Theatre Royal Drury Lane Theatre Archive

Current show: 42nd Street

Musical theatre history was made in September 1989 when the new musical Miss Saigon opened at the Drury Lane Theatre. This musical written by the writing partnership Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil - who had previously written Les Mis - along with English lyricist Richard Maltby Jr was inspired by Puccini's Madama Butterfly, with the story of an Asian American romance set against the backdrop of the of the last days of Vietnam war in 1975. The stage musical was a huge success, on 19 December 1994 it made musical theatre history by taking over the original 1958 stage production of My Fair Lady to become the longest running show at this theatre. Miss Saigon finally closed after a total of 4,263 performances and 11 years in October 1999.

The next show here at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane was the Irish dance show Dancing on Dangerous Ground which played for two months over Christmas 1999. The first new show of the 2000s was the new musical comedy The Witches of Eastwick. Based on the novel by John Updike and the Warner Brothers Motion Picture, this stage music version was written by John Dempsey and Dana Rowe. Opening in July 2000 the show run for seven months before transferring to the Prince of Wales Theatre.

In March 2001 Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith - AKA The League of Gentlemen - presented their stage show A Local Show for Local People featuring both new material and favourites of their BBC television show. The show proved popular and enjoyed a six week run. In April 2001 the Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet presented a four week season comprising three programmes. The next two shows at the Drury Lane Theatre where both transfers from the National Theatre and where both directed by Trevor Nunn. First it was a revival of the Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady, featuring choreography by Matthew Bourne, with Martine McCutcheon playing the role of 'Eliza Doolittle'. The role was subsequently played by Joanna Riding and Laura Michelle Kelly before it closed in August 2003 to be replaced the following month by a revival of Cole Porter's musical Anything Goes, featuring choreography by Stephen Mear, the cast included Sally Ann Triplett and John Barrowman. The show run for 11 months before closing in August 2004.

November 2004 saw the arrival, from Broadway of the Mel Brooks musical The Producers. Adapted from his movie of the same name, the show was about a theatrical producer, Max Bialystock and his accountant Leo Bloom who together hatch what they think is the ultimate theatrical scam: to raise more money than they need to produce a sure-fire Broadway disaster... and then to pocket the left-over cash when the show flops. The show won 'Best New Musical' at the Olivier Awards, the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and it played for over two years before finally closing in January 2007. Transferring from a 'try-out' in Toronto, Canada, the next show here was a musical adaptation of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings which opened in May 2007. Costing some 12.5m, the producers claimed this was the most expensive musical to ever be staged in London's West End, unfortunately it didn't break any records for length of run at this theatre, closing after 15 months.

In October 2008 comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders brought their self-named stage show French and Saunders here for a four week season as the culmination for a major national tour. Theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh then revived Sam Mendes' revival production of the Lionel Bart musical Olivier! which he had previously staged at the London Palladium for a three year run in the mid-1990s. At Drury Lane it was re-staged by Rupert Goold and the original cast in this revival-of-a-revival starred Rowan Atkinson as 'Fagin' along with Jodie Prenger as 'Nancy' - who had been chosen to play the role via the Saturday night prime time reality show I'd Do Anything!. This time round the show managed a run of two years before closing in January 2011. Shrek The Musical arrived here in June 2011. This new stage musical was based on the story and characters from William Steig's book Shrek! as well as the Oscar-winning animated feature film Shrek. This West End production, based on the revised USA touring production, featured Amanda Holden as 'Princess Fiona' in the original cast. The show closed after a run of some 20 months in February 2013.

A major new stage musical version of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opened here at the Drury Lane Theatre in June 2013. This musical has been adapted for the stage by David Greig and features new songs from Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It is directed by Sam Mendes with choreography by Peter Darling and the original cast featured Douglas Hodge as 'Willy Wonka' who said about this new stage musical adaptation that: "It's what I've always wanted to do. I love the idea of making something from scratch, the idea that nobody has done this before and no one has sung the songs before. We are changing scenes and lyrics all the time; director Sam Mendes and I have just written a new little scene now, and that's fantastically exciting. Everyone is listening to each other. Right at the beginning, I felt in my bones that my first enormous song was wrong. We all sat silently, and I said I didn't think it was right. And the two writers said, 'Neither do we', but they had another one ready which was their first instinct for it, and I learned that and it seems to have found its place and bedded in. It is great to be making something completely fresh that no one has done before." The original cast also featured Nigel Planer as 'Grandpa Joe' and Myra Sands as 'Grandma Georgina'. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory finally closes in January 2017 after a run of three-and-a-half years - the next show is a revival of the tap-dance musical 42nd Street, which interestingly originaly played here at the Drury Lane Theatre for four-and-a-half years back in the late 1980s.