Novello Theatre History and Timeline
The venue opens as the Waldorf Theatre

The venue opens as the Waldorf Theatre

1905-05-22

The Novello Theatre originally opened as the Waldorf Theatre at the start of the 20th Century.

The venue is renamed 'The Strand Theatre'

The venue is renamed 'The Strand Theatre'

1913-01-01

After being renamed the Strand Theatre in 1909, it turned into the Whitney Theatre in 1911 before turning back into The Strand Theatre in 1913.

Anna Christie causes a sensation

Anna Christie causes a sensation

1923-01-01

The first Eugene O'Neill play to be performed in the West End was 'Anna Christie', which opened at the Strand Theatre in 1923. Pauline Lord starred in the production, reprising her Broadway leading role. The play was met favourably, and her performance was highly commended.

Arsenic and Old Lace breaks records at the Strand

Arsenic and Old Lace breaks records at the Strand

1942-12-01

Joseph Kesselring's comedy broke records at the theatre, running for 1337 performances between 1942 and 1946. Despite being damaged during the Blitz, the theatre remained open. The Royal Family attended the play on June 3rd 1943, including the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.

And So To Bed transferred to the Strand Theatre

And So To Bed transferred to the Strand Theatre

1951-12-10

Vivian Ellis' musical comedy 'And So to Bed' transferred to the Strand Theatre. Based on the life of Samuel Pepys, it was composed as a period piece and had musical direction by Mantovani. The comedy featured a strong cast which included Denis Quilley, Keith Michell, Leslie Henson and Betty Paul.

Rhinoceros transfers from the Royal Court

Rhinoceros transfers from the Royal Court

1960-06-01

Ionesco's iconic play Rhinoceros transferred from the Royal Court Theatre to the Strand in a production staged and designed by Orson Wells. It starred Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Michael Gough and Peter Sallis.

The original London production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opens

The original London production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opens

1963-10-03

Stephen Sondheim's first successful solo venture as both composer and lyricist transferred to the Strand Theatre from Broadway. Frankie Howard starred as Pseudolus, with a cast that also featured Kenneth Connor, Eddie Gray, Jon Pertwee and Leon Greene.

No Sex Please, We're British begins an 11 year run at the Novello

No Sex Please, We're British begins an 11 year run at the Novello

1971-06-03

Alistair Foot and Anthony Marriott's comic play was originally panned by critics, but delighted audiences. The play had a fantastic 11 year run at the Strand Theatre, before transferring to the Garrick and the Duchess where it eventually closed in 1987. The farce was originally led by Michael Crawford who starred as Brian Runnicles. David Jason later took over the role.

The London revival of Cabaret opens

The London revival of Cabaret opens

1986-07-17

The first London revival of Kander and Ebb's 'Cabaret' ran at the Strand Theatre in 1986. The musical starred Kelly Hunter as Sally, Peter Lande as Cliff, and Wayne Sleep as the Emcee. The production was directed and choreographed by Gillian Lynne.

The London revival of Can-Can opens

The London revival of Can-Can opens

1988-10-26

Cole Porter's 'Can Can' was revived in London at the Strand Theatre playing for just three months. The production was directed by David Taylor with choreography by Kenn Oldfield. Donna McKechnie starred as Mme. Pistache, alongside Bernard Alane, Norman Warwick and Janie Dee.

A Slice of Saturday Night opens at the Novello

A Slice of Saturday Night opens at the Novello

1989-08-01

After originating in Brighton and the Arts Theatre in London, 'A Slice of Saturday Night' transferred to the Strand Theatre for a 12 week run. It starred pop star Sonia as Sue and Dennis Waterman as Ric. The musical features book, lyrics and music by The Heather Brothers and all are 1960s pastiche songs, telling the life of the Club-a-Go-Go nightclub.

Buddy enjoys a London run

Buddy enjoys a London run

1995-10-06

The Buddy Holly jukebox musical tells the story of the life and career of rock and roll legend Buddy Holly. The show originally opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 1989 where it ran for six years. It transferred to the Strand Theatre, running for over 6 years, and clocking up over 5,000 performances.

