of the home of the Dukes of Argyll, and retains the beautiful 19th century façade of the original Argyll House.

The London Palladium is well-known for hosting variety shows, including the much-loved Royal Variety Performance, as well as some of London’s most striking pantomimes.

However, through the years, the London Palladium has also housed several blockbuster musicals with these productions essentially serving as a roll-call of the West End’s most glittering stars. In the 20s and 30s this included household names such as Harry Houdini, Ivor Novello and Louis Armstrong.

In 1940, soon after Top of the World opened, the theatre was forced to close by the Blitz, after just four performances of the show. However, the Palladium reopened the next year and continued to be graced by the biggest names in the performing arts world, including Elisabeth Welch, Carmen Miranda, and Laurel and Hardy. In 1945, when Val Parnell stepped into the role of Director and General Manager he extended the theatre’s reach, so that homegrown names such Julie Andrews, Cilla Black, Norman Wisdom, Des O’Connor, Ronnie Corbett, Arthur Askey and Shirley Bassey began to sit alongside a number of America’s greatest celebrities. These included Harpo and Chico Marx, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Jerry Lee Lewis.

In the 50s, Norman Vaughan, Jimmy Tarbuck and Burce Forsyth rose to fame as hosts of the family-favourite show Sunday Night at The London Palladium, which was first broadcast in 1955.

The Palladium’s first real musical show, Golden Boy, was performed in 1968 with a veritable star in Sammy Davis Jr amongst the cast members. 1979 saw Yul Brynner cast in in The King and I, stepping back into the role he played on the silver screen, opposite Virginia McKenna. In 1983, another film-to-theatre favourite, Singin’ in the Rain, made its stage debut starring Sarah Payne, Tommy Steele and Roy Castle.

1991 saw the arrival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of the biblical musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Initially starring Australian heartthrob Jason Donovan in the title role, it enjoyed much success before TV personality Phillip Schofield took over the portrayal of Joseph.

In 2000, the London Palladium was acquired by the Really Useful Group and two year later, the legendary rotating stage was replaced by more modern technology to make way for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and its famous flying car.

Following the BBC TV show Over The Rainbow, in which Danielle Hope was cast as Dorothy, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz opened at the London Palladium in 2011. Since then, the London Palladium has hosted Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, Sinatra and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s legendary Musical Cats.

London Palladium Theatre tickets in London:

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  • Cinderella (9th December- 5th January 2017), please click here.

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