Cambridge Theatre

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About Cambridge Theatre

The Cambridge Theatre has had a wacky history, reinventing itself as needed – it’s been a cinema, an opera house and a magic show venue!

The first London production of Chicago opened its doors here in 1977 – only to come back once again after moving from its Adelphi Theatre revival in 2006.

The theatre, originally adorned with gold and silver décor, was painted red in 1950, before being refurbished in 1987 back to how it looked at first.

History

Built amidst a flood of five other theatres being erected in 1930, the Cambridge Theatre has hosted a number of hits – and plenty of stars – throughout the years. Opening with a revue (a popular genre of satire and skits in the 1930s), it was used for concerts and travelling trade shows in its early life.

By 1950, it underwent a bold redecoration that replaced its elegant gold and silver colour scheme with red painted walls, an elaborate candelabra and sparkling chandeliers. An unpopular style choice, it was restored to its original lighting and a softer cream design when it was under new management in 1987.

In terms of productions, the Cambridge Theatre was lucky enough to have numerous stars tread its boards – Audrey Hepburn made her stage debut as a chorus girl in 1950, while Tommy Steele, Bruce Forsyth and Ingrid Bergman all made their impressions during the ‘60s. A similar star-filled run occurred in the 1980s with Joan Collins, Peter O’Toole and Lulu all taking their turns to share the spotlight.

No history of the Cambridge Theatre would be complete without its numerous successes, notably musicals – its production of Return to the Forbidden Planet won the Olivier for Best Musical in 1989. It was also the first West End theatre to stage both Chicago and Fame The Musical, oth famous for their film adaptations. And, of course, one cannot forget the 2003 production of Jerry Springer The Opera featuring adulterers dressed as babies, a war of words between Satan and Jesus, and tap-dancing Ku Klux Klan members.

Where is Cambridge Theatre

32-34 Earlham Street London WC2H 9HU