Reviews of the Book

Selections from reviews of the 1st edition of London Theatre Walks 1998

“It is beautifully written by two people who love theatre and love London—an ideal combination.” — Esther Perica, International Travel News

“If all the world’s a stage, then surely London holds the orchestra seating. Consider this book the usher who directs you there.” — Toni Stroud, Chicago Tribune

“Well conceived, thoughtfully designed . . . What distinguishes these walk is that they take one down lanes and alleys, into courtyards and parks, inside churches and public buildings, of which the ordinary tourist is unaware.” — Norman Anderson, The Christian Science Monitor.

“A nice combination of scholarly detail and juicy gossip and a good choice for fans of the theatre.” — Karen Schwartz, Associated Press

“I can’t imagine theatre lovers taking a trip to London without this book in hand.” Jerry Dellinger, Followspot, Illinois Theatre Association

“Juicy gossip, fascinating history, colorful legends and detailed maps help to make each walk a pleasure.” — Savvy Traveler, Chicago

How has the 2nd edition of London Theatre Walks been revised and expanded? The author of the 2nd edition, Jim De Young, has:

    1. Rewalked each and every route reflecting changes in the cityscape and rechecking all directions to insure maximum clarity. In the six years since the first edition was published streets have been re-named, closed, or have even disappeared. (e.g. large sections of Clink St.) Old buildings have been razed and new ones have appeared. (e.g. A traditional view of St. Brides Church from Blackfriars is now obscured by new high rise buildings.) Retail outlets, restaurants, and pubs have redecorated, changed names, moved , or gone out of business. Even theatres have not been exempt. (e.g. What was the Ambassadors Theatre in the first edition is now officially the New Ambassadors Theatre.)
    2. Added and/or updated more than fifty illustrations. (e.g.The two page layout on the Shakespeare’s Globe reconstruction now has lively photos of the theatre in actual operation. Some historical prints have been added to complement the photos.) A general comparison of the old to the new edition reveals sharper images, more accurate captions, and improved overall layout of illustrations in relation to text. All new photos were taken by Jim De Young. The layout and design were under the direction of Sue Knopf of Graffolio.
    3. Incorporated over thirty new site stops and items of interest. The most significant expansion has extended Walk 13 along the South Bank waterfront, past the London Eye, over Westminster Bridge, and on to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Other additions include: (e.g. expanded options in Walk 1 to incorporate the Tate Modern Art Gallery and Millennium foot bridge, the Shakespeare and Dowland memorials in St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, the W.S. Gilbert plaque on the Embankment, the Richard D’Oyly Carte sun-dial just off Embankment Gardens, the Oscar Wilde memorial in Adelaide Street, the stage door of the Haymarket Theatre to look at the Oscar Wilde plaque dedicated by Sir John Gielgud, the new stained class windows honoring Edward Alleyn in St. Giles Without Cripplegate, the Clarkson, Bernhardt, and Irving plaques in Soho, stops at the Lyric Pub and the Prince of Wales theatre, the recently planted tree in honor of Anne Frank, the short diversion into Neal’s Yard, the quirky theatrical restaurant Sarastro, the 1998 statue of Noel Coward in the Drury Lane Lobby, the William Terriss plaque on Maiden Lane, the mention of George Bernard Shaw’s bizarre wedding at the Henrietta Street registry office, and several new theatrical ghost stories.)
    4. Reviewed all maps to increase clarity by adding additional numbered sites, placing the numbers more precisely, and by improving the sequencing of the numbers. (e.g. An inset has been added in Walk 2 to increase clarity and legibility. More mentioned sites have been given their own key number.)
    5. Reworked the text to incorporate up-to-date developments on the London theatre scene. (e.g. Major rewriting was done to reflect the opening of the remodeled and expanded Royal Opera house. Long run statistics were updated for several theatres and the editorial cut-off date was late enough to include such recent announcements as the Kevin Spacey artistic direction at the Old Vic.)

What are reviewers and users saying about the Fall, 2003 second edition of London Theatre Walks?

London Theatre walks cited among the top ten literary travel books of 2004
by’s Classic Literature Web site:

“Jim De Young (a retired college professor) and John Miller (a broadcaster) have, with Mrs. De Young, revised and expanded their 1998 book, London Theatre Walks (Applause Books, $17.95), a generously illustrated guide that has this reader itching for his next trip to England; the direction to these tours are so detailed (“If you pass the stoplight, you have gone too far.”) that even I am unlikely to get lost.” — Opera News

“—the book’s got more fires and ghost stories than a campground at bedtime. Jim De Young and John Miller’s guide reveals what now stands and what once stood in the West End, Bankside, and beyond. Even if you don’t see a show at the Albery, it’s rewarding to know that this is where John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier alternated Romeo and Mercutio in a famous 1939 production of ‘Romeo and Juliet.” — Jeremy McCarter, The New York Sun

“Real drama buffs know that London has the richest theatre history of any city in the world. The new book London Theatre Walks:Thirteen Dramatic Tours Through Four Centuries of History & Legend by Jim De Young and John Miller provides beguiling historical information dating from the period of the Elizabethan playhouses to contemporary theatres. You’ll also find gossip and colorful legends about the players.” — True Blue Travel. (The travel newsletter of the U. of Michigan Alumni Assoc. 9/21/2003)

“. . . the book is a solid small reference. Its three page bibliography and the 16-page index should quickly point you to any specific name or point of interest.” —Elyse Sommer, Curtain Up

“Jim De Young is out to entertain and educate as he guides his readers through the streets of London. It’s like having a personal tour guide escorting you from the magnificently restored Globe Theatre to the newly remodeled Lyceum Theatre.” —Allegheny Music Works.

“It would make a terrific gift for a traveler, by the way. It runs to 262 pages (with a comprehensive index), has lots of pictures, and, in addition to leading you by the hand through the city’s various theatre districts, is loaded with ideas about what to do when you’re not at the theatre.” — Brian McKinney, Good Show! London Theatre Newsletter

“We stumbled across three books worth the while of London theatre fans on our most recent trip to London:

Jim De Young and John Miller have put together a terrific revised and expanded version of their London Theatre Walks, Thirteen Dramatic Tours through Four Centuries of History and Legend. The book is lively, readable, packed with information, and boasts a substantial index. I tried to use it as designed and found myself on Shaftesbury Avenue, holding the book at several angles and wrestling with a street map, as I tried to digest several paragraphs of information while being heckled by passersby. The book works
better for me in the quiet of a hotel room as I read about the theatre I am about to visit. (The 88 degree heat combined with 90 degree humidity, alternating with drenching showers, didn’t help.) The book also tells you how to find Leicester Square, no small achievement, giving valuable information on the Tkts booth. The book is written by two men deeply in love with this fascinating city and its unique theatrical tradition.” — 
Brian McKinney’s Good Show London Theatre Newsletter, August 3, 2004 (For more information on McKinney’s excellent newsletter go to

“I am finding it truly difficult not to completely lose myself in London Theatre Walks. . . The thirteen walks perfectly match the 13 weeks I’ll be in London. Do thank Professor De Young . . . for putting the walks together into this book, seemingly expressly for people like me.” — A professor of English Literature from California (From a testimonial letter sent to a former student of Dr. De Young who had given the book to a friend of hers.

“The revised and expanded Second Edition of London Theatre Walks was published in July of 2003 by Applause Books just after I returned from my last London vacation. I enjoyed the first edition tremendously and even received a guided tour of Walk 1 (Shakespeare and the Globe: A trip to Bankside) in December of 2000 by the author himself. What makes a lowly pundit like myself eligible for such first class treatment? Well, it just so happens that the said author is my own father, Dr. James L. De Young, who was professor of Speech Communications and Theater Arts at Monmouth College for almost 40 years until his retirement last year. Dr. De Young traveled to London more than a dozen times over the years—graciously taking me along on a few occasions—to do research, take notes and photographs and work and re-work the reams of cellulose pulp that finally became the first edition of this book in 1999.

Even visitors to London who didn’t grow up with the Theatre as I did will find plenty of interest in London Theatre Walks. For those with a little shoe leather to spare, these 13 walks will guide you through some of the most fascinating and historic parts of the city, typically starting and dropping you off at well-known London landmarks you may already be familiar with. Adventuresome rock and roll spirits like myself may also discover that these walks can be turned into a sort of pub crawl game, the object of which is to stop for a pint and have bar attendants in each of the many historic pubs referenced along the route of the walks autograph the margins of the book next to the corresponding reference.

The London Theatre Walks website, designed by yours truly, makes its official internet debut on February 13th on the author’s 66th birthday.” — David deYoung, editor, (Note: It may be a bit nepotistic to feature this comment, but quite frankly it was not solicited and when he also offered to do a website for me, I jumped at the chance. He is in line to take care of the fourth edition. I figure to still be able to walk for the 3rd one.

Plans are already under way for a 3rd edition.

Under consideration are new walks in Hampstead and Chelsea as well as a new section on day trips to theatre sites outside of London such as Shaw’s House at Ayot St. Lawrence, the Roman Theatre at Winchester, the Chichester Theatre complex, and Stratford Upon Avon. There is also hope to add more historical prints, additional photos, and perhaps some color illustrations. 


2 Responses to Reviews of the Book

  1. Pamela Milholland says:

    I am the granddaughter of Cyril Maude famous actor/manager at the turn of the 20th Cent. and his wife, the actress Winifred Emery. The Emery family of actors started in 1748 and continued through my mother the actress Margery Maude. I plan a return visit to London this January and am most interested in finding out if you have published a third revision of your book. I have given Maude and Emery archival material to Penn State University, University Park, PA which can be accessed through their rare books collection. I will be eager to find out about your publication LONDON THEATRE WALKS. I might be able to add to your info. re. theatre of that era. Your book sounds interesting. Sincerely, Pamela Milholland

  2. j deyoung says:

    3rd edition hopefully 2011. 2nd edition still viable and still available. I will be happy to check out the material at Penn State. Thanks for your interest.
    Jim De Young

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