The Adelphi Theatre opened its doors on The Strand in 1806 as Sans Pareil or 'without compare'. It has staged a wide range of theatre including, in the early days, Italian comic opera, pantomime and farce. It is perhaps best known in recent times as the home of blockbuster musicals such as Evita and Chicago. If you're looking to make your visit to London an extended one, the theatre is close to many attractions. These include Leicester Square with its galleries, as well as many popular restaurants, cafes and great pubs.
The theatre is close to Covent Garden and three minutes walk from the tube station there, four minutes from Charing Cross and five minutes from the Embankment. With a capacity of 1,500 accommodated across three levels stalls, dress circle and upper circle the theatre has undergone a number of transformations. It owes its current appearance to a redesign in the 1930s by Ernest Schaufelberg who gave it a chic Art Deco interior. This was restored to its full glory in 1993. It provides a sparkling setting for your theatre visit.
Not only have there been four theatres on the site of the Adelphi, it has also had no fewer than seven names. The original theatre was built by a businessman called John Scott who made a fortune with a laundry product, True Blue. Early entertainment included songs, recitations and imitations livened by periodic fireworks. It subsequently became well known for its melodramas and adaptations of novels by Charles Dickens. In 1858, the theatre was rebuilt and subsequently refurbished twice.
In 1897 the theatre was hit by scandal when an actor, William Terriss, was stabbed to death while using a private entrace to the theatre.The killing is marked by a plaque on the wall by the stage door and it is said that his ghost haunts the Adelphi.
In the 1960s the theatre, along with the Garrick, Lyceum, Vaudeville and Duchess, came under threat of demolition because of a proposed scheme by the GLC to redevelop Covent Garden. The plans caused widespread outrage and were abandoned after the launch of the Save London Theatres campaign.
In recent years the theatre has enjoyed success with a string of blockbuster musicals including My Fair Lady, Me and My Girl, Sunset Boulevard, Chicago, Evita, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Bodyguard, The Rat Pack: Live from Las Vegas, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
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