Cambridge Theatre
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The Cambridge is one of the youngest and most attractive theatres in the West End. Some highlights of its varied history are listed below.
The Cambridge Theatre, London

1930: Opened 4th September. Built by its first Manager, B.A. Meyer, to designs by architects Wimperis Simpson and Guthrie. Constructed by Gee Walker and Slater Ltd, the interior decoration was by Serge Chemayeff of Waring and Gillow. First production was André Charlot’s revue Masquerade with Beatrice Lillie followed by Charles Laughton in the Edgar Wallace thriller On the Spot.

1931: Kong – A Musical Play with Oscar Asche and Ursula Jeans and

Elizabeth of England with Phyllis Neilson-Terry and Matheson Lang.

1937: The historical revue 1066 and All That was revived.

1939: The theatre became a venue for film trade shows and occasional concerts.

1942: The cast for George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House included Edith Evans, Robert Donat, Ursula Jeans and, making her stage debut, Deborah Kerr. Peter Pan starring Glynis Johns played over the Christmas season.

1944: The Johann Strauss operetta A Night in Venice.

1950: Audrey Hepburn appeared in the chorus of Cecil Landau’s revue Sauce Piquant. The theatre came under the control of Tom Arnold and Prince Littler and the interior decoration scheme was renewed.

1955-1956: William Douglas Home’s The Reluctant Debutante enjoyed a long run.

1960: Billy Liar By Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall began a run lasting into 1962.

1962: Signpost to Murder with Margaret Lockwood.

1963: Harold Fielding produced Half a Sixpence starring Tommy Steele.

1964: Bruce Forsyth played no fewer than eight roles opposite Avril Angers in the Neil Simon musical Little Me.

1967: Patrick Wymark led the cast in John Mortimer’s play The Judge and John Hanson, starred in Bernard Delfont and Emile Littler‘s revival of The Desert Song.

1970: A season by the National Theatre Company included Hedda Gabler and Cyrano de Bergerac.

1971: Ingrid Bergman in Captain Brassbound’s Conversion and Ralph Richardson in John Osborne’s West of Suez, both produced by HM Tennent Ltd. Ian McKellen played Hamlet.

1972: Behind the Fringe with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

1974: Michael Denison played Pooh Bah with an otherwise all black cast in The Black Mikado.

1976: Janet Suzman in The Three Sisters and Nyree Dawn Porter in Anastasia.

1977: The original London production of the musical Chicago.

1980: The Last of Mrs Cheyney starred Joan Collins.

1981: The New Orleans musical One Mo’ Time starred Vernel Bagneris.

1983: Peter O’Toole in Shaw’s Man and Superman.

1986: The theatre was taken over by Stoll Moss Theatres Ltd and the interior was completely restored to its original glory under the supervision of Carl Toms.

1987: The theatre re-opened with Peter Pan – The Musical starring Lulu and George Cole.

1988: The New D’Oyly Carte Company was launched with productions of Iolanthe and The Yeoman of the Guard and Adam Faith and Anita Dobson starred in Budgie – The Musical.

1989: Ron Moody and Liz Robertson in Sherlock Holmes – The Musical followed by Bob Carlton’s Olivier Award-winning Return to the Forbidden Planet which began a three-year run.

1995: The first stage production of Fame ­– The Musical.

1996: Grease transferred from the Dominion, taking residence for three years.

1999: Great Balls of Fire – The Jerry Lee Lewis Story.

2000: The Cambridge became a Really Useful Theatre when Lord Lloyd-Webber and Bridgepoint Capital purchased Stoll Moss Theatres Ltd. The world premiere of Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton’s new musical The Beautiful Game was on 26th September.

2001: Fame ­– The Musical returned to the West End theatre where it first opened.

2002: World premiere of Our House, the Madness musical.

2003: West End debut of the National Theatre production of Jerry Springer – The Opera.

2005: Darren Brown in Something Wicked This Way Comes and the Motown musical Dancing in the Streets.

2006: The record-breaking revival of Chicago transfers from the Adelphi Theatre, returning to the original scene of the show’s London debut in 1977.

2011: The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda transfers to the Cambridge Theatre. 

Since December 2005 the Cambridge Theatre has been owned 100% by the Really Useful Group Limited.

Mark Fox, with thanks to George Hoare and the Theatrical Bibliography

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