The Palace Theatre London is located at the intersection between Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue, and is a large and imposing red-brick structure that stands out amongst the other buildings in the vicinity. Built in 1891, the Palace Theatre was designed by Thomas Edward Collcutt and commissioned by Richard D’Oyly Carte, who wanted the theatre to become the home of English grand opera. As was Carte’s wish, the theatre opened with the name the Royal English Opera House in January of 1891 with the first production being Arthur Sullivan’s Ivanhoe. The opera ran for over half a year and was a great success, but when it finished, Carte had no production to follow it and so he had to close down the theatre. The venue was then sold by Carte at a loss and opened as the Palace Theatre of Varities, becoming a huge success.
The later part of the twentieth century saw two very successful runs at the Palace Theatre. The first was Jesus Christ Superstar which ran from 1972 until 1980, and the second was Les Miserables which opened at the Palace in 1985 and ran for nineteen years, transferring to Queen’s Theatre in 2004 where it remains today as the world’s longest-running musical of all time.
From March 2009, the large, glittery shoe of Priscilla Queen of the Desert greeted those who entered the Palace Theatre, and the show recently played its final performance on New Year’s Eve 2011. Priscilla was followed by Singin’ In The Rain which opened in 2012 and closed on 8th June 2013. Derren Brown’s latest show, Infamous ran at the Palace Theatre between June 24th and August 17th 2013.
The Commitments opened on 21st September 2013. (Source: www.palacetheatrelondon.org)