New London Theatre
The New London Theatre that we see today opened in January 1973. Designed by Paul Tvrtkovic, the auditorium of the theatre was designed to be flexible to be able to play host to unusual works and experimental productions and featured revolutionary features, including the large revolve which allowed the stage, the orchestra pit and some of the stalls seating to be turned 360°. Prior to this building, the site had played host to entertainment venues since the 1600s – a tavern resided in this space up until 1847, when a new saloon known as the Turkish Saloon or Mogul Saloon was built and often frequented by Nell Gwynn. The venue became known as the Middlesex Music Hall and enjoyed great success over the years, expanding in size.
It was the 1919 acquisition by George Grossmith Jr and Edward Laurillard that saw the site transformed into a theatre, incorporating the existing Mogul Saloon as the theatre bar. The complex was known as the Winter Garden Theatre.
Upon demolition in 1959, the New London Theatre took form, and in 1972 began to operate as a television recording studio before officially opening as a theatre on 2nd January 1973. The first production to play this house was The Unknown Soldier and His Wife, starring Peter Ustinov. The musical Grease arrived later that year, and launched the career of film actor Richard Gere. Bruce Forsyth performed his one-man show here in 1975, and 1977 saw the arrival of a new Lionel Bart musical, simply titled Lionel, which was made up of the works of Lionel Blair. Between 1977 and 1980 the theatre was used as a television studio and also as a conference centre, utilising the revolutionary design of the building to its maximum potential.
But in 1981, the New London Theatre returned to running as a theatre with the arrival of a new musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and produced by Cameron Mackintosh. The show was Cats. Starring Brian Blessed, Elaine Paige, Bonnie Langford, Wayne Sleep, Sarah Brightman, Paul Nicholas and a cast of the best singers and dancers London had to offer, the show was a triumph and ran for 21 years.
The success of the theatre has varied since the closure of Cats, with the most successful production being the transfer from the National Theatre of War Horse, which enjoyed a seven year run from April 2009. Andrew Lloyd Webber will return to the New London Theatre in October 2016 with School of Rock, which opened on Broadway in December 2015.
The auditorium has two levels - Stalls and Dress Circle.
The Stalls offers good views throughout, encompassing the thrust design of the stage. There is a good rake in the seating, and the overhang of the Dress Circle does not affect views.
The Dress Circle is only five rows deep, and although the legroom isn't ample, the seats offer excellent views of the stage.
|School of Rock||November 2016||-||-|
|Show Boat||April 2016||-||Review|
|War Horse||April 2009||March 2016||Review|
|Imagine This - A New Musical||November 2008||December 2008||Review|
|Gone With the Wind - A New Musical||April 2008||June 2008||Review|
|The RSC's King Lear & The Seagull||November 2007||January 2008||
|Blue Man Group||November 2005||June 2007|
|Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat||March 2003||September 2005||Review|
|Umoja||September 2002||February 2003|
|Cats||May 1981||May 2002||Review|
Fun Fact – Whilst Cats opened at the New London Theatre, the building had previously been called the Winter Garden. In New York, there is a theatre named the Winter Garden on Broadway which in 1982 saw the opening of a transfer from the West End – the new Lloyd Webber musical Cats.