Adelphi Theatre

The Adelphi Theatre is a three-tier theatre in London’s West End, located on the Strand in the City of Westminster. The present building is the fourth on the site. On 1 December 1987, the theatre was Grade II listed for historical preservation.

History

The theatre started life in 1806 as the Sans Pareil, by merchant John Scott, and his daughter Jane, who was a theatre manager, performer, and playwright. On 18 October 1819, the theatre reopened under its present name, which was adopted from the Adelphi buildings opposite it on the Strand. On 26 December 1858, following the demolishing of the old building, The New Adelphi was opened and was considered an improvement on the cramped circumstances of the original, seating 1500 people, with standing room for another 500. The building was renovated in 1879 and again in 1887 when the house next door, along with The Hampshire Hog in The Strand and the Nell Gwynne Tavern in Bull Inn Court, were bought to expand the theatre’s size.

On 11 September 1901, the theatre was once again reopened following a rebuild, named the Century Theatre, although it reverted back to the Adelphi Theatre in 1904. The building was built by Frank Kirk to the design of Ernest Runtz. The present Adelphi Theatre opened on 3 December 1930, redesigned in an Art Deco style by Ernest Schaufelberg. It was named the Royal Adelphi Theatre and opened with the musical Ever Green, by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers. A proposed redevelopment of Covent Garden by the GLC in 1968 saw the theatre under threat, together with the nearby Vaudeville, Garrick, Lyceum and Duchess theatres. A campaign by Equity, the Musicians’ Union, and theatre owners under the name ‘Save London Theatres’ led to the plans being abandoned.

In 1993, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group purchased the theatre and completely refurbished it prior to the opening of his adaptation of Sunset Boulevard. The 1998 video of his musical Cats was filmed at the theatre. In November 1997, the London production of Chicago premiered at the Adelphi, becoming its longest-ever production with a run of over eight years.

Michael Grandage’s revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita replaced Chicago, which transferred to the Cambridge Theatre. It ran for a year, before another Andrew Lloyd Webber revival, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starring Lee Mead, opened. In 2010, the Adelphi houses the premiere of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Love Never Dies, which closed on 27 August 2011. The National Theatre transferred their show One Man, Two Guvnors to the theatre from 8 November 2011. This production moved out of the theatre on 25 February 2012, transferring to the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London.

Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street began a limited season at the Adelphi from 10 March to 22 September 2012, transferring from the Chichester Festival Theatre, starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton. On 6 November 2012, The Bodyguard premiered at the theatre, running until 29 August 2014, when it closed in London and embarked on a national tour. British musical Made in Dagenham, starring Gemma Arterton, opened in November 2014, posting early closure and departing on 11 April 2015.

American musical Kinky Boots, with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, opened in August 2015, closing on Saturday 12 January 2019, when Waitress moved in, opening for previews on Friday 8 February 2019.

On Saturday 14 March 2020, Waitress the Musical played its final performance at the Adelphi Theatre, before the theatre closed due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) on Monday 16 March. The show was due to close on 4 July 2020. Hello, Dolly! is due to open at the theatre for a limited season from Tuesday 11 August 2020 through to Saturday 6 March 2021.

NameAdelphi Theatre
OwnerLW Theatres and Nederlander Organization
Capacity1500 people
Opened1806