Situated on the fringes of Soho, this Art Deco theatre opened in 1930, boasting elegant decorations featuring ornamental glass work by Lalique. The large stage was designed to accommodate extravagant stage effects and the first production was ‘Rio Rita’, a transfer from New York’s Ziegfeld Theatre. More racy musical fare followed, with scantily clad female statues placed outside for promotional purposes falling foul of the Lord Chamberlain’s office in 1932. Josephine Baker made her London debut here in 1933 but the theatre was struggling and by the mid-1930s it had become a cabaret venue with dancefloor, restaurant and casino.
During the war, the Prince Edward, by now known as the London Casino, was dark; it reopened for business afterwards and hosted Cinerama screenings. Only in 1978, with the opening of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical ‘Evita’, did it return to the theatrical function for which it was designed. The show ran for eight years and was succeeded b yRice and ABBA’s ‘Chess’. In 1990, the theatre was refurbished by owners Delfont Mackintosh and has since housed a string of musicals, including ‘Martin Guerre’, ‘Mary Poppins’ and, prior to its transfer to the Prince of Wales, ‘Mamma Mia!’. The theatre received another facelift before ‘Mary Poppins’ alighted there in 2004, including a brightening-up of the foyer Mozart Bar, so-called because young Amadeus briefly lived at 28 Frith Street, now the theatre's stage door.