History of Prince Of Wales Theatre:
In 1884, the Prince’s Theatre opened, presenting a revival of The Palace of Truth. Productions of Breaking a Butterfly and The School for Scandal proved moderately successful, but it was the comic opera Dorothy broke box office records for the time and helped establish the theatres reputation. In fact, the production was so successful that the profits were used to build the Lyric Theatre.
The theatre, renamed the Prince of Wales Theatre after the future Edward VIII, continued to host successful productions throughout the early 20th Century, including Miss Hook of Holland (1907), The Rat (1924, Ivor Novello’s first play), Alibi (1928), and Encore les Dames (1937). The money made from the later productions would help fund the effort to rebuild the theatre after its demolition in 1937.
The improved theatre opened on 27 October that same year. It courted controversy by running a series of risqué revues that often ran until 2am (Folies De Can-Can, 1938), and screening the UK premiere of the Chaplin film The Great Dictator, which resulted in the theatre’s owner being fined.
The post-war years saw the theatre host numerous variety and revue shows, which starred (among many others) Peter Sellers, Bob Hope, Benny Hill, Frankie Howerd, and Morecambe and Wise. It returned to producing plays with 1959’s The World of Susie Wong, which ran for 832 performances.
In the following years, the theatre would become host to several musicals, including Funny Girl, Sweet Charity, Aspects of Love, Mama Mia!, and the Broadway smash hit The Book of Mormon.