Variety Theatre

Nikolay Galkin/TASS
In 1892 the First Moscow Electricity Exhibition took place at what in future became the Aquarium Garden. The event was a great success: the course of six months it had about 100,000 visitors. This naturally inspired the owners of the land plot and entrepreneurs. At the end of the 19th or beginning of 20th centuries a garden was planted here, complemented by a wooden theatre, and outdoor stage for an orchestra and a restaurant. In the middle of the garden stood a fountain with a waterfall.

The garden became very popular, attracting performances from Europe's best musicians. In 1923-1924, the winter theatre of the Aquarium Garden became the home of the first Soviet Music hall. It closed its doors less than a year later, but was remembered for outstanding performances, in particular, those by Leonid Utyosov. Some of the action in the Jolly Fellows (Vesyolye Rebyata), a 1934 film with Utyosov and Soviet movie star Lyubov Orlova, took place in the Operetta Theatre that replaced the Music hall. It was here that the novel character Woland gave his performance, while the Variety Theatre administrator Ivan Varenukha met Koroviev, Azazello, Behemoth and Hella.