On Tuesday 12 October Andrew Lloyd Webber hosted a celebration to mark the 100th Birthday of The London Palladium Theatre with stars who have graced its iconic stage over the past century. Russ Abbot, Michael Ball, Brian Conley, Jason Donovan, Ken Dodd OBE, Lesley Garrett, Sheila Hancock OBE, Peter Land, Gillian Lynne, Paul Merton, Des O’Connor, Elaine Paige, Nicholas Parsons OBE, Jonathan Pryce CBE, Philip Schofield, Bruce Welch and Hayley Westenra, were just some of the famous faces in attendance.
Bruce Forsyth CBE, who hosted the much-loved Sunday Night at the London Palladium, joined Andrew Lloyd Webber to unveil a commemorative plaque in the Palladium’s foyer in recognition of the theatre’s extraordinary past.
Andrew Lloyd Webber welcomed his guests and introduced Danielle Hope, who will play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz alongside Michael Crawford as The Wizard, at the Palladium next year. Guests joined together in a toast to the theatre and to performers past and present and Andrew, Bruce and Danielle cut a specially commissioned cake sculpture by Rachel Mount – an edible replica of the London Palladium with Tiller girls lining the top and previous show production posters lining the bottom.
Speaking at the event Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “Today’s celebration is about recognising the rich history of this wonderful theatre and the fantastic performers who have graced its stage. It is also about the beginning of the biggest programme of refurbishment and change in the Palladium’s history and I’m delighted to announce the restoration of the iconic revolving stage and plans for the complete refurbishment of the Front of House areas.”
The London Palladium is arguably the world’s most famous theatre, a great favourite with performers and audiences alike, with a rich entertainment history presenting variety, pantomime and spectacular family musicals. The legendary revolving stage which everyone remembers from the finale of television’s Sunday Night at The London Palladium is being restored and will feature in the elaborate stage design of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of The Wizard of Oz, opening at the Palladium in February 2011.
Andrew Lloyd Webber also announced his plans for the complete rebuilding and refurbishment of the front of house areas of the theatre. Prior to the first performance of The Wizard of Oz in February 2011 the main entrance facade will be fully repaired and refurbished, a new Box Office area will be created with direct access to the theatre, a new lift will improve accessibility to the stalls level and toilet facilities will be improved . The current Box Office will be converted into three new function spaces, the grandest of these will have the historic roof light reinstated and a new spiral staircase will link it directly with the existing Variety Bar.
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