The Karlin Theatre was founded by the excentric entrepreneur Eduard Tichý. Inspired
The baroque-revival building was built in 1881 with table arrangement and was originally designed for circus and later variety shows. With the legendary Karel Hašler – composer of more than 300 popular songs – cabaret came to the theatre after the First World War and the venue also hosted several theatrical groups from newly formed Czechoslovakia including the National Theatre from Bratislava. The table arrangement was replaced with regular theatre seats in rows in 1932. During the Second World War the Karlin Theatre gave shelter to the Prague´s National Theatre which was closed by Nazis.
Operetta "The Vagabond King" by Rudolf Friml was the first show after the end of war. This show started the era of repertory theatre which changed its name several times due to the political changes in the country: Theatre in Karlin, Operetta in Karlin and after the communist takeover in 1948 also Theatre of people´s art.
For the short period of time the theatre was headed by the legendary Jan Werich and Jiří Voskovec who staged here – very first in Europe – American musical "Finian´s Rainbow", only year after its world premiere on Broadway.
In 1950 the theatre became a property of the City of Prague, in 1954 took over the government and in 1961 the theatre was returned to the City of Prague under the current name the Karlin Musical Theatre and stayed in its ownership till today.
In years 1963 - 1978 the Karlin Musical Theatre got second venue the Nusle Musical Theatre - which is now known as privately owned Fidlovačka Theatre. In 1981 second small venue was built right in the building and very popular small theatrical group Semafor played there till 1990. This small theatre was later renamed Karlínek (Little Karlin) and both venues were working side by side till August 2002, when destructive flooding nearly destroyed the building.
October 12, 2006 – after four years the Karlin Musical Theatre was re-open with a Czech premiere of the most successful Broadway musical of all time – 12 TONY Awards – "The Producers".
Since then the Karlin Musical Theatre successfully staged several operettas and many world
known musicals (see: Repertory).