Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi

Full-Length Musical, Drama  /  3f, 4m, 19m or f

Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi
by Phil Willmott
Additional music and arrangements by Elliot Davis

“A remarkable achievement. A fluid line-up of song and dance numbers, with an MGM verve and velocity." - Independent 
  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3f, 4m, 19m or f
  • SubGenre
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Senior, Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Licence details
  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



Phil Willmott's dazzling musical centres on the iconic Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool which saw the great and the glamorous pass through its doors from its heyday in the 1920s to 1940s.Cleverly juxtaposing the past and the present, we follow the love story of four young staff members - Nick and Jo in the present, Young Alice and Thompson in the past - brought to life with the vibrant and poignant reminiscences of Older Alice. 1930s Hollywood stars, cowboy Roy Rogers and tango supremo Carlos Gardel, mingle with Russian acrobats, American G.I.s, aristocratic guests and hotel employees. This is a full-scale musical for a large company with great opportunity for ensemble work and a variety of principal roles for all ages. Its flexible settings means it can be staged elaborately or simply as facilities permit.
Cast Attributes
  • Expandable casting
Neil Ashby, employee from the present Adelphi Hotel.
Jo, employee from the present Adelphi Hotel.
Young Alice Summers, employee from the past Adelphi Hotel.
Older Alice Summers, from the past.
Mo, Thompson's mum from the past.
  • Time Period Contemporary
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Cautions
    • No Special Cautions


"Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi has everything. Great songs, high-energy dancing, a wonderful set, humour, pathos, history, glamour, you name it. It made me laugh out loud and it made me wipe away a tear. It made me proud to live in Liverpool. It is cheesy without being corny, it is sentimental without descending into schmaltz ... What a show. What a night. Do yourself a favour. Go." - Alastair Machray, Liverpool Echo

“ I was reminded both of the Broadway musical Grand Hotel and Noël Coward's Demi Monde, as it captures the impressionistic flow of life and incident there ... a genuinely impressively achieved musical and quite possibly the best new show to hail from Liverpool since Blood Brothers." - Stage

“A fabulous new musical fairy tale for the year 2008. A thoroughly enjoyable evening. It was refreshing to hear the new music - which left everyone in the audience with smiles on their faces." - Theatreworld

“Willmott knows how to pen a tune ... 'Once In A Lifetime', whose swelling melody is hot-wired directly to the tear-ducts, should be designated the official anthem of the Capital of Culture." - Guardian


  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra SizeMedium


Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
1 Full Score 
1 Piano Rehearsal Score
20 Vocal Books
1 Keyboard 1
1 Keyboard 2
1 Bass Guitar 
1 Drum Kit 
1 Guitar
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Trumpet 1
1 Trumpet 2
1 Woodwind 1
1 Woodwind 2
1 Woodwind 3
1 Piano Rehearsal Score
20 Vocal Books


Take a look below at how you can enhance your show!


Phil Willmott

Multi-award-winning composer, writer and director Phil Willmott’s first collaboration as a composer with Mark Collins was the musical Lost Boy, which transferred from the Finborough Theatre for an extended run at the Charing Cross Theatre and imagined the characters from Pete ...
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