When you think of London, it’s impossible not to think West End theatre. Over 40 venues perform world-class shows to audiences of over 14 million every year, making it the largest theatre scene in the English-speaking world. It is home to the Olivier Awards, one of the most highly-regarded theatre awards, legendary producers past and present including Andrew Lloyd Webber and Noel Coward, and some of the greatest stories ever told from Aladdin, to Agatha Christie’s The Moustrap, to The Lion King.
The musicals staged in Theatreland promise an experience quite unlike any other, forming a major part of the London tourist scene but equally loved by locals alike. Many shows are aimed at all ages, such as