Theatre Royal Drury Lane is a large West End theatre that has played host to a number of noteworthy musicals.
The Grade I listed building was originally constructed in 1812; however, this is not the full extent of the theatre’s history. Prior to this, the first theatre on that site was constructed in 1660 and, since then, there have been three other theatre buildings, including the one which stands at the location today.
The theatre was renowned for its spectacular Victorian melodramas and pantomimes but, since the 1920s, its history has mirrored the development of the modern musical. It has hosted a variety of productions, from the original London productions of American musicals Rose Marie, The Desert Song, and Show Boat, through Ivor Novello’s romantic operettas and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ground-breaking post-war shows, to musicals The Producers and The Lord Of The Rings.
My Fair Lady held the record as the theatre’s longest running-show for many years but Cameron Mackintosh’s record-breaking production of Miss Saigon, at ten years, is the current record holder. Following the subsequent Shrek The Musical, it hosted the family spectacular Roald Dahl’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, directed by Sam Mendes.
In 2013, Andrew Lloyd Webber undertook a £4 million redevelopment of the 1812 building that restored the Rotunda, Grand Staircase and Grand Saloon to their original Regency style. During productions, there are regular daily tours of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
In early January 2019, Theatre Royal Drury Lane closed for 20 months to undergo a £45 million renovation project, which will reduce audience capacity but create wider seats with more legroom and better sightlines.