Her Majesty's Theatre
Time Out says
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The West End home of Lloyd Webber's record-breaking 'Phantom'
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's ludicrously extravagant mega-hit 'The Phantom of the Opera' has been haunting Her Majesty's Theatre since its triumphant 1986 opening night, making it the West End's longest running musical (after 'Les Miserables'). And the theatre's grand, tarnished late-Victorian facade makes it a perfect home for the operatic antics within. Maria Björnson's lavish scenic design sits in an auditorium that's full of gold statuary and appropriately Parisian stylings, and she even used the theatre's original stage machinery to make the phantom sail across the lake in his underground lair.
But audiences have been flocking to this Haymarket site for centuries before the Phantom warbled his first notes. In 1705, Queen Anne gave her permission for a theatre to be built on the site of an old stableyard, and periwigged crowds attended first plays, then operas: composer Handel made his debut here. In 1789, the theatre burnt down following an arson attack (the culprit was never found) and was rebuilt, first in 1791, and then along more modern lines in 1897.
Designed by Charles J Phipps, Her Majesty's Theatre is decorated in French Renaissance style, with a well-planned interior that comfortably accommodates 1,216 seats across four levels. It's housed many a hit musical, including record-breaking (but since forgotten) 1916 show 'Chu Chin Chow', and the London premieres of Broadway hits including 'West Side Story' and 'Fiddler on the Roof'. Today, it's under the ownership of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group, and is likely to house his biggest hit for years to come.
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