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Richard D’Oyly Carte opened the pioneering Savoy Theatre in 1881 as a place to stage comedic operas, including eight Gilbert & Sullivan shows. The Savoy Theatre is built on the grounds of the 13th century Savoy Palace, built by Peter Earl of Richmond on land that was bestowed to him by King Henry III. It was later the site for a hospital and a military prison. The Savoy was the first theatre to be lit electrically in 1881, with 1,200 bulbs. The ownership of the Savoy Theatre stayed in the D’Oyly Carte family until 1985, when the last member of the line died without an heir.
The Savoy Theatre was brought down by a fire as late as 1990. Despite the fact that the building’s original blueprints were long gone, it was restored with old interior designs. In recent years, its new ownership has veered in a more musical theatre direction, with productions of Legally Blonde, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Gypsy, Guys and Dolls & Funny Girl.