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The Apollo Theatre is one of six venues located on Shaftesbury Avenue, named for the Greek and Roman god Apollo, god of music and the arts. The front façade is adorned by four angels, perched at the top of the theatre. The original intended name for the theatre was The Mascot Theatre, after a lion and lizard adorned badge belonging to the owner that decorated the theatre was believed to bring good luck.
Its first production, The Belle of Bohemia caused some controversy on opening night, as audience members were invited exclusively instead of being ticket-buying members of the general public, causing some reviewers to even boycott the elitist premiere. This first production only ran for a handful of performances, but it was the Apollo Theatre’s decision a few years later to branch out of just musical entertainment that offered it a new lease of life as a premium venue for plays.
Having hosted dozens of plays, its two biggest hits were Boeing Boeing and Don’t Dress for Dinner.
The Apollo was briefly a member of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group from 2000 to 2005 – it was bought out by Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer of Nimax Theatres.
In its recent years, it’s hosted acclaimed hits including the Olivier and Tony Award-winning Jerusalem and the David Suchet and Zoe Wanamaker run of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.