The London Palladium is hosting a tribute to Frank Sinatra, 65 years after his first ever concert in the UK. He first performed at the venue in 1950, an evening which started the country’s love affair with his legendary music. It also celebrates what would have been his 100th birthday. The show, simply called ‘Sinatra’, features a 24-piece orchestra playing some of his biggest hits including 'My Way', 'Fly Me to the Moon' and 'I've Got You Under My Skin'. 20 dancers will accompany the music to make it a visual spectacular. There will also be some rare recordings, some never before seen footage of Sinatra’s performances, and some interviews from his long career. Come and see this fitting tribute to Sinata and celebrate his musical legacy at the London Palladium from 10th July 2015.
The now famous London Palladium opened its doors to the public on Boxing Day of 1910. The first show was a grand variety bill featuring a number of diverse acts and entertainers. The building was designed by Frank Matcham and was richly furnished in French Rococo style. The auditorium was second only in capacity to the Coliseum, and featured fantastic views from all three levels. The height of the music hall boom meant that this venue flourished.
The home of Music Hall and Variety
The venue continued to house famous acts, such as Harry Houdini, Gracie Fields, Ivor Novello, Sophie Tucker and Jackie Coogan.
The first Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium
Despite having started in 1912, the Royal Variety Performance had not had a secure London home. After performances at both the Palace and Coliseum Theatres, the event moved to the London Palladium in 1930, with George Black and Val Parnell. This was attended by King George V and Queen Mary. The event has since been staged at the London Palladium 36 times.
Val Parnell takes over as Director and General Manager
After the end of the Second World War, the London Palladium began to once again feature a host of American and British stars. The venue become the home of London's variety entertainment, as stars such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Gypsy Rose Lee, Benny Goodman, Bob Hope and Judy Garland all enjoyed sell out performances. British performers also began to flourish, with Tommy Steele, Ken Dodd, Frankie Howard, Cilla Black and Ronnie Corbett all entertaining audiences.
Sunday Night at the London Palladium first Broadcast
Sunday night variety was originally broadcast on ITV from 1955 to 1967, along with a brief revival in 1973 and 1974. The very first showing was hosted by Tommy Trinder with Gracie Fields, and quickly became ITV's most watched TV show. The biggest audience reached was in January 1960 when Bruce Forsyth joined as host, in an evening that also featured Cliff Richard and The Shadows which was watched by over 20 million people. The Palladium's stage revolve was featured every week, as the Tiller Girls and the guests were each featured. The show ran until 1967.
Golden Boy - the first musical at the venue opens
The first ever book musical to open at the London Palladium was the West End premiere of 'Golden Boy' which starred Sammy Davis Jnr. The musical is based on the Odets play of the same name and featured a book by Clifford Odets and William Gibson, lyrics by Lee Adams, and music by Charles Strouse. The musical tells the story of Joe Wellington, a young Harlem man who turns to prizefighting to try and escape his ghetto roots, and finds fame and fortune.
Barnum' features a book by Mark Bramble, lyrics by Michael Stewart, and music by Cy Coleman, and is based on the life of circus showman P.T Barnum. Following a hit run on Broadway, the CY Coleman musical opened in the West End at the London Palladium with a cast that included Michael Crawford as P.T. Barnum, Deborah Grant as Charity Barnum and Sarah Payne as Jenny Lind. The production transformed the Palladium into a circus, complete with a fantastic array of acts and a high wire tightrope across the proscenium which Crawford walked over each night. Crawford went on to win the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
Singin' in the Rain opens
Tommy Steele's new production of 'Singin in the Rain' opened at the London Palladium where it played for over two years. The lavish production featured an onstage rain tank for the iconic title number, and Steele directed and starred in the production. The production featured a book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, lyrics by Arthur Freed, and music by Nacio Herb Brown, embellished from the MGM film version. The Palladium version become iconic, and enjoyed numerous tours of the UK as well as a Broadway transfer.
La Cage aux Folles Opens
Following the success of the Broadway production, Jerry Herman's 'La Cage aux Folles' opened at the London Palladium, where it ran for only 301 performances. The original Broadway creative team transferred with the show, which included Arthur Laurents as director, Scott Salmon as choreographer, and David Mitchell as designer. George Hearn reprised his role of Albin, with thanks to Actor's Equity, and was joined by Dennis Quilley as Georges. The show was seen as a financial failure, and closed at a loss, which was partly blamed on the AIDS crisis.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat opens
Andrew Lloyd Webber revived his first ever musical collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice. In an exciting and bold production of the biblical classic, Jason Donovan starred as Joseph in a production that was directed by Stephen Pimlott. The show featured impressive production values, and took home the Olivier Award for Best Scenic Design. Children's entertainer Philip Schofield took over the role of Joseph, as the cast album topped the charts, along with the hit song from the show "Any Dream Will Do" featuring as the UK's number 1 hit single in the summer of 1991. The Palladium production became iconic, and was later filmed in a studio for video release.
Cameron Mackintosh revived Lionel Bart's musical 'Oliver!' at the London Palladium for a record breaking run, directed by Sam Mendes. The production was a lavish retelling of the classic British musical, featuring new dialogue, music and arrangements. Anthony Ward's impressive stage designs were matched by Matthew Bourne's stunning choreography, with a cast that was led by Jonathan Pryce as Fagin. Sally Dexter played Nancy, alongside Miles Anderson as Bill Sikes and Jenny Galloway as Widow Corney. The show was well received and went on to be the basis for a new UK touring production and the later production at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane starring Rowan Atkinson.
