Andrew Lloyd Webber is the composer of some of the world’s best-known musicals.
When Sunset Boulevard joined School Of Rock, Cats and The Phantom Of The Opera on Broadway in 2017, Andrew became the only person to equal the record set in 1953 by Rodgers and Hammerstein with four Broadway shows running concurrently. Other musicals he has composed include Aspects Of Love, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Love Never Dies.
As well as being knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in 1992 for services to the theatre throughout the world and being appointed Honorary Life Peer in 1997, Andrew's awards as a composer and producer include 7 Tonys, 7 Oliviers, 14 Ivor Novellos and an Oscar.
Andrew Lloyd Webber has been a theatre owner since 1983 and now owns seven London theatres.
The Other Palace has an extraordinary history dating back to 1766 when it began life as the Charlotte Chapel. By 1924 the chapel had fallen into disrepair and was converted into a cinema called the St. James’ Picture Theatre. In 1931 the cinema reopened as the Westminster Theatre, with the chapel’s crypt becoming dressing rooms, green room and stalls bar.
The theatre fell dark in 1990 and after a long campaign to save it from demolition, it was destroyed by a fire in 2002. Following the loss of the theatre, the Theatres Trust and Save London’s Theatres campaign fought continuously to reinstate a theatre on site. In 2009 Westminster council granted planning permission for a theatre to be built.
In 2012 the current theatre opened as St. James Theatre, featuring a 312-seat main theatre and a 120-seat studio theatre. The prominent artistic and social destination offered a varied programme of drama, musical theatre, cabaret and jazz.
St. James Theatre was acquired by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatres Group in 2016. After closing its doors in January 2017 for refurbishment, the theatre reopened in Feb 2017 as The Other Palace, the home of musical theatre.
Although there have been various earlier entertainment buildings on the site the reconstructed Adelphi Theatre, with its art deco interiors, opened to the public in December 1930 with Jessie Matthews starring in Ever Green.
The front-of-house areas were restored to their original lustre and extravagance in 1993 when Andrew Lloyd Webber became co-owner and opened his musical production of Sunset Boulevard. Other famous productions include Gertrude Lawrence in Cole Porter’s Nymph Errant, Ivor Novello’s The Dancing Years, Bless The Bride, Beatrice Lillie as Auntie Mame, Van Johnson in The Music Man, Lionel Bart’s Blitz! and Maggie May, Charlie Girl with Anna Neagle, a revival of Me and My Girl originally starring Robert Lindsay and Emma Thompson and in the theatre’s longest run (over nine years), the new Broadway production of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago. Revivals of Evita and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat have proved enormously popular.
For more information visit the official Adelphi Theatre website.
The Cambridge is one of the youngest and most attractive theatres in the West End, having opened in 1930 with interior decoration by Serge Chemayeff of Waring and Gillow. These were completely restored under the supervision of Carl Toms in 1986.
A comfortable size for both plays and musicals productions at the theatre have included 1066 and All That, Heartbreak House with Edith Evans and Robert Donat, Billy Liar, Half a Sixpence with Tommy Syteele, Bruce Forsyth in Little Me, Peter O’ Toole in Man and Superman, Return to the Forbidden Planet, Fame, The Beautiful Game, Jerry Springer –The Opera and both the original London production and the recent revival of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago.
Although the Gillian Lynne is a modern building there has entertainment on the site since Elizabethan times. The first production in the current building was a television recording of Marlene Dietrich’s one-woman show and the first full production was The Unknown Soldier and his Wife in 1973, written by and starring Peter Ustinov. Subsequent productions include Grease with Richard Gere, Bruce Forsyth’s one-man show and Sheila Hancock in Deja Revue.
1981 saw the debut of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats starring Elaine Paige, Brian Blessed, Wayne Sleep, Paul Nicholas, Sarah Brightman and Bonnie Langford. Direction was by Trevor Nunn with choreography by Gillian Lynne. The show ran for 21 years. Umoja, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Blue Man Group and Gone with the Wind have subsequently played at the theatre.
Since 1705 there have been four theatres on the site of Her Majesty’s. The current building was erected by the famous Actor-Manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree to house his spectacular productions of Shakespeare and literary adaptations and opened in 1897. The theatre hosted the original production of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion and Oscar Asche’s record breaking Chu Chin Chow. During the rest of the Twentieth Century it was home to many successful musicals including Noel Coward’s Bitter Sweet (1929), Brigadoon (1949), Paint Your Wagon (1953), West Side Story (1958), Bye Bye Birdie (1961), Lock Up Your Daughters (1962), Fiddler On The Roof (1967) and the current production of The Phantom Of The Opera which opened in 1986.
The London Palladium – designed by Frank Matcham – opened on Boxing Day 1910 and became famous, partly through television, as the “Ace Variety Theatre of the World”. It was a venue to which all performers aspired and has hosted more annual Royal Variety Performances than any other theatre.
Among the greats that have played here are Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Sophie Tucker, Ethel Merman, Howard Keel, Arthur Askey, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Tommy Steele, Julie Andrews, Ken Dodd, the Two Ronnies, Bruce Forsyth and Cliff Richard. In 1979 Yul Brynner arrived in a spectacular production of The King and I which heralded further musicals in recent years including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver!, Saturday Night Fever, The King and I starring Elaine Paige, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Tommy Steele in Scrooge and Sinatra at the Palladium and the hugely successful revivals of the family favourites The Sound of Musicand The Wizard of Oz.
Since 1663 the Theatre Royal Drury Lane has provided entertainment for the masses and has been visited by every monarch since the Restoration. The theatre has not one, but two, royal boxes and it was here that the public first heard both the National Anthem and Rule Britannia. Previous buildings were managed by the great actor David Garrick and the famous playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan and the current, fourth, building was opened in 1812.
The theatre was renowned for its spectacular Victorian melodramas and pantomimes but since the 1920s its history has mirrored the development of the modern musical. From the original London productions of American musicals Rose Marie, The Desert Song and Show Boat, through Ivor Novello’s romantic operettas and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s groundbreaking post-war shows to The Producers and The Lord of the Rings. My Fair Lady held the record as the theatres longest run for many years but Cameron Mackintosh’s record breaking production of Miss Saigon, at ten years, is the current record holder.
In addition to his many world-famous shows on stage, Andrew has a huge selection of film credits, including producing the big-screen production of The Phantom of the Opera starring Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler.