Menier Chocolate Factory
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Exterior of the theatre
|Address||53 Southwark Street
The Menier Chocolate Factory is a 180 seat off-West End theatre, which comprises a restaurant, bar and rehearsal rooms.
It is located in a former 1870s Menier Chocolate Company factory in Southwark Street, a major street in the London Borough of Southwark, central south London, England, some 2.5 km from the theatrical West End. The theatre stages plays and musicals, live music and stand-up comedy. According to the Evening Standard, it is "one of the most dynamic fringe venues in London".
History and awards
The French company Menier Chocolate Company expanded overseas and built a five-storey factory and warehouse of brick with stone dressings in London between 1865 and 1874. It was listed Grade II in 1996.
The Menier Chocolate Factory was opened in 2004 in its current incarnation, the building having been derelict since the 1980s. It is run by artistic director David Babani. In 2005, the theatre received the Peter Brook/Empty Space Up and Coming Venue Award. In the same year, he and Danielle Tarento jointly won the Evening Standard Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer. Tarento left in 2006 to pursue a solo producing career, and was replaced by General Manager Thomas Siracusa.
In 2007 the Chocolate Factory production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George won 5 Olivier Awards, including Best Actor in a Musical for Daniel Evans and Best Actress in a Musical for Jenna Russell. The pair went on to perform the lead roles when the production transferred to Studio 54 on Broadway in February 2008.
In the 2009 Olivier Awards, Douglas Hodge won the trophy for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of drag queen Zaza, in La Cage aux Folles. The production also won the Best Musical Revival category.
In 2010, the Chocolate Factory productions of A Little Night Music and La Cage aux Folles opened on Broadway. The former starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury and the latter starring Douglas Hodge (from the original London production) and Kelsey Grammar. At the Tony Awards 2010 the shows won in the following categories: Best Leading Actress in a Musical – Catherine Zeta Jones for A Little Night Music; Best Leading Actor in a Musical – Douglas Hodge for La Cage aux Folles; Best Director of a Musical – Terry Johnson for La Cage aux Folles; Best Musical Revival – La Cage aux Folles.
The theatre continues to produce a mixture of musical and play revivals, new writing and comedy.
- Murderer by Anthony Shaffer – 10 November 2004 to 22 January 2005.
- This Other England (2005) – a series of new writing from Paines Plough, including Philip Ridley's controversial Mercury Fur.
- Tick, Tick... Boom! by Jonathan Larson – 31 May to 28 August 2005.
- What we did to Weinstein by Ryan Craig – 21 September to 12 November 2005.
- Sunday in the Park with George (November 2005), which won the 2005 Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Design. It transferred to the Wyndham's Theatre in May 2006, where it won five Olivier Awards. The production then transferred to Broadway in February 2008.
- Breakfast With Jonny Wilkinson by Chris England April 2006
- The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown – 18 July to 30 September 2006.
- Jeremy Lion For Your Entertainment by Justin Edwards October 2006
- Little Shop of Horrors starring Sheridan Smith and Paul Keating (November 2006), which transferred to the Duke of York's Theatre and then to the New Ambassadors where it closed on 8 September 2007.
- Total Eclipse by Christopher Hampton starring Daniel Evans 21 March – 20 May 2007
- Take Flight by Richard Maltby, David Shire and John Weidman July 2007
- Dealer's Choice (play) by Patrick Marber starring Roger Lloyd-Pack – 17 September to 28 November 2007 and then 6 December 2007 to 29 March 2008 at Trafalgar Studios.
- La Cage aux Folles (January – March 2008) A London revival, starring Philip Quast as Georges and Douglas Hodge as Albin/Zaza, opened on 8 January 2008 and played until March 8, subsequently transferring to the West End from 20 October 2008, at the Playhouse Theatre.
- Maria Friedman Re-Arranged 19 March – 4 May 2008, subsequent transfer to Trafalgar Studios 27 Nov 2008 – 4 Jan 2009.
- The Common Pursuit Starring James Dreyfus, Nigel Harman, Reece Shearsmith and Robert Portal (May – July 2008)
- They're Playing Our Song starring Connie Fisher and Alistair McGowan by Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch and Carol Bayer Sager July 25 – Sept 28 2008
- The White Devil by John Webster 3 October – 15 Nov 2008
- A Little Night Music Starring Hannah Waddingham, Alexander Hanson and Maureen Lipman, 20 November 2008 – 8 March 2009, subsequently transferring to the West End from 28 March 2009, at the Garrick Theatre.
