It’s 25 glorious years since Funny Girls launched itself on Blackpool’s nightlife.
The drag show opened in a corner shop on Blackpool’s Queen Street in 1994 and was an instant success, so much so that eight years later it moved to a much bigger venue – its current home in the Grade II Listed building on Dickson Road, with art-deco features.
Headline stars Betty Legs Diamond and DJ Zoe were there for the opening night. Betty Legs Diamond said: “The first show was a really special night – we had no idea how it would go but the atmosphere was electric. The audience took us into their heart, they could see it was all fun but it was also very professional.”
DJ Zoe reflected: “When we first opened we had no idea just how popular it would become.
“Blackpool hadn’t seen anything like it before so on that first night we didn’t even know if anyone would turn up – but it was fantastic and we instantly knew we had something special.
“We had a tiny stage back then and the queues kept forming outside. It just got bigger and bigger and we kept expanding and then eventually got our current home in the fabulous Odeon building.”
Over the years, the showbar has gone from strength to strength, with its Las Vegas-style show.
The cast has appeared on the Royal Variety Show twice and attracts visitors from around the world, who all come to enjoy Funny Girls’ unique blend of dancing, music and entertainment.
Among the celebrity visitors was Queen of Hollywood, Dame Joan Collins, who officially opened the former Odeon cinema building after Funny Girls completed a £2m renovation project in 2002.
But even as recently as this year it has attracted stars of TV and stage – including Blue singer and actor Duncan James, who recently appeared in the Rocky Horror Show at the Winter Gardens, who said Funny Girls was one of his favourite places in Blackpool.
It comes as no surprise to Zoe, who said: “Funny Girls is bright, it’s colourful and above all it’s fun – just like Blackpool – and we’re happy to help put the town on the map.
“It really doesn’t feel like 25 years since we opened – but we can’t let that moment pass without a big celebration.”
To mark the anniversary, a special show has been put together that uses many of the old famous performances, including routines from the Will Rogers Follies and Sound of Music.
There will also be surprises, including a balloon drop on Thursday, July 4, where 25 silver tickets will be hidden among the balloons with prizes, and a giant birthday cake for everyone to share throughout the weekend.