Wyndham's Theatre is a West End theatre, one of two opened by the actor/manager Charles Wyndham (the other is the Criterion Theatre). Located on Charing Cross Road in the City of Westminster, it was designed c.1898 by W.G.R. Sprague, the architect of six other London theatres between then and 1916. It was designed to seat 759 patrons on three levels although later refurbishment increased this to four. The theatre was Grade II* listed by English Heritage in September 1960.
Wyndham had always dreamed of building a theatre of his own and through the admiration of a patron and the financial confidence of friends, he was able to realise his dream when Wyndham's Theatre opened on 16 November 1899, in the presence of the Prince of Wales. The first play performed there was a revival of T. W. Robertson's David Garrick.
In 1910, Gerald du Maurier began an association with the theatre which lasted 15 years and to include the stage debut of the screen actress Tallulah Bankhead. Du Maurier's small daughter, Daphne, often watched her father's performance from the wings. Thirty years later she presented her own play, The Years Between, on the same stage.
In April 1953 the theatre premiered Graham Greene's first play, The Living Room, with a cast including Dorothy Tutin. In January 1954, a small-scale musical pastiche, Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend, which had begun life at the much smaller Players' Theatre, was moved to the Wyndham stage. It ran for 2,078 performances, before eventually transferring to Broadway. During the 60s and early 70s the theatre continued to provide a setting for stars such as Alec Guinness (Wise Child), Vanessa Redgrave and Diana Rigg.
The blockbuster of the decade – Godspell – opened at Wyndham's in January 1972 and lasted to October 1974. The original cast included David Essex, Marti Webb and Jeremy Irons.
Wyndham's Theatre just before its opening on 16 November 1900.
Among more recent distinguished productions were the world premiere of The Ride Down Mt. Morgan by Arthur Miller and the British premiere of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women, starring Maggie Smith. Twenty-five years after making her debut there, Diana Rigg returned to play a hugely successful season as Medea. The critically acclaimed comedy, 'Art', by Yasmina Reza, began its record-breaking run at Wyndham's in 1996 with Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott in the cast. It opened in October 1996, and transferred to the Whitehall Theatre in October 2001.
Madonna made her West End debut there in 2002, performing in a sell-out production of Up For Grabs. This was followed by many other dramatic productions including Dinner and the National Theatre's Democracy during 2004, Holly Hunter in By The Bog Of Cats, American TV star Ruby Wax in a children's stage version of The Witches which ran during March 2005, followed by a controversial limited season of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues which ran without the stars – Sharon Osbourne and her daughter Aimee, who dropped out the night before the production opened. Since then, theatre patrons have seen Sienna Miller star alongside Helen McCrory, Reece Shearsmith and Clive Rowe in a new production of Shakespeare's As You Like It.
A large-scale replica of the facade of the theatre was constructed at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando as part of the park's London themed area.
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