Novello Theatre

Definition

Theater

  • A London theater in Aldwych. It was built in the fashionableLouis XIV style by William Sprague as one of a pair with the AldwychTheatre. A special feature was the circular ceiling with its grandpicture of Apollo in his chariot. The 925-seat theater was openedin 1905 as the Waldorf Theatre under the Shubert brothers,who began with a season in which Italian opera alternated with playsstarring Eleonora Duse. From 1909 until 2005 it was known as Strand Theatre, apart from a brief period (1911 - 13) when it was known as the Whitney.

    In 1930 the Strand was refurbished and opened with the farceIt's a Boy!. Other successes were 1066 and All That (1935)and Arsenic and Old Lace, which opened in 1942 for a run of1337 performances. Donald Wolfit presented lunch-time performancesof Shakespeare during the Blitz. Subsequent successes have includedA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1963) starringFrankie Howerd and the farce No Sex Please - We're British,which began its record run of 4419 performances in 1971 (transferringto the Garrick in 1982). The Buddy Holly musical Buddy ran from1995 to 2002. To mark its centenary year the theater's owners,the Delfont Mackintosh group, subjected it to a wholesale refurbishment.When it reopened at the end of 2005, the theater was given its current namein honour of Ivor Novello, who had lived in a flat on the premises for over 30 years. Subsequent productions have included an award-winningrevival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2009).

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