Whilst the Gillian Lynne Theatre, formerly the New London, is a modern building there has been entertainment on the site since Elizabethan times. The theatre is close to both Covent Garden and Holborn tubes.
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.
In 1991 the building was purchased by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group and, in turn, the year 2000 saw it become part of Really Useful Theatres when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Bridgepoint Capital purchased Stoll Moss Theatres.
January 2002 heard the announcement that Cats, the longest-running musical in West End and Broadway history, was to close. The show ended the first of its nine lives, on its 21st birthday, 11 May 2002. The final performance was also broadcast on a large screen in the Covent Garden Piazza.
The 21st-century productions have been Bill Kenwright’s new production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2003) starring Stephen Gately, The Blue Man Group (2005) who brought a whole new theatrical experience to London, Ian McKellen led the RSC ensemble casts of King Lear and The Seagull (2007) and short runs for the new musicals Gone With the Wind (2008) and Imagine This (2008). The National Theatre’s award-winning stage production of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse transferred to the theatre in 2009 and played to packed houses for over eight years.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash hit Broadway musical School of Rock opened in October 2016.
In June 2018, the theatre was officially renamed the Gillian Lynne Theatre, after Cats and The Phantom of the Opera's renowned choreographer, who died days later, on 1 July 2018 at the age of 92.
(Source: LW Theatres)