We wonder if they ever take their "sold out" sign off. But we know why it is possible they never do: the reasons are the theatre's spotless reputation, its star-studded cast (many of the actors are known from films and TV series), its hand-picked classical repertoire (from Shakespeare and Pushkin to Proust and Ionesco), and a performing style that is all its own, craftily blending the Russian "deep" theatre tradition with the debonair charm of a home variety revue. The troupe traces its history back to the cusp of the 1980s/1990s, when crowds of fans stormed the ticket office of the GITIS theatre academy, where the pupils of Pyotr Fomenko, then a cult figure but formerly an underground theatre director in the 1960s, gave their earliest performances in an impossibly packed auditorium. Moscow authorities approved the new theatre under pressure from the "art" lobby in 1993, and gave it the abandoned Kiev Movie Theatre building in 1997. The troupe moved into its current building in 2008, which looks very chic on the outside, and is fitted with all the modern equipment inside. The house is nice and comfortable. The lavish marble lobby offers a great view of the Moskva River and the towers of City.