Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi

Phil Willmott

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 

Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi

by  Phil Willmott

License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.


  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3f, 4m, 19m or f
  • SubGenre
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

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.


Performing Groups
  • No Special Cautions

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


The musical was originally staged at the Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool but was equally successful in a simply-staged, studio production at the Union Theatre in London and it's possible for the musical to be presented in many different ways. The scenes incl


3f, 4m, 19m or f
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.
Casting Notes

Large mixed cast, but much doubling possible and can be played by a company of 7 principals and an additional dance ensemble of 4 (full details in libretto)


  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Medium



Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:

Large Orchestration:

Full Conductor Score 
Piano Rehearsal Score
Keyboard I
Keyboard II
Bass Guitar 
Drum Kit 
Trombone I
Trombone II
Trumpet I
Trumpet II
Woodwind I (Flute/Alto Sax)
Woodwind II (Clarinet/Tenor Sax)
Woodwind III (Oboe/Cor Anglais)
20 Vocal Books

Small Orchestration:

Four Piece Conductor Score 
Piano Rehearsal Score
Keyboard I
Keyboard II
Bass Guitar 
Drum Kit 
20 Vocal Books

Additional Resources And Services Available


"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



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 Peter Pan as adults in the First World War. Foll ...

View full profile

Now Playing

Community Experiences