The History of the British Musical
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Today, London’s West End is one square mile of musical flair worth hundreds-of-thousands of pounds a year. It is the largest theatre district in the world and the mecca of Britain’s commercial theatre.
The phrase ‘The West End’ originally sourced its name simply from its geographical location in London. However, as the genre became a thriving success, it was no longer just a short cut to describe the spot synonymous with theatre, but one that represented, and continues to represent, the glitz and glam of theatreland.
The West End as-it-is-known today began to form in the 19th Century, when the genre boomed and became popular amongst middle and upper classes. However, it was the end of the century and the creation of Shaftesbury Avenue that gave the backbone to theatreland and made it what it is today.
Shaftsbury Avenue, although built purely for traffic regulation, became the heart of London’s West End when theatres were soon built along it. It could also be so fondly cared for with the industry.
This book will take a brief look over the history of the British musical, noting the industry’s rise to victory, and charting some of the obstacles, including the invasion of Broadway it faced along the way.