2019-12-10
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Book of Mormon- The Currently Running Show At The Prince of Wales Theatre

A West End theatre venue, the Prince of Wales Theatre is located in the Coventry Street, close to Leicester Square, in the City of Westminster, London. The house was built by actor-manager Edgar Bruce and was designed Charles J. Phipps. It opened on 18th January 1884 and was a three tier structure that could accommodate 1000 audiences at a time. It was called the Prince’s Theatre during the time of its inauguration but was given its current name two years later. Bruce selected the area close to Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square to ensure that its auditorium remains jam-packed since the initial days. The newly built theatre was named after Edward VII and it opened with performances of W.S. Gilbert’s The Palace of Truth that starred notable theatre artist of his time, W.S. Gilbert. The theatre witnessed immense popularity for the first time while staging performances the opera Dorothy that enjoyed a record breaking run here. Its producer Henry Leslie made such huge profits from the comic opera that he used it to build his own theater which is known by the name of Lyric these days. In 1891, the venue hosted premiere of the wordless mime L’Enfant Prodigue and in 1897, A Pierrot’s Life debuted here. Following the success of these two, many reputable mime troupes made their appearances here. After five decades since Bruce build the fist theater at the current site, the size of the structure was felt insufficient for accommodating the growing crowd of theatregoers in Britain. The house was demolished completely. On June 1937, Gracie Fields while laying the foundation stone for the upcoming venue sang before workers. The new house was designed in art deco style by Robert Cromie. The newly built structure opened the same year on 27th October. The newly build house could accommodate 1100 audiences at a time and was loaded with additional facilities for audiences and artists both. The stage of the theatre was larger than the previous ones while stylish and modern bars and dance floor added to its structure. The Prince of Wales Theatre was again refurbished in 2004 and its seating capacity was slightly increased to 1,160. It brought in some more modern amenities including improved bars, a rebuilt auditorium glowing in LED lighting. When the house re-opened on 16th April 2004, ABBA musical, Mamma Mia was transferred here from the Prince Edward Theatre London. The venue witnessed unprecedented success while staging performances of the musical and after attaining several landmarks here, it was later shifted to the Novello Theatre where it is currently running. The venue is these days staging performances of the award winning classic the Book of Mormon. The musical has made its West End debut at the venue this March and has received positive reviews from the audience. The show has been conceived by creators of popular animated sitcoms, Trey Parker and Matt Stones along with co-creator of Avenue Q, Robert Lopez. Featuring songs like Spooky Mormon Hell Dream, I Am Africa, Baptize Me, All American Prophet and Tomorrow Is A Latter Day, the musical transports audiences for trip to Uganda.

Michael K. French

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