Get our free email newsletter with just one click

When Russ Abbot made his West End debut – 35 years ago in The Stage

From The Stage's issue of May 10, 1984
by -
Click to enlarge

May 10, 1984: Comedian Russ Abbot, then at the peak of his popularity thanks to his primetime television show Russ Abbot’s Madhouse – for which he had twice been voted the “funniest man on television in Britain” – was announced to be making his West End debut in the musical Little Me at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

He told The Stage: ”I felt Little Me was tailor-made and that I had to try something new, otherwise I would have been repeating the pattern over and over. If it does well, then a new future becomes possible. I feel I’m essentially a theatre man and I’m surprised to have got this far. It’s been a great career and if it all finished and I didn’t do anything else, I couldn’t complain. I’m learning all the time and I hope that after this entry into the legit theatre that there will be other things to try.

“It’s good to be in a musical. I’ve always enjoyed them when I’ve been in an audience and I don’t mind confessing that they can move me to cry and smile.”

The production went on to run for 334 performances. Since then, Abbot’s theatre roles have included Doctor Dolittle, Alfred P Doolittle in My Fair Lady and Fagin in Oliver!.


If you’d like to read more stories from the history of theatre, all previous content from The Stage is available at the British Newspaper Archive in a convenient, easy-to-access format. Please visit: thestage.co.uk/archive

Force of Abbot – Russ Abbot

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.