All new stage adaptation Life of Pi has set sail!
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Actor/manager Charles Wyndham opened two theatres in the West End, one of which is the Wyndham's Theatre, located on Charing Cross Road in the City of Westminster.
Architect W.G. Sprague, who also designed six other theatres in the capital until 1916, was the designer of this theatre. The venue initially had seating for upwards of 750 people seated on three levels, which later increased to four through renovations. In September 1960, the English Heritage designated the building as Grade II listed. Inside the theatre is a spectacular pastel green, cream and pale blue décor that complements the splendour of the wonderfully painted ceiling and decorated boxes. The building's pale stone exterior features round windows and Greek-style pillars.
Charles Wyndham always wanted to build his theatre. Achieving his dream was possible, thanks to a kind patron as well as the financial support of good friends. Graced by the Prince of Wales, the Wyndham's Theatre opened on 16th November 1899 with a revival of T.W. Robertson's David Garrick. The auditorium saw immediate success and was followed by the same; another being Mrs Dane's Defence, starring Lena Ashwell as the lead, in 1900. Wyndham stated that the response of the audiences upon the curtain-fall was the most enormous applause he had known. The biggest hit was the French Riviera musical The Boy Friend, which broke records with its London premiere and also ran for a straight five years!
Fun fact: Charles Wyndham's passion and contribution to the theatre industry didn't go unrecognised; King Edward knighted him in the 1800s.
Cameron Mackintosh took over in May 2005. Delfont-Mackintosh Ltd began operating the theatre in September, presenting Tom Stoppard's Heroes a month later. It was the translated French play Le vent des peupliers and starred John Hurt and Richard Griffiths. A new production of Joanna Murray-Smith's Honour followed, which starred Martin Jarvis, Diana Rigg and Natascha McElhone. Wyndham's Theatre later hosted the West End transfer of Stephen Sondheim's musical Sunday In The Park With George, produced by the Menier Chocolate Factory. It starred Jenna Russell and Daniel Evans. Another big hit was the West End transfer of Alan Bennett's smash-hit, The History Boys, which ran in April 2007 and performed sold-out shows!
Through summer 2007, Ben Kenwright's production of Somerset Maugham played at Wyndham's Theatre. Later, in October, the show based on C.S. Lewis's life, Shadowlands, starred Charles Dance and Janie Dee. In December, Alan Bennett's The History Boys returned to the house, following which the building shut down for refurbishment. In September 2008, it reopened with Michael Grandage's production of Chekhov's Ivanov, starring Kenneth Branagh. Tom Stoppard was behind the show, and it was the opening play in the Donmar West End 12-month season at the Wyndham's Theatre. This season also involved actors such as Jude Law in Hamlet, Judi Dench in Yukio Mishima's Madame de Sade, and Derek Jacobi in Twelfth Night, which were all presented by Grandage.
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