London Shows - Chronology

The shows are listed in alphabetical order. The original opening date is the official frst night, not counting previews, unless otherwise stated. By and large revivals of shows are not included. In later years, unless show runs have been officially published I have assumed 8 shows per week, uncluding matinees. Where only short runs have been scheduled I have given the opening and closing dates only. Further information about the shows can be found by clicking on the show title where linked.

Original listing by Edmund Whitehouse of "This England" magazine

London shows - chronology

THE PRECISE ORIGINS of the modern musical are still open to some debate: Alan Jay Lerner, one of the most distinguished historians of his own field, considered that they could be traced back to street celebrations at the time of the French Revolution, while there have always been those who reckon that it began with Milton's masque Comus back in 1634 or else with John Gay's The Beggar's Opera of 1727. What seems open to less argument is that a fire on 14th Street in New York during the late summer of 1866 led to the largely accidental staging of The Black Crook, which is now generally accepted as the first indoor non-operatic stage show to integrate plot, song and dance. Not that it was ever meant to, and for those of us who have always regarded the development of the modern musical as a remarkably haphazard kind of miracle there is something deeply reassuring in discovering that this was also the way it began.

Extract from Spread a Little Happiness - The first 100 years of the British Musical by Sheridan Morley.