Prince of Wales Theatre History and Timeline
The first theatre on the site opens

The first theatre on the site opens

1884-01-01

C.J. Phipps built the Prince's Theatre, the first theatre venue on the site for actor-manager Edgar Bruce. The original building seated just over 1,000 people on three levels. It was renamed the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1886 after the future Edward VII.

In Town, one of the first English musical comedies opened

In Town, one of the first English musical comedies opened

1892-01-01

The first English musical comedy was performed at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Produced by George Edwardes, 'In Town' was written by Adrian Ross and James T Tanner, and was a backstage drama combined with society intrigue. It was similar in style to the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan but had the feel of a Victorian burlesque.

Edith Evans becomes the Theatre Manager

Edith Evans becomes the Theatre Manager

1930-01-01

English actress Edith Evans became the manager of the venue, and turned it around to feature risqué Follies style revues. Shows such as 'Voila! Les Dames' and 'Encore les Dames' were very successful, and provided the theatre with enough money to refurbish.

The new Prince of Wales Theatre opens

The new Prince of Wales Theatre opens

1937-10-27

The theatre was rebuilt to include more seats in a new Art Deco inspired style. It had a larger stage, with 1,100 seats and a 14 metre long bar. The venue was used as a home for musical comedies, revues and even cinema screenings, and Charlie Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator' was shown despite being banned in Europe.

Do Re Mi opens

Do Re Mi opens

1961-10-12

Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green's musical had its original London production at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1961, running for 169 performances. It starred Max Bygraves, Maggie Fitzgibbon, Steve Arlen and Jan Waters.

On the Town opens at the Prince of Wales

On the Town opens at the Prince of Wales

1963-05-30

Bernstein's 'On the Town' had its original London production at the Prince of Wales Theatre, but only ran for 63 performances. Due to the 60s cultural revolution in the UK, musicals were becoming less popular in the West End. The production was directed and choreographed by Joe Layton and starred Elliott Gould and Don McKay.  

Funny Girl has its London premiere

Funny Girl has its London premiere

1966-04-13

Barbara Streisand made her West End debut in the London production of 'Funny Girl' which ran for 109 performances at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Lawrence Kasha directed the production which also featured Michael Craig, Kay Medford and Lee Allen. Striesand became pregnant during the run and was taken over by her understudy Lisa Shane. The show was later turned into a successful film, for which Streisand won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

The original London production of Sweet Charity

The original London production of Sweet Charity

1967-10-11

Bob Fosse's production of the CY Coleman and Dorothy Fields musical 'Sweet Charity' transferred from Broadway to the Prince of Wales Theatre, where it played for 484 performances. Juliet Prowse starred as Charity Hope Valentine, alongside Rod McLennan and Josephine Blake. The show had a famous score which included 'If They Could See Me Now', 'The Rhythm of Life' and 'Big Spender'.  

The original London production of Promises Promises

The original London production of Promises Promises

1969-10-02

Neil Simon and Burt Bacharach's musical 'Promises, Promises' opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1967, running for 560 performances. Following the success of the Broadway production which was directed by Robert Moore and featured musical staging by Michael Bennett, the cast was led by Anthony Roberts and Betty Buckley. Donna McKechnie recreated the iconic 'Turkey Lurkey Time' dance in London.

The Threepenny Opera is revived at the Prince of Wales

The Threepenny Opera is revived at the Prince of Wales

1972-02-10

Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's dark musical 'The Threepenny Opera' originally opened in Germany in 1928. This new London production opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre in February 1972 and was directed by Tony Richardson. Vanessa Redgrave starred as Polly Peachum, alongside Barbara Windsor as Lucy Brown.

Aspects of Love has its West End premiere

Aspects of Love has its West End premiere

1989-04-17

The first West End production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Aspects of Love' opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1989 where it continued to play for 1,325 performances. Directed by Trevor Nunn with choreography by Gillian Lynne the original cast featured Ann Crumb, Michael Ball, Kevin Colson and Sarah Brightman. Roger Moore was originally scheduled to star as George, but left the production two weeks before opening. The song 'Love Changes Everything' became a chart success for Michael Ball.

Barry Manilow's Copacabana opens

Barry Manilow's Copacabana opens

1994-06-23

Originally based on a TV musical, Barry Manilow's Copacabana expanded into a $3million stage show. Originally opening at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, it opened at the Prince of Wales in 1994 where it played for over two years. The production was directed by Roger Redfarn with choreography by Dorian Sanchez and had a cast which included Gary Wilmot, Nicola Dawn, Richard Lyndon, Anna Nicholas, Howard Attfield and Jenny Logan.

West Side Story London Revival opens

West Side Story London Revival opens

1999-01-22

This revival production began life as a UK national tour in 1997. The production starred David Habbin as Tony, Kate Knight Adams as Maria and Anna Jane Casey as Anita. Due to its success on tour, it transferred to the Prince Edward Theatre, and later the Prince of Wales Theatre before embarking on a second UK tour.

Rent Revival

Rent Revival

2001-12-04

The original production of Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer Prize winning musical 'Rent' opened in 1998 at the Shaftesbury Theatre. This revival played two runs at the Prince of Wales, following successful UK regional productions. Adam Rickett starred as Mark in the Prince of Wales revival, alongside Caprice as Maureen.

The Witches of Eastwick Transfers

The Witches of Eastwick Transfers

2001-07-17

After opening originally at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Cameron Mackintosh's production of 'The Witches of Eastwick' downsized to the Prince of Wales Theatre after a year, where it continued for three more months. The original production was directed by Eric Schaeffer with choreography by Bob Avian and Stephen Mear. Joanna Riding transferred with the production, reprising her role as Jane.

Cliff the Musical

Cliff the Musical

2003-03-12

This short lived production at the Prince of Wales was a jukebox tribute show based on the life of Sir Cliff Richard. Written by Mike Read and Trevor Payne, the show received exceptionally poor notices and ran for just over two months. Four different actors played the part of Cliff through the ages: Ricky Aron, Miles Guerrini, Jimmy Jemain and Mike Read.

Mamma Mia! opens at the Prince of Wales

Mamma Mia! opens at the Prince of Wales

2004-05-23

The original London production of Mamma Mia! opened at the Prince Edward Theatre, but transferred to the Prince of Wales in 2004, before moving again to the Novello Theatre. This smash hit ABBA musical was directed by Phyllida Lloyd with choreography by Anthony Van Laast. It continued to be one of the most popular shows in the West End, performing to sell out crowds of tourists and ABBA fans from around the world.

The Book of Mormon opens

The Book of Mormon opens

2013-03-21

The eagerly anticipated London production of Broadway smash hit 'The Book of Mormon' opens at the Prince of Wales to sell out audiences. This audacious musical delighted and shocked audiences, with its original book and score penned by the creators of 'South Park'. The show quickly became one of the hottest tickets in town, with premium seats reaching £157, breaking West End records.

Past Shows at Prince of Wales Theatre