- Rookery Nook by Ben Travers (16 April – 20 June 2009).
- Forbidden Broadway by Gerard Alessandrini – 25 June to 13 September 2009.
- Talent by Victoria Wood – 17 September to 14 November 2009.
- Sweet Charity starring Tamzin Outhwaite Book by Neil Simon, Music by Cy Coleman and Lyrics by Dorothy Fields – 21 November 2009 to 7 March 2010.
- Hannah Waddingham Live at the Chocolate Factory – 16 March to 20 March 2010
- The Willy Russell Season (in repertoire): Shirley Valentine starring Meera Syal and Educating Rita starring Larry Lamb and Laura Dos Santos – 26 March to 8 May 2010.
- Aspects of Love by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Charles Hart 7 July – 26 September 2010
- A Number by Caryl Churchill starring Samuel West and Timothy West September – November 2010
- The Invisible Man by Ken Hill 13 Nov 2010 – 13 Feb 2011
- Ruby Wax: Losing It Feb 15 – March 19, 2011 subsequent transfer to Duchess Theatre Sept 2011
- Smash! by Jack Rosenthal 24 March – 8 May 2011
- Road Show by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman – European Premiere June 2011
- Terrible Advice by Saul Rubinek starring Scott Bakula, Caroline Quentin, Andy Nyman, Sharon Horgan dir. Frank Oz- September 2011
- Pippin by Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson – 22 Nov 2011 – 25 Feb 2012
- Abigail's Party by Mike Leigh – 2 March to 21 April 2012 subsequent transfer to Wyndham's Theatre May – September 2012 and UK Tour throughout 2013.
- Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein 30 May – 12 August 2012 
- Without You by Anthony Rapp August 2012
- Charley's Aunt by Brandon Thomas starring Mathew Horne and Jane Asher September 20th – Nov 10th
- Merrily We Roll Along by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth running until March 9th 2013. Subsequent transfer to Harold Pinter Theatre 23 April - 27 July 
- Proof by David Auburn starring Mariah Gale from March 2013 to April 2013.
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker from July 5th to September 14th 2013.
- The Lyons by Nicky Silver from September 19th to November 16th 2013.
- Candide by Leonard Bernstein from November 23, 2013 to March 2014.
- Two Into One by Ray Cooney from March 8th 2014 to April 26th.
- Fame: Not The Musical by David Baddiel from April 29th 2014 to May 23rd, 2014
- Life of the Party by Andrew Lippa from May 27th 2014 to June 14th 2014.
- Forbidden Broadway by Gerard Alessandrini from June 18, 2014 to August 30, 2014.
- Fully Committed by Becky Mode from September 3rd 2014 to November 15th, 2014
- Menier Chocolate Factory – Restaurant Reviews[dead link]
- "English Heritage List entry Number: 1385925". List.english-heritage.org.uk. 1996-04-16. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
- "Interview with David Babani, ''British Theatre Guide'', 2007". Britishtheatreguide.info. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
- Reviews – Sunday in the Park with George (Menier Chocolate Factory), British Theatre Guide, 2005.
- Jane Shilling (13 June 2012). "David Bedella tackles the role of Arnold Beckoff with sparkling conviction". The Telegraph.
- Michael Billington (28 Nov 2012). "A superb production by Maria Friedman". The Guardian.
- Matthew Amer (29 January 2013). "Gale has Menier Proof". Official London Theatre.
- Robert McCrumm (21 July 2013). "The Color Purple is a feelgood show for a hot summer's night". The Observer.
- Dominic Cavendish (27 Sep 2013). "This horribly amusing Broadway import is laced with a surprising softness". The Telegraph.
- Michael Billington (2 Dec 2013). "a restless, comic-strip production that has a jaunty ebullience and two outstanding leads". The Guardian.
- Charles Spencer (19 Mar 2014). "If you enjoy farce, you will have a ball at this revival of Ray Cooney's play about lies and assumed identities in a Westminster hotel". The Telegraph.
- Jane Shilling (5 June 2014). "Broadway composer Andrew Lippa offers up a tantalising taster menu of his work that is sexy and sophisticated". The Telegraph.
- Jane Shilling (6 July 2014). "you'll weep with laughter". The Telegraph.