A major West End theatre, the New London Theatre is located on the corner of Drury Lane and Parker Street in Covent Garden.
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 Vagabond King was produced at the theatre in 1927, and in 1929, Fred and Adele Astaire starred in Funny Face.
The theatre closed permanently in 1959 when it was sold by the Rank Organisation to a developer. It was then gutted and remained vacant until 1965, to be replaced in 1973 by the current building.
Seating 960 on 2 levels, the new theatre’s auditorium first opened with a television recording of Marlene Dietrich’s one-woman show. The theatre officially opened on January 2, 1973 with a production of The Unknown Soldier and His Wife starring Peter Ustinov. It then hosted Grease, starring Richard Gere as Danny. The theatre’s biggest hit was the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Trevor Nunn musical Cats, which premièred in the theatre on 11 May 1981. Closing in 2002, this production became the longest running musical in West End history.
Between 2003 and 2005 the theatre hosted Bill Kenwright’s revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This closed after a two and a half year run on 3 September 2005. Most recently, the venue played host to the London transfer of the off-Broadway production, Blue Man Group, which closed in June 2007. Between 2007 and 2016 the transfer of the National Theatre’s phenomenally successful War Horse played here, based on Michael Morpurgo’s book and recently made into an award-winning film of the same name by Stephen Spielberg.
New London theatre tickets:
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- School of Rock the Musical (Oct 2016 – Jul 2017), please click here.
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