The Rat Pack: Live From Las Vegas runs at the Novello

The Rat Pack: Live From Las Vegas runs at the Novello

2003-07-01

This fantastic stage musical began life at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2003, before transferring to the Strand Theatre later that year. The original cast included Mark Adams, George Daniel Long and Stephen Triffit, who brought the immortal characters of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr and Frank Sinatra to life. The show holds the record for playing in the most West End theatres.

Delfont Mackintosh rename the venue The Novello Theatre

Delfont Mackintosh rename the venue The Novello Theatre

2005-01-01

Cameron Mackintosh's Delfont Mackintosh Group renamed the theatre the Novello, after the composer Ivor Novello who lived in a flat above the venue.

Footloose is revived at the Novello

Footloose is revived at the Novello

2006-04-12

The Broadway flop musical 'Footloose' based on the film of the same name transferred into the Novello Theatre following a UK tour. Directed by Karen Bruce, the original London cast included Derek Hough as Ren, Lorna Want as Ariel and Cheryl Baker as Vi. The production enjoyed numerous UK tours and continues to be revised in the West End.

Desperately Seeking Susan has a limited run

Desperately Seeking Susan has a limited run

2007-11-15

The 1985 American comedy-drama was turned into a musical which opened at the Novello Theatre in 2007. The show posted closing notices just two weeks after opening and went on to loose £3.5million. The musical featured songs by Blondie and a book by Peter Michael Marino. Emma Williams starred as Susan, with Kelly Price and Steven Houghton co-starring.

The Drowsy Chaperone has its London premiere

The Drowsy Chaperone has its London premiere

2007-06-06

The Broadway musical 'The Drowsy Chaperone' transferred to the Novello Theatre, where it closed after fewer than 100 performances. Despite the British cast of star names, enthusiasm for the production was not generated, and it suffered in the hands of the critics. Elaine Paige returned to the stage in the title role and was joined by John Partridge and Summer Strallen.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens at the Novello

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens at the Novello

2009-12-12

Debbie Allen's all-African-American production of the Tennessee Williams classic transferred to the Novello Theatre from Broadway. James Earl Jones starred as Big Daddy, alongside Phylicia Rashad as Big Mama. Anika Noni Rose reprised her role as Maggie, but Adrian Lester took on the role of Brick. The production won the 2010 Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play.

Spring Awakening has its London premiere

Spring Awakening has its London premiere

2009-03-21

Another flop musical followed at the Novello, as the Tony Award winning musical 'Spring Awakening' had its London debut, following a brief tryout period at the Lyric Hammersmith. The show ran for just 2 months, but went on to win the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

Onassis plays at the Novello

Onassis plays at the Novello

2010-10-12

This new play based on the life of Aristotle Onassis and his relationships with Maria Callas and Jackie Kennedy failed to impress the critics, despite starring Robert Lyndsay in the title role. The play was written by Martin Sherman and was directed by Nancy Meckler.  

Betty Blue Eyes has its world premiere

Betty Blue Eyes has its world premiere

2011-04-13

A new musical by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe opened at the Novello, produced by Cameron Mackintosh. Based on Alan Bennett's 'A Private Function' the production was directed by Richard Eyre and featured choreography by Stephen Mear. Sarah Lancashire and Reece Shearsmith starred in the production which gained very positive reviews. Despite this, the public did not warm to it and it closed after just six months.

Crazy For You transfers to the Novello

Crazy For You transfers to the Novello

2011-10-08

The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre production of the Tony Award winning Gershwin Musical 'Crazy for You' transferred to the Novello following a sell out season. The show was directed by Tim Sheader and featured choreography by Stephen Mear. Clare Foster starred in the production which enjoyed a six month run.

Mamma Mia! transfers to the Novello

Mamma Mia! transfers to the Novello

2013-09-06

Hit Abba musical 'Mamma Mia!' transferred to its third West End location, opening at the Novello Theatre in June of 2013. The show has been seen by over 54 million people worldwide and has grossed over $2 billion since opening on Broadway in 1999.

Noises Off transfers from the Old Vic Theatre

Noises Off transfers from the Old Vic Theatre

2012-03-24

The Old Vic's Christmas production of 'Noises Off' by Michael Fryan transferred to the Novello Theatre where it continued into 2012.

Past Shows at Novello Theatre