Playhouse

Definition

Theater

  • A theater on the Embankment near Charing Cross, London. Itwas opened under this name by Cyril Maude (1862 - 1951) in 1907;the original building on the site, the Royal Avenue Theatre, was veryseverely damaged in 1905 when part of Charing Cross Station collapsedonto it, causing six deaths. Maude and his wife, Winifred Emery (1862 - 1924),performed regularly at the Playhouse from 1907 until 1915.

    Frank Curzon and Gladys Cooper became the new managersin 1917; Cooper starred there in the 1922 revival of Pinero's TheSecond Mrs Tanqueray before running the theater alone from 1927to 1933. She produced several of Somerset Maugham's plays, includingThe Letter (1927).

    During World War II, the Playhouse offered a varied menu,including a 1943 Old Vic production of Reuben Simonov's The Russians.It became a BBC studio in 1951 and did not reopen as a theater until1987, when it presented the musical Girl Friends. In 1992 the theater was bought by the writer Ray Cooney, whose farce It Runs in the Family was premiered there. The Playhouse is now part of the AmbassadorTheatre Group. Recent successes have included Richard Eyre's productionof Hedda Gabler (2005), the Motown 'jukebox musical' Dancing in the Streets (2006 - 07), and an award-winning revival of LaCage aux Folles (2008 - 10)

    The original theater on the site, the Royal Avenue Theatre,opened in 1882. High points in its history included the 1894 premiereof George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man.

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