Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More Than a Taste of 'Spamalot' at the Palace Theatre - The Venue

The Palace Theatre originally opened in 1891 as the Royal English Opera House. Over 100 years later the terra-cotta red-brick theatre is still an imposing presence at the intersection called Cambridge Circus. It is the only theatre in London that occupies an entire block. The marble, dark earthy colors, mirrors and ornate molding (espcially in the stalls bar and auditorium) with the unique exterior makes for one of the more beautiful theatres in London.

Among productions that have opened here include several Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals: “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1972), “Song & Dance (1982) and “The Woman in White (2004). A revival of Lloyd Webber’s “Whistle Down the Wind” was the last occupant prior to the Sept 2006 opening of the current tenant “Monty Python’s Spamalot”

In 1985, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s musical 'Les Miserables' opened here and became the longest running show in the building’s history with 7,602 performances before transferring to the Queen’s Theatre in 2004. The closure of 'Les Miserables' allowed for a substantial internal refusbishment to restore some of the building’s original splendor. The theatre has a capacity of 1,400 on four levels of seating: stalls, dress circle, grand circle and balcony. To preserve unobstructed sight lines of the stage, the uppermost level gives new meaning to stadium seating. Handrails are included. Pictured below: Palace Theatre fa├žade; hallway and bar on the stalls level; rear exterior of the theatre along Shaftesbury Ave.


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