The UK premiere of Kinky Boots, the feel-good multi award-winning musical, opens in the West End on 15 September at the Adelphi Theatre, with previews from 21 August 2015. With a book by four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein, music and lyrics by pop icon Cyndi Lauper, and direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Musical, and the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album.
Inspired by a true story and based on the Miramax film written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth, Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price who has reluctantly inherited his father’s Northampton shoe factory. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save the family business from bankruptcy, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola. A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… and discovers that when you change your mind, you can change the world.
Producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig said: “We are thrilled and deeply honoured to be bringing Kinky Boots back home to British shores, where this inspirational story is set. The show is big-hearted and filled with joy and we trust that it will be warmly embraced by audiences in the UK.”
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ADELPHI THEATRE LONDON
In its early years, the theatre was primarily known for melodrama, and these called Adelphi Screamers. A considerable number of Charles Dickens stories were adapted for the stage and performed at the theatre, which included John Baldwin Buckstone’s The Christening, which was a comic burletta, and had its opening night on 13th October, 1834. Based on the The Bloomsbury Christening, this is regarded as the first Dickens’ adaptation performed.
Subsequent classics included popular ones such as; The Old Curiosity Shop, Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby. With significant improvements to the building required, the theatre was demolished, and on (Boxing Day) on 26th December 1858 The New Adelphi was opened. The re-built theatre had a seating capacity of 1,500, with standing room for a further 500. The interior was lit by a Stroud’s Patent Sun Lamp, which had a brilliant array of gas mantles passing light through a chandelier of cut-glass.
During the mid nineteenth century, John Lawrence Toole established and heightened his reputation for comedies at the theatre. Also at this time, the Adelphi was host to a number of French operettas including La belle H’l’n. During 1867, the theatre was home to the first public performance of Cox and Box, the Arthur Sullivan opera. William Terriss, an actor who performed frequently at the Adelphi was stabbed to death on 16th December, 1897 and this is commemorated by a plaque on the wall close to the stage-door. A bit-part actor known as Richard Archer Prince, and also with the name of William Archer Flint, committed the murder of Terriss. It is alleged that the theatre is haunted by the ghost of Terriss. Terriss’ daughter Ellaline Terriss, a well-known actress, and her husband actor Seymour Hicks managed the Adelphi for several years at the close of the 19th century.
The theatre re-opened as the Century Theatre on 11th September 1901 with the name reverting to the Adlephi in 1904. The new theatre was constructed by Frank Kirk and designed by Ernest Runtz. The ‘dean of London musical theatre’, George Edwardes, took control of the theatre in 1908. In the early 20th century, the Adelphi housed a number of musical comedies. The current Adelphi Theatre opened on 3rd December, 1930, re-designed by Ernest Schaufelberg in Art Deco style, and named the ‘Royal Adelphi Theatre’ and re-opened with the musical Ever Green, by Hart and Rogers. In 1940 the theatre’s name reverted to The Adelphi, continuing to be home to comedy and musicals.
A proposed redevelopment of Covent Garden by the Greater London Council in 1968 saw the theatre under threat, together with the Vaudeville, Garrick, Lyceum and Duchess theatres. A successful campaign by Equity, the Musicians’ Union, together with theatre owners under the banner of ‘Save London Theatres Campaign’, led to the scheme being abandoned. In 1993, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group purchased the theatre and entirely refurbished it prior to the opening of Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of Sunset Boulevard.
In November 1997, the Adelphi became home to Chicago which became the theatre’s longest-running production during its 8 1/2 year run, which at the time, also made it the longest-running American musical in the history of the West End. In April 2006, Chicago transferred to the Cambridge Theatre. Since then, the Adelphi Theatre has hosted major shows including Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita, Love Never Dies, The Bodyguard, and in 2014 Made In Dagenham The Musical.