Alhambra

Definition

Theater

  • A popular music hall in Leicester Square, London,that for 76 years presented most of the great British stars of songand comedy. The venue was opened in 1854 as a 3500-seat exhibitioncentre named the Royal Panopticon of Science and Art. Four years laterit became the Alhambra Palace then, after alterations, the AlhambraMusic Hall. The name would later change to the Albambra Palace ofVarieties and, finally, the Alhambra Theatre.

    In 1861 the Alhambra introduced the spectacular French acrobatJules LĂ©otard to London audiences. It was also thefirst British theater to present the French cancan, an indiscretionthat briefly cost the Alhambra its licence. The music hall burneddown in 1882 but was quickly rebuilt and reopened a year later, establishinga reputation for lavish revues and ballets. Diaghilev's Ballets Russesperformed there in 1911 and on several later occasions. Comedy starsto head the Alhambra bill included George Robey and Violet Loraine,who were seen together in The Bing Boys Are Here (1916), andGracie Fields, who made her name in the revue Mr. Tower of London(1923). The building was demolished in 1936. The site, on the eastside of the square, is now occupied by the odeon cinema.

    The original Alhambra is a palace and fortress built at Granada by the Moorish kings in the 14th century. The Alhambra theater was famous for its ornate Moorish-style architecture.

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