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Hippodrome Casino to host live performance

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The Hippodrome, the iconic Leicester Square variety and music hall venue that closed as a public performance venue in 2009, will be home to live performance again from 2 July. Live at the Hippodrome will host one-off events, late night slots and week-long residencies from British and international performers in a 182-seat venue called The Matcham Room.

The Hippodrome open was built in 1900 by Frank Matcham, the architect who later went on to design the London Coliseum and London Palladium. It operated as a venue for variety, circus and music hall – from 1958 as legendary nightclub, The Talk of the Town – until nightclub impresario Peter Stringfellow reopened it as a club and restaurant in 1983.

The venue was forced to close to the public in 2005 after it lost its alcohol license, but was reopened as a public performance space again in 2008 by the producers of cabaret/circus hit La Clique. The show ran at the Hippodrome for nearly a year before the venue closed again, this time to make way for a £15 million renovation as a casino. The Hippodrome Casino is due to open in early July.

Acts confirmed for the inaugural events in July include Janie Dee, Jane Monheit, Tony Christie, Kate Dimbleby, Julian Ovenden and Miss Polly Rae. Future dates in 2012 will include evenings with Maria Friedman, Adam Guettel (with Jonathan Ansell), Ruthie Henshall, Barb Jungr, David McAlmont, Gwyneth Herbert, Kerry Ellis, Judy Kuhn, Stefanie Powers, Suzi Quatro, Hot Club of Cowtown, Lea DeLaria and Cerys Matthews.

Independent theatre producer Nick Frankfort, former executive director at the Donmar Warehouse, is in charge of programming at the new space. Tickets will cost between £25 and £35 per event.

Simon Thomas, owner of the Hippodrome Casino, said in a statement: “People are surprised when I say the Hippodrome Casino is not just about gaming. We’re about fun, entertainment and great food and drink in amazing surroundings. Live at the Hippodrome is an essential part of that unique mix. Not only because I could not, personally, have taken on the challenge of re-building the Hippodrome without committing to a reawakening of its performance history, but also because London is crying out for a performance space to host the rich breadth of artists that Nick’s programming presents.”


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