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Duke of York's Theatre
Duke of York's Theatre in June 2006
Address
St Martin's Lane
City
Country UK
Designation Grade II listed
Architect Walter Emden
Owned by Ambassador Theatre Group
Capacity 640 on 3 levels
(900 on 4 levels in 1892)
Type West End Theatre
Opened 10 September 1892
Closed 1940–43 war damage
Previous names Trafalgar Theatre
The Trafalgar
Royal Court Downstairs (during redevelopment at Sloane Square)
Production Arcadia
www.ambassadortickets.com/Duke-Of-York%27s/Information
Coordinates: 51°30′36″N 0°07′39″W / 51.51°N 0.1275°W / 51.51; -0.1275

The Duke of York's Theatre is a West End Theatre in St Martin's Lane, in the City of Westminster. It was built for Frank Wyatt and his wife, Violet Melnotte, who retained ownership of the theatre, until her death in 1935. It opened on 10 September 1892 as the Trafalgar Square Theatre, with Wedding Eve. The theatre, designed by architect Walter Emden became known as the Trafalgar Theatre in 1894 and the following year became the Duke of York's to honour the future King George V[1].

One of the earliest musical comedies, Go Bang, was a success at the theatre in 1894. In 1900, Jerome K. Jerome's Miss Hobbs was staged as well as David Belasco's Madame Butterfly, which was seen by Puccini, who later turned it into the famous opera. This was also the theatre where J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up debuted on 27 December 1904. Many famous British actors have appeared here, including Basil Rathbone, who played Alfred de Musset in Madame Sand in June 1920, returning in November 1932 as the Unknown Gentleman in Tonight or Never.

In the late 1970s the freehold of the theatre was purchased by Capital Radio and it closed in 1979 for refurbishment. It reopened in February 1980 and the first production under the patronage of Capital Radio was Rose, starring Glenda Jackson. The Ambassador Theatre Group bought the theatre in 1992 and this coincided with London's hottest show, The Royal Court's production of Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden. A host of successes followed including Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show (celebrating its 21st Birthday) and the hugely successful Royal Court Classics Season in 1995. Comedian Pat Condell also did comedy sketches which were later released onto DVD.[2]

Contents

Present Day

Rent - The Musical

Today, the theatre is the London headquarters of the Ambassador Theatre Group, forming part of their portfolio of eight venues. It is also the producing offices of Sonia Friedman Productions, whose revival of In Celebration starring Hollywood leading man Orlando Bloom played until 15 September 2007. An updated version of Jonathan Larson's Rent - The Musical, titled 'Rent Remixed', opened on 2 October 2007. Although initially booking until April 5, 2008, the production closed on February 2, 2008.[3] The theatre is currently host to Speaking in Tongues, which is booking until December 12, 2009.

The theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in September 1960[4].

Recent and present productions

Nearby Tube Stations

References

  • Who's Who in the Theatre, edited by John Parker, tenth edition, revised, London, 1947, p.1183-4.
  • Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950, John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 108-9 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3

External links

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