Built between 1929 and 1930, the Cambridge has had a varied past, opening as a revue venue but also hosting opera, cinema and variety shows.
The opening production in 1930 was a musical review entitled Charlot’s Masquerade. But it really sprang back into life as a theatrical venue in 1946, when the London Opera Company produced opera revivals like Don Pasquale.
After a period of plays and operas, the bigger scale musicals that now define the Cambridge started to arrive. In 1963 Tommy Steele starred in Half a Sixpence, followed in 1964 by the legendary Bruce Forsyth in Little Me. But the theatre’s biggest early success was a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest called Return to the Forbidden Planet, which ran for four years from 1989-1993 and won an Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
In the past quarter century the Cambridge has been the home of some huge musicals including Fame in 1995 and Grease in 1996, which ran until 1999. In 2003 the theatre hosted the world premier of the scandalous Jerry Springer – The Opera, which ran until the middle of 2005.
The longest running musical at the theatre was Chicago, on stage for five years between 2006 and 2011. In November 2011 the multi-award winning musical of Roald Dahl’s children’s book Matilda transferred from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford upon Avon.
Over the years a whole host of stars have trodden the boards at the Cambridge, including Audrey Hepburn on her stage debut, Joan Collins, Peter O’Toole and Lulu. Today, the Cambridge Theatre is owned by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group.