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The horseshoe-shaped Lyric Theatre, decorated with crimson coloured furnishings across the chairs, carpets and curtains, offers views of the stage from all angles. But take the time to look up at the beautiful ceiling too.
The Lyric Theatre’s first production Dorothy was actually responsible for getting it built – the original run of the comic opera at the Prince of Wales Theatre was so successful that its producer Henry Leslie pocketed £100,000 (more than a staggering £8 million today!) and decided to build a brand new theatre on the lively Shaftesbury Avenue.
Unlike some theatres which went through experimental periods or shut down entirely for some years, the Lyric was consistently putting on plays by top playwrights George Bernard Shaw, Eugene O’Neill and J.B. Priestley among others. This star-studded quality passed on to its actors, as productions in later years at the Lyric included among its ranks Kenneth Branagh, John Malkovich, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen.
The Lyric Theatre has also been a favourite venue for musicals, staging the first production of the stalwart Blood Brothers in 1983 (now at the Phoenix Theatre), the only West End production of Gigi, as well as a five-year run of Five Guys Named Moe in the ‘90s and the third London revival of Cabaret in 2006. A slightly different kind of musical took up residency in 2009; Thriller Live, the big-budget Michael Jackson tribute concert, honours the late King of Pop with a two hour stage show of his greatest hits.