With 100 days to go, West End warms up for Olympics
The "West End Warm Up" was organised by the Society of London theatre. Guest luminaries included Robin Cousins, the British skater who won a gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics and who, as recently reported, will play Billy Flynn in Chicago later this year, and Stephen Daldry, the director of Billy Elliot and chief executive of the London 2012 opening ceremonies.
The event was called "to celebrate the West End's excitement about the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games and the accompanying influx of visitors into the capital during July to September.
Not everyone in the theatre has been so upbeat about the games. Last year Andrew Lloyd Webber predicted that the Olympics would cause "a bloodbath of a summer" for London theatres. "Nobody's going to go to the theatre at all," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. There were even rumours that his Really Useful Group was considering closing West End shows including Phantom of the Opera, during July and August.
Others take the view expressed to the Evening Standard in January 2012 by Lloyd Webber's collaborator and Special Olivier Award recipient Tim Rice who has said the Olympics will be good for the West End as there will be a lot more tourists around, a view backed up by two-third of the 32,000 theatregoers who responded to a Whatsonstage.com poll earlier this year.