The venue opens as the Waldorf Theatre
The Novello Theatre originally opened as the Waldorf Theatre at the start of the 20th Century.
The Novello Theatre originally opened as the Waldorf Theatre at the start of the 20th Century.
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.
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.
Comedian Leslie Henson and Firth Shephard co-lease the theatre and produce farces. The first are It's a Boy!, which was followed by It's a Girl!
Aren't Men Beasts!, another of the Henson and Shephard farces, is staged starring a young John Mills.
The theatre receives bomb damage during the Blitz. Fortunately, the damage is not so severe that it affects the lunchtime Shakespeare performances, though the actors have to navigate around rubble on the stage.
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.
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.
Sailor Beware!, a comedy by Philip King and Falkland Cary, runs for 1231 performances. The play follows a young sailor trying to trick his dragon of a mother-in-law into realising her awful behaviour.
Writer William Golding adapted his only play for the theatre, Brass Butterfly. It is a comedy set in Roman times starring Alastair Sim and George Cole.
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.
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.
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 theatre received Grade II listed status from English Heritage, acknowledging its architectural significance.
Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing opens, starring Felicity Kendal and Roger Rees. It wins an Evening Standard Award for Best Play in the same year.
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.
Barry Humphries and his alter-ego Dame Edna sell out over 200 performances of Back with a Vengeance!, breaking box office records to date.
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.
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.
Musical Someone Like You, by Robin Midgley and Fay Weldon, with lyrics by Dee Shipman, and music by Petula Clark, runs at the theatre. Reviews are mixed, but the post-US Civil War show quickly closes.
Leonardo the Musical: A Portrait of Love opens. With changes to the show after its initial Oxford run, the show went on to flop in London. The fictionalised story of the creation of the Mona Lisa closed 5 weeks later due to most of the audience leaving during the 4-hour performances.
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.
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.
Cameron Mackintosh's Delfont Mackintosh Group renamed the theatre the Novello, after the composer Ivor Novello who lived in a flat above the venue.
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.
The RSC comes to the Novello for the winter season, staging their current productions of Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It.
The RSC returns to the Novello for the winter, this time with three productions: Much Ado About Nothing, Anthony and Cleopatra and The Tempest.
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.
Shadowlands, first a TV film by William Nicholson, is adapted for the stage in 1989. The revival opens at the Novello. Starring Janie Dee and Charles Dance, the play tells the story of the friendship between an Oxford don, CS Lewis and Joy Gresham.
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.
Into the Hoods, by ZooNation and Katie Prince, is a popular street dance show that has a successful run. The musical loosely follows the plot of Sondheim’s Into the Woods.
The RSC come to London for the winter with Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Taming of the Shrew.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The London production of Mamma Mia! Celebrates 15 years in the West End. Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus join the cast on stage to celebrate the anniversary. The show finale is broadcast on ITV.
The London production of Mamma Mia! celebrates its 7000th performance. The show transferred to the Novello in 2013.
Mamma Mia! announces it is extending its run until 20 October 2018.
Mamma Mia! has been at the Novello Theatre for 5 years, the third theatre of its London run.
The Old Vic's Christmas production of 'Noises Off' by Michael Fryan transferred to the Novello Theatre where it continued into 2012.