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Travel by train: Charing Cross. Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road, Holborn, Covent Garden
The Shaftesbury Theatre is a London West End Theatre, located on Shaftesbury Avenue, in the Borough of Camden. It has a seating capacity of 1,400.
Shaftesbury Theatre History
The Shaftesbury Theatre was designed for the brothers Walter and Frederick Melville by Bertie Crewe and opened on 26 December 1911 with a production of The Three Musketeers, as the New Prince's Theatre, becoming the Prince's Theatre in 1914. It had a capacity of 2,392 and a stage 31' 10" wide by 31' deep.
In 1919, The theatre had considerable success with an 18 week season of Gilbert and Sullivan operas, presented by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. These became a regular attraction at the theatre in the 1920s, interspersed with runs of theatre productions transferred from other venues. Basil Rathbone appeared at the Prince's Theatre in May 1933 when he played Julian Beauclerc in a revival of Diplomacy. The Rose of Persia was revived at the theatre in 1935. The D'Oyly Carte returned in 1942.
The theatre was sold to EMI in 1962, and became the Shaftesbury Theatre the following year. Broadway productions that transferred to the theatre for long runs in the 1960s included Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1962), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1963) and Little Me (1964).
Part of the ceiling fell in on 20 July 1973, forcing the closure of the long-running musical Hair, after 1,998 performances. The Shaftesbury almost fell victim to redevelopment, but a campaign by Equity succeeded in having the theatre placed on the 'Statutory List of Buildings of Special architectural or Historic Interest', and the theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in March 1974.
The theatre reopened with West Side Story a year later. Long runs in the 1980s included They're Playing Our Song (1980) and Follies (1987). The next decade included long runs of Kiss of the Spider Woman (1992), Eddie Izzard: Definite Article (1995) and Rent (1998). During the redevelopment of the Royal Opera House in nearby Covent Garden in the late 1990s, the theatre was booked as an alternative London venue for performances including Benjamin Britten's Paul Bunyan. A series of musicals followed.
Shaftesbury Theatre Ownership
The venue is currently owned by The Theatre of Comedy Company, who have owned the venue since 1984.
In March 2006, the 1,400 seat theatre underwent a large refurbishment, with the entire stalls and dress circle being reseated, redecorated and the front of house areas refurbished. Since reopening, the theatre has hosted several revivals, including the European premiere of the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Hairspray, which opened in October 2007 and closed in March 2010. Flashdance The Musical opened at the theatre in October 2010. Rock Of Ages is the latest show to open at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
Shaftesbury Theatre Notable productions
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1962)
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1963–64)
Little Me (1964–65)
Hair (20 September 1968 – 20 July 1973)
West Side Story (1974)
They're Playing Our Song (1 October 1980 – 8 May 1982)
Two Into One (1984)
Follies (July 1987 – February 1989)
Out Of Order (1990)
Shaftesbury Theatre Recent productions
Kiss of the Spider Woman (20 October 1992 – 17 July 1993)
Carousel (16 September 1993 – 27 March 1994)
Tommy (5 March 1996 – 8 February 1997)
Rent (12 May 1998 – 30 October 1999)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (21 October 2003 – 26 June 2004)
Bat Boy: The Musical (27 August 2004 – 15 January 2005)
The Far Pavilions – The Musical (24 March 2005 – 17 September 2005)
Daddy Cool – The Musical (15 August 2006 – 17 February 2007)
Fame: The Musical (4 May 2007 – 1 September 2007)
Hairspray: The Musical (11 October 2007 – 28th March 2010 )
Burn The Floor (21st July 2010 - 4th September 2010) starring Ali Bastian
Flashdance (26th September 2010 - 15th January 2011)
Comedy Rush (2 performances only: 24th February 2011 and 24th March 2011)
Derren Brown - Svengali (June 8th 2011 - July 16th 2011)
Rock Of Ages (31 August 2011 - 11 February 2012)
From Here to Eternity (30 September 2013 - )
This review is not reflective of the production or talent of/in Motown. The main problem had to do with those sitting next to us. A couple seated in the Royal Circle kept talking, texting, and playing on Facebook. My husband asked the gentleman to put his phone way but he replied that could not because he had to answer work calls. Work calls...on Facebook? Hmmm... Another attendee was also seen flinging parts of the show. Please, please have ushers walk around the theatre during the performance to ensure that audience members are following the rules.
Posted by Nicole Nicholson on 13/12/2017
Great music of course, excellent cast, superb musicians. What a fabulous show. I’ve loved Motown for ever but now I know the story of its development. Magnificent.
Posted by RICHARD BREESE on 13/12/2017
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