Dates: 1907 – present
Originally called the Queens Theatre, the venue was renamed the Sondheim Theatre in 2019 when it closed for refurbishment. The renaming is in honour of Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday on 22nd March 2020. The renaming was announced by Cameron Mackintosh on 5 July 2019, and by 2 August the new signage was in place on the exterior of the theatre.
The architect was W G R Sprague who designed the theatre as a pair with the Gielgud Theatre on the adjoining corner of Shaftesbury Avenue.
Current owner: Delfont Mackintosh Theatres
Official website: http://www.sondheimtheatre.co.uk
Selected Past Productions
Some information from the Queens Theatre website
- 2019 December – Les Miserables is to reopen, in a newly staged production
- 2019 August 2 – Theatre renamed the Sondheim Theatre in honour of Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday on 22 March 2020.
- 2019 July 13 – The final London performance of the original staging of Les Miserables is filmed for future broadcast / distribution.
- 2019 Cameron Mackintosh is to refurbish the Queens Theatre, the Gielgud Theatre, the Noel Coward Theatre and the Wyndhams Theatre
- 2012 1 June marked the 11,000th performance of Les Misérables in London.
- 2010 On 8 October Les Misérables celebrated the 25th anniversary of its original opening at the Barbican Centre in 1985.
- Les Miserables (12 April 2004 to 13 July 2019) transferred from the Palace Theatre
- The Tamer Tamed (22 January 2004 – 6 March 2004) RSC production by John Fletcher
- The Taming of the Shrew (15 January 2004 – 6 March 2004) RSC production
- Cyberjam (23 September 2003 – 3 January 2004)
- The Rocky Horror Show (23 June 2003 – 5 July 2003) by Richard O’Brien, starring Jonathan Wilkes and John Stalker
- Contact (23 October 2002 – 10 May 2003) by Susan Stroman and John Weildman
- Umoja: The Spirit of Togetherness (18 June 2002 – 31 August 2002) by Todd Twala, Thenbi Nyandeni and Ian von Memerty
- Mysteries (26 February 2002 – 18 May 2002) adaptation by Speir Opera
- The Hobbit (28 November 2001 – 9 February 2002) by Glyn Robbins from J. R. R. Tolkien’s book
- 1999 Maggie Smith ‘acted with every muscle’ as Miss Shepherd, the smelly, eccentric Lady in the Van, who lived in playwright Alan Bennett’s drive for many years.
- Bugsy Malone (1997) National Youth Music Theatre production, starring Sheridan Smith and Jamie Bell
- 1996 Stephen Sondheim’s love triangle Passion ran for 232 performances and won Maria Friedman an Olivier Award for her role as Fosca.
- 1990 Two sisters, Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave, and their niece Jemma appeared in Three Sisters. It was the first time the sisters had acted on stage together.
- 1986 A major revival of Leonard Bernstein’s musical about New York, Wonderful Town, won both Olivier and Variety Club Awards.
- 1982 Another Country, Julian Mitchell’s story about Guy Burgess’s schooldays, starred Rupert Everett and launched Kenneth Branagh’s career. Everett was subsequently replaced by Daniel Day Lewis and Colin Firth.
- Saturday, Sunday, Monday (1974) Franco Zeffirelli directed Joan Plowright. By Eduardo de Filippo.
- 1972 Private Lives Starring Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens.
- Marlene Dietrich (29 May 1972 – 10 June 1972) She had first sung in cabaret at the Queen’s in 1964, and her performance can be heard on a live recording.
- 1966 Noël Coward made his final West End appearance in A Suite in Three Keys. In August and September Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre presented their first West End season, including famous productions of The Royal Hunt of the Sun and Othello.
- 1961 Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse’s thought-provoking musical Stop the World I Want to Get Off, about the value of personal versus career choices, ran for 478 performances before transferring to Broadway.
- 1959 The theatre reopened on 8 July with John Gielgud’s Shakespearean recital Ages of Man. Architects Westwood Sons & Partners reconstructed it at a cost of £250,000, with Sir Hugh Casson acting as consultant on the décor.
- 1940 The Queen’s was the first West End theatre to be put out of action by enemy bombing on 24 September, bringing to a premature close the highly successful run of Rebecca with Owen Nares, Celia Johnson and Margaret Rutherford.
- 1937 The Gielgud season of Richard II, The School for Scandal, Three Sisters and The Merchant of Venice brought glittering casts and outstanding performances to the theatre. Those who appeared included Leon Quartermaine, Michael Redgrave, Glen Byam Shaw, Anthony Quayle, Alec Guinness, Peggy Ashcroft and George Devine.
- Short Story (1935) Robert Morley’s first play combined a host of talent in Marie Tempest, Sybil Thorndike, Margaret Rutherford and Rex Harrison.
- Moonlight in Silver (1934), an ‘ultra-modern problem play’ by Clemence Dane, starred Gertrude Lawrence and Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. This glamorous couple attracted much media attention especially as they were having an affair both on and off stage.
- Hamlet (1930) The Old Vic production of Hamlet transferred to Queen’s and John Gielgud gave his first Shaftesbury Avenue performances of the role he made almost his own with Donald Wolfit as a strong Claudius.
- 1920 Elsie Janis altered the theatre so that the stalls were ‘surrounded by a parterre and backed by a luxurious lounge’.
- Tango Teas (1913) The stalls seats were replaced with tables and chairs where, for the sum of 2/6, people took tea while watching professional tango dancers and dress parades on stage.
- The Sugar Bowl (8 October 1907 opening production) a comedy by Madeleine Lucette Ryley. It ran for 36 performances.
1971 (from The Stage Guide)
Electrics: Strand CD board in rear of stalls. Dimmers – 120 (40 x 1kW, 80 x 2kW); groups – 14 memory pistons. Circuits – FOH 20; Flies 65; Stage dips (and booms) 35. Socket type – 15A BESA. Total capacity available – 300A on 3 phases. Special effects supply – 60A on 1 phase.