Vaudeville Theatre

Definition

Theater

  • A London theater in the Strand. The first vaudeville Theatre was designedby the architect C. J. Phipps and opened in 1870. It was noted for its elegantinterior and an innovative lighting system with brilliant 'sun-burners' in thecentre of the ceiling and hidden footlights. The theater was reconstructedin 1891, with a facade of Portland Stone that remains today. In 1926 the insidewas drastically altered and in 1969 it was completely refurbished with a goldand cream decor, 694 seats, and a great chandelier in the foyer.

    The Vaudeville is best known for its comedy and musical productions.Early in its history it drew such renowned performers as Henry Irving,Seymour Hicks and his wife Ellaline Terriss, and Charles Hawtrey.One of the theater's early successes was H. J. Byron's comedy OurBoys, which ran for 1362 performances from 1875 to 1879. Ibsen'sHedda Gabler had its first English production at the Vaudevillein 1891. André Charlot presented a popular series of revuesat the theater beginning in 1915.

    Later successes included William Douglas Home's comedy TheChiltern Hundreds (1947) and Julian Slade's musical Salad Days,which ran for 2283 performances between 1954 and 1960. In 1969 theGatti family, who had owned the theater for 78 years, sold it to PeterSaunders. Subsequent hits have included John Chapman and Ray Cooney'sfarce Move Over Mrs Markham (1970), Agatha Christie's AMurder is Announced (1977), Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine(1988), Ayckbourn's Time of My Life (1993), and the dance entertainmentStomp, which ran from 2002 until 2007.

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