Cavalcade (play)

Cavalcade (play)

"Cavalcade" was a stage play written by Noel Coward, premiered in London in 1931. It was the basis of the commercially and critically successful 1933 film of the same name.

Coward's play, one of the biggest stage successes of 1931 in London's West End, was a huge production requiring enormous sets, vast armies of extras and costumes, and a special hydraulic stage mechanism. It featured a large array of period songs and old music-hall favourites as well as an original Coward number, "Twentieth Century Blues". The original premiere of "Cavalcade" took place shortly before the 1931 British General Election, and the play's strongly patriotic themes were credited by the Conservative Party for helping to secure them a large number of middle-class Londoners' votes. Although Coward was certainly a Conservative, he always strenuously denied having planned any kind of effect on the Election and indeed maintained that he had been entirely unaware an election was even due to take place. Owing to the sheer cost of production, the play has not been staged in anything like its original form ever since, and most revivals have traditionally trimmed a number of Coward's more spectacular scenes, in particular the chaotic finale.

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