Scrooge opens starring Tommy Steele
Bill Kenwright's production of 'Scrooge the Musical' by Leslie Bricusse played a festive season at the theatre. Veteran performer Tommy Steele returned once again to the Palladium, where he broke the record for the most headline acts at the venue. A plaque was unveiled in his honour in the Cinderella Bar. The production returned to the Palladium once again for the 2012/13 Christmas season.
Saturday Night Fever receives its stage premiere
Based on the hit film of the same name, the stage musical featured a book by Nan Knighton and music and lyrics by the Bee Gees. The £4million stage production was produced by Robert Stigwood and featured choreography by Arlene Phillips. The original cast included Adam Garcia as Tony and Anita Louise Combe as Stephanie. It went on to win Olivier Award nominations for Best Actor in a Musical, Best Theatre Choreographer, and Best New Musical. Following a hit run at the London Palladium, the show enjoyed numerous UK tours and made a welcome return to the West End in 2004 at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
The London Palladium becomes a Really Useful Theatre, opening with 'The King and I'
Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'The Really Useful Group' buys the theatre in early 2000. The first musical to open under the new management was a glorious revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, 'The King and I'. The original cast included Elaine Paige in the role of Mrs Anna and Jason Scott Lee as The King of Siam. The production was extremely lavish and utilsed the full extent of the Palladium's features, including the old stage revolve. The production featured new dialogue and new musical arrangements, and ran for over 18 months. After the production ended, the stage was refurbished, and the old revolve removed to make way for more modern technology.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang opens
The world premiere of the stage adaptation of Ian Flemming's 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' creates mass media attention. The show went on to become the longest running show at the Palladium to date, clocking up 1,414 performances and taking over £70million at the box office. The Sherman Brothers revisited their classic film score to create a fine stage musical, directed by RSC veteran Adrian Noble and choreographed by Gillian Lynne. The original production starred Michael Ball in the role of Caractacus Potts, alongside Richard O'Brien as the Childcatcher. Despite the number of celebrity replacements throughout the three and a half year run, it was Chitty herself who captured the audience's imagination, flying out over the audience each night.
The Sound of Music opens
After a nationwide televised search for a new Maria von Trapp, Andrew Lloyd Webber's new production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical 'The Sound of Music' opened at the Palladium. Connie Fisher starred as the singing Nun, in a spectacular new stage production that utilised all aspects of the Palladium's stage. Alexander Hanson and Leslie Garrett co-starred, making the first reality-TV led stage musical an overwhelming success. The production, directed by Jeremy Sams, ran for over 2 years.
Sister Act opens
Based on the hit film of the same name, Alan Menken's musical version of 'Sister Act' exploded onto the London stage. The production was directed by Peter Schneider and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast, with set design by Klara Zieglerova. Following a year long search, the role of Delores was played by 24 year old Patina Miller. She was joined by Sheila Hancock as the Mother Superior, and later by Whoopi Goldberg herself for a limited run. The show ran for over a year, and went on to enjoy a successful UK tour and Broadway run.
The Wizard of Oz opens
Following the previous success of 'The Sound of Music', the London Palladium was once again home to Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest reality TV search for a star. Danielle Hope won the chance to go 'over the rainbow' and star as Dorothy Gale in this new stage production of the classic MGM film. Lloyd Webber wrote a new book for the show alongside Jeremy Sams, and also contributed new musical material with old partner Tim Rice. The production starred Hannah Waddingham as the Wicked Witch of the West, alongside Michael Crawford as The Wizard. The show was generally well received and ran for 500 performances, taking in over £10million in pre-sales alone. It has since been seen in Toronto, Canada and is now the official licensed version of the musical.
A Chorus Line opens
Marvin Hamlisch and Michael Bennett's groundbreaking musical based on the real lives of Broadway dancers opened at the London Palladium to great acclaim. This was the first revival of 'A Chorus Line' since the original Drury Lane production, and featured direction and choreography by Bob Avian and Baayork Lee. Based on the 2006 Broadway production, the show starred John Partridge as Zach, alongside the Olivier Award winning Leigh Zimmerman as Sheila. The revival was met with positive notices, but closed after only 6 months.
I Can't Sing
Created by Harry Hill and produced by Simon Cowell, I Can't Sing! is a musical based on life behind the scenes of the X Factor. Starring Cynthia Erivo and Nigel Harman, I Can't Sing is directed by Sean Foley. I Can't Sing was met with a wave of good critics reviews, but is set to close on 10th May after just a six week run.
Lord of the Dance
Michael Flatley's epic dance show 'Lord of the Dance' returns to the West End for a limited run. This version has the mysterious subtitle 'Dangerous Games', and tells a tale of good versus evil. Flatley himself is taking a back seat in this production and is joined by 40 young dancers from around the world. Some performances of the Celtic extravaganza will feature a guest appearance from Girls Aloud singer Nadine Cole.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's legendary Cats the Musical has come back to London after its original 21 year run. It started at the London Palladium in December starring ex-Pussy Cat Doll singer Nicole Scherzinger, to outstanding critics' reviews. The show is an adaptation of T.S.Eliot's 'Old Book of Practical Cats', which tells the story of the Jellicle Cats and their leader Old Deuteronomy.
Beyond Bollywood is bringing the energy of Indian dance to the London Palladium. This dance extravaganza tells the story of a young girl who travels to India to fulfill her mother's dying wish; to save her family's theatre and put on a show of epic proportions.
This multimedia concert was conceived to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Frank Sinatra. This ultimate tribute show will intersperse all of Sinatra’s classic hits played by a live orchestra accompanied by dancers with never before seen footage of the man himself.
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