The Piccadilly Theatre is the present home of the Frankie Valli and the Four Season’s musical Jersey Boys.
London’s Piccadilly Theatre is one of the newest venues, opening in April 1928. Built with a plain façade and an Art Deco style interior, designed by Marc-Henri Levy and Gaston Laverdet, the Piccadilly retains the green and gold colour scheme to this day. Additionally, when the theatre first opened it was one of the largest in London, with the original souvenir brochure boasting that ‘if all the bricks used in the building were laid in a straight line, they would stretch from London to Paris’! Located in a thriving tourist area just behind Piccadilly Circus, the theatre is right in the centre London and is close to a number of other attractions and entertainment sites.
Since opening in 1928, the Piccadilly Theatre has been used for a wide range of entertainment, spanning from cinema to ballets and dramas. Their opening musical, Blue Eyes, starred one of the most celebrated actresses of the era, Evelyn Laye, after which it was taken over by Warner Brothers and used as a cinema. This period of the theatre’s history is notable as it was the first place in Britain to show a talking picture, a film called The Singing Fool starring Al Jolson, before reopening as a venue for live performance and drama in November 1929.
Later on the Piccadilly Theatre was converted into a cabaret restaurant and reopened in 1936 as The London Casino, under which name it was renowned for its over-the-top stage shows. During the Second World War it was one of many significant London buildings to be damaged during bombings, with a German bomb landing on part of the theatre and necessitating extensive repairs in the 1950s. However, the theatre reopened once more under its present name and was recognised as a location for plays, revues and indeed musicals, making its mark by hosting the first ever London performances of A Streetcar Named Desire and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?. The theatre was also the venue for broadcast entertainment such as the variety show Live from the Piccadilly, hosted by Jimmy Tarbuck, in the 1980s and with the Beatles recording material in the 1960s.
In the 1990s the theatre moved more solidly towards musicals and dance, with Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake becoming the most successful commercial ballet season ever to take place on the West End stage and with later productions of musicals Spend Spend Spend, Jailhouse Rock, Guys and Dolls, Grease the Musical, and Ghost the Musical which closed in October 2012 to make way for the world premier of Viva Forever, the Spice Girls Musical that closed after 8 months in the West End on the 29th June. Dirty Dancing opened at the Piccadilly Theatre on the 13th July 2013 and ran until February 2014 when the show then embarked in a UK tour. After a successful opening at the Prince Edward Theatre, Jersey Boys transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre, opening officially on March 14th 2014.
Access and Facilities
- A cloakroom is available
- There are bars on all three levels
- There are male and female toilets located on all three levels
- Wheelchair access is available on the Royal Circle level