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Apollo Victoria Theatre

The Apollo Victoria Theatre in London is one of the theaters where the musical Wicked is currently running.

ArchitectureEdit

The theatre was built by architects Ernest Wamsley Lewis and William Edward Trent in 1929 for Provincial Cinematograph Theatres, a part of the Gaumont British chain. The theatre was built with two identical façades on Wilton and Vauxhall Bridge Roads. Construction is principally of concrete, with strong horizontal banding along the exterior sides of the auditorium. By contrast the entrances feature a cantilevered canopy, and are framed by vertical channelling, with two black marble columns rising to the roof line. The entrance is simple, making use of chrome trimmings, this leads to a nautical themed interior in the original Art Deco style that makes extensive use of concealed lighting, decorated with scallop shells and columns that burst into sculptured fountains at the ceiling.

Cinema and varietyEdit

The theatre opened as the New Victoria Cinema on 15 October 1930 with a film starring George Arlis in Old English, based on a stage play by John Galsworthy. It was equipped with a Compton 3 manual 15 rank theatre organ, played on the opening night by Reginald Foort. and the theatre also staged variety shows.

HauntingsEdit

The Apollo Vic, is said to be one of London’s more gently haunted theatres. It is reported that the Apollo Victoria is actually built on top of an ancient leyline.

Musical theatreEdit

Apollo victoria

Seating plan of the apollo Victoria (click to enlarge)

Musicals, including The Sound of Music, Camelot and Fiddler on the Roof played at the theatre in the early 1980s. In 1984, the interior was extensively modified by the introduction of a 'race track' that ran through the audience, for the show Starlight Express with performers on roller skates. The show premièred on 27 March, composed byAndrew Lloyd Webber and directed by Trevor Nunn and ran for 7,406 performances, over 18 years. With the removal of the 'tracks', the interior was extensively restored by architects Jaques Muir and Partners. This included the removal of 3,500 incandescent lamps that had become difficult to maintain and consumed a considerable amount of power. These were replaced by 88,000 low power LEDs specially designed for the theatre, creating the first auditorium completely lit in this way. Another Lloyd Webber production followed, Bombay Dreams premièred on 19 June 2002. It was created by A. R. Rahman with lyrics by Don Black and was directed by Steven Pimlott, closing after 1,500 performances on 13 June 2004. This was followed by the return to the West End of the Bee Gee's musical Saturday Night Fever on 6 July 2004, closing 22 October 2005 to tour. This was followed on 10 April 2006 by the jukebox musical Movin' Out, featuring the music of Billy Joel. This starred starring James Fox but ran for only two months.

Recent and present productionsEdit

  • The Sound of Music (August 17, 1981 – September 18, 1982)
  • Camelot (November 23, 1982 – February 5, 1983)
  • Fiddler on the Roof (June 28, 1983 – October 29, 1983)
  • Starlight Express (March 27, 1984 – January 12, 2002) by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe
  • Bombay Dreams (June 19, 2002 – June 13, 2004) by A. R. Rahman, Don Black and Meera Syal
  • Saturday Night Fever (July 2, 2004 – February 18, 2006) by The Bee Gees and Nan Knighton
  • Movin' Out (March 28, 2006 – May 22, 2006) by Twyla Tharp and Billy Joel
  • Wicked (September 27, 2006 - Current), by Stephen Schwartz.

Nearby TransportEdit

  • London Victoria Station
  • Victoria Tube Station (Victoria, Circle and District lines)
  • Victoria Coach Station
  • Numerous local bus services

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