Adelphi Theatre Archive

Current Show: The brand new hit stage musical Kinky Boots, which transferred here from New York's Broadway.

The late 1990s were seen out at the Adelphi Theatre by a revised revival of Noel Gay's 'Lambeth Walk' musical Me and My Girl - the originally production had been a huge hit running in London for over 2,200 at various West End theatres between 1937 and 1950 - but this new production, with a revised book by Stephen Fry and with extra Noel Gay songs added in from his other shows, opened here in February 1985 and run for an amazing eight years before closing in early 1993.

In July 1993, after a two week delay due to technical problems with the set automation, the eagerly awaited new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Sunset Boulevard opened here starring Patti LuPone as the silent movie star 'Norma Desmond'. Based on the original 1950 movie, directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, this stage musical version had book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. After seeing it on stage Billy Wilder said: "I congratulate the writers Don Black and Christopher Hampton on something ingenious - they left the story alone, that's already a very ingenious idea. A woman comes forward and says: 'I am big. It's the pictures that got small.' I was very much astonished when I heard the words, many of them retained and some of them to music... What they have done is so clever. When you make a film you choose what shot to have, you choose your lens; you have hundreds of ways to determine what the audience will see. On stage you cannot do that. Yet they have still managed to focus the attention where they wanted it to be focused. I wish I could do that, it's very clever." Following the West End opening, the creative team revised the show and staged it in Los Angeles in December 1993 to so much acclaim that it was decided to close this London staging down in early 1994 for three weeks and reopen in April with the revised 'Los Angeles Version', this time starring Betty Buckley as faded silent movie star. With various actresses taing over the role, including Elaine Paige, Petula Clark and Rita Moreno, the show run up to spring 1997.

The late 1990s saw the transfer from Broadway of two stage musical revivals to the Adelphi Theatre. First in June 1997, was a revised revival production of the Richard Adler, Jerry Ross and George Abbot musical Damn Yankees which starred Jerry Lewis as the central 'Devil/Applegate' role. The production was noted because Jerry Lewis would literally stop the show in the middle of one of his songs in Act 2 to deliver ten minutes of his vaudeville act. Unfortunately, despite some good notices, the show closed after barely two months, with a planned transfer to the Savoy Theatre being aborted. The next show, in November 1997 was a revival of the John Kander and Fred Ebb's musical Chicago - a transfer from Broadway, where it had began life as a limited run concert presentation, this revival was directed by Walter Bobbie with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse. The musical, which is based on a 1926 play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, is a bitter and cynical satire on the American justice system in which the guilty go free and, having garnered notoriety, behave like movie stars. Originally seen in London in 1979 when it run for just under two years, this revival opened to rave reviews, sell-out audiences and daily queues for returns. The show's popularity didn't wane once the original London stars - Ruthie Henshall and Ute Lemper - left, though the producers Barry and Fran Weissler were careful to regularly bring in 'box office friendly' names into the show including Brooke Shields, Jennifer Ellison and Denise Van Outen as 'Roxie Hart', Lynda Carter, Gaby Roslin and Alison Moyet as 'Mama Morton' and David Hasselhoff and Marti Pellow as 'Billy Flynn' - the show proved popular and made history by becoming the West End's longest running revival. The show finally closed here at the Adelphi Theatre in April 2006 - but only so it could transfer to the Cambridge Theatre.

The next show was another musical revival, this time the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita, which opened in June 2006. The musical, about Argentine political leader Eva Perón, included the seminal song 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' original sung in the original West End production by Elaine Paige. Taking on that central role of 'Eva 'Evita' Peron' in this revival was Elena Roger in her West End debut - and much as made of the fact that she had actually been born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Unfortunately, while the original production had run for some eight years, this new revival managed a run of just 11 months before closing in May 2007 to be replaced by a new production of another Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical - Joseph and the Amazing Techicolor Dreamcoat - starring Lee Mead as Joseph who had been chosen via the prime-time Saturday night BBC television reality series Any Dream Will Do. When Lee Mead left, the role of 'Joseph' was taken over by Gareth Gates - who was the runner-up in the first series of the ITV television talent show Pop Idol - making his West End debut. The revival closed in May 2009 after a run of just under two years. Two 'filler' shows then came in - firstly the return to the West End of the 'master of psychological illusion' Derren Brown which his latest show Enigma for a six week season in June 2009, followed in September 2009 by the return to London of The Rat Pack: Live From Las Vegas - celebrating the legendary nightclub act that Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr and Dean Martin performed together in the 60s - for a three month West End season which included a special Christmas version of the show being performed over the Christmas holiday period.

March 2010 saw the opening of one of the most eagerly awaited musicals - Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical Love Never Dies, a sequel to Webber's hugely popular musical The Phantom of the Opera. The new musical moved the action on to 1907 in New York were a mysterious 'Maestro' who runs the theatre at Coney Island announces a one-off concert by legendary Parisian soprano Christine Daaé. Her arrival in New York with husband Raoul, Victome de Chagny and son Gustave, and their subsequent meeting with the 'Maestro,' bring the cataclysmic events of 10 years earlier at the Paris Opera crashing back into all their lives. Unfortunately the production did not have the same pulling power as the original, and the show closed after 17 months.

Transfers of successful shows from other theatres was the name of the game next - firstly, having played for a sell-out season at the National Theatre, Richard Bean's new comedy One Man, Two Guvnors, Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters and starring James Corden transferred to the Adelphi Theatre in November 2011 were it continued to play to packed audiences for its limited four month season before it transferred again, this time to the Theatre Royal Haymarket Theatre. Next up in March 2012 was a transfer from the Chichester Festival Theatre in East Sussex of a major revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd starring Michael Ball in the title role along with Imelda Staunton as 'Mrs Lovett'. The revival continued for a strictly limited season up to September 2012 though, no doubt with an eye on what (detrimental) effect the London 2012 Olympics might have had on audience numbers, the producers announced a two-week cast holiday from 30 July to 11 August 2012 when the show effectively temporarily closed down. This was then followed by the stage musical premiere of the Whitney Houston film The Bodyguard which opened in December 2012. The Whitney Houston role of 'Rachel Marron' was initially played by the Tony award-winning actress Heather Headley with Beverley Knight taking over from August 2013 and Alexandra Burke playing the role of the last couple of months before the show closed in August 2014. It had been planned that the production, with Alexandra Burke starring in the lead, would have been filmed for a DVD release, but sadly this did not happen due to contract and royalty problems.

In October 2014 the new British musical Made in Dagenham opened here. Adapted for the stage by Richard Bean from the hit 2010 British movie it featured music and lyrics by David Arnold and Richard Thomas and starred Gemma Arterton. Although opening to generally positive notices from the critics, the show unfortunately struggled at the box office and closed after just five months. There were then two short runs in June 2015 - a stage version of the classic improv comedy television show Whose Line is it Anyway?, hosted by Clive Anderson which was followed by the return of the legendary comedian Jackie Mason. In August 2015, the West End transfer of the hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots started previews here.