Prince of Wales Theatre Archive

Current Show: The new comedy musical The Book of Mormon about what happens when two disciples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are sent to the northern part of Uganda as missionaries.

In January 1999 the Prince of Wales Theatre housed the transfer from the nearby Prince Edward Theatre of the first major West End revival for 14 years of the classic musical West Side Story. Having opened to some excellent notices from the national press when it opened in October 1998, the production, which featured the legendary Jerome Robbins' original direction and choreography recreated by Alan Johnson who had been an understudy in the original Broadway production, transferred in January 1999 to the Prince of Wales Theatre where is played for one year up to January 2000. It was replaced by a 'dance musical' celebrating the work of another legendary choreographer - Bob Fosse - with Fosse the Musical which transferred from Broadway in a recast production featuring Nicola Hughes. While in contrast to Broadway, dance heavy shows traditionally don't do very well in London's West End, but still the production managed a very respectable run of just short of one year by time it finally closed in January 2001. Some rather complicated flying apparatus and wires were then installed into the theatre's auditorium when the musical comedy Witches of Eastwick transferred here from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The flying equipment was needed to enable to the witches - Alexandra, Jane and Sukie - to both fly out over the audience and also cross over mid-air without getting those hidden wires tangled! The musical had already played for eight months at the large 2,200-seater Drury Lane Theatre before downsizing to the 1,100-seater Prince of Wales Theatre in March 2001 were it managed continued for another seven months when it closed at the end of October 2001.

Christmas 2001 saw a strictly limited season of the musical Rent, in a 're-directed' version of the original by Paul Kerryson, starring Adam Rickett as 'Mark' which came into the West End prior to a major national tour. This was followed in March 2002 with the latest Broadway hit musical comedy The Full Monty. Based on the hit British film, this musical version featuring a book by Terrence McNally had the twist that it had been 'Americanised' with the story being transposed from Sheffield, England to Buffalo, New York. Unfortunately, despite some great reviews from the national press, West End audiences were seemingly unimpressed and the show closed earlier than hoped for after eight month.

With a major refurbishment of the theatre planned for 2003/2004 two productions were brought in as 'fillers' - firstly Rent the Musical returned from its national tour for another West End Christmas season, this time with the added feature of the model Caprice playing the role of 'Maureen' - which set West End tongues wagging with rumours about her possibly miming to backing tracks... Next up was a musical about Cliff Richard that was devised by the DJ Mike Read and was called simply Cliff the Musical. It arrived at the Prince of Wales Theatre in March 2003 having been on a short four week regional tour. Although it opened to generally very poor notices, no doubt due to the enduring popularity of Cliff Richard, the show still managed to complete a run of some eight weeks before it closed in May 2003. Then it was time for the builders to move in for a major refurbishment both in the back stage, auditorium and front of house foyer areas that took almost 12 months to complete and the newly sparkling Prince of Wales was able to welcome its next resident - the hit musical Mamma Mia! which transferred here in June 2004 from the Prince Edward Theatre - where it had already been running very successfully for some five years. It continued to play to packed out audiences nightly for just over eight years before it went on the move again, in September 2012, to the Novello Theatre.

The Beatles musical, Let It Be, played for a strictly limited four month season from September 2012. Featuring more than twenty of The Beatles' greatest hits, this 'media rich theatrical concert' style production was noted for being the first time that the Grand Theatrical Rights to The Beatles' back catalogue had been granted by Sony/ATV for a West End theatrical production. February 2013 will then see the eagerly awaited West End transfer from Broadway of the smash hit musical The Book of Mormon. Winner of eight 2011 Tony Awards including for 'Best Musical', the show on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre continues to play to 'standing room only' and expectations are high that The Book of Mormon will prove to be just as popular in London.