The Queen's Theatre

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The Queen’s theatre is situated in the heart of London’s world-famous West End and is the home of one of the most popular and enduring musicals of all time. Les Miserables is a multi award-winning show that tells the story of Jean Valjean, a prisoner who is released back into society after nineteen years, and has been playing to a packed house at The Queen’s Theatre since April 2004.

Les Miserables Les Miserables

Les Miserables

Les Miserables has gone on to enjoy huge success all over the world and has been performed in 42 countries and in over 319 cities. Cameron Mackintosh's London production of Les Miserables has overtaken Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats as the world’s longest running musical, having played 7,602 performances at the Palace Theatre before transferring to the Queen’s Theatre in 2004. The musical celebrated its 20th anniversary at the venue on 8 October 2005 and celebrated the 10,000th performance on 2 January 2010.

It was October 1907 when The Queen’s theatre first opened its doors to the public. At the time it served as a twin for the Globe Theatre (now known as the Gielgud Theatre) which stood nearby and opened ten months earlier. Both of these incredible theatres were designed by W.G.R. Sprague.

The original intention was to name the venue Central Theatre, however, it was eventually decided that it should be called The Queen’s theatre and a portrait of Queen Alexander was hung in the foyer. The very first production at the Queen's Theatre was a comedy by Madeline Lucette Ryley called The Sugar Bowl. The crowds were wowed by the new theatre but were not as impressed with the show, which only ran for 36 performances.

When The Queen’s theatre first opened, a full house would net the theatre just £300 and when it was reviewed by The Stage in 1907 they described the venue as a two-tier house that could seat around 1200. They also noted the theatre featured a spacious and lofty entrance-hall, which included passages leading down into the stalls. The marble staircase that lead to the dress circle was also described in the review as well as the Old Italian Renaissance style of the second tier.

Over the years, many famous names have graced the stage of The Queen’s Theatre, including: Fred Astaire, Marlene Dietrich, Alec Guinness, Basil Rathbone, Kenneth Branagh, Noel Coward, Laurence Olivier and Sybil Thorndike. Before Les Miserables moved from the Palace Theatre, The Queen’s theatre ran several highly successful and popular shows including: The RSC's production of The Taming of the Shrew. Richard O’Brien’s Raunchy musical The Rocky Horror Show and the Tony Award winning production of Cyberjam, which was an innovative musical by the Emmy and Tony Award winning creators of Blast!

The Queen’s Theatre was declared a Grade II listed building by English Heritage in June 1972. During the early 90s, The Queen's Theatre was fully renovated and in late 2009 had improvements made to public areas and new seating and boxes reinstated at dress circle level, which has increased capacity.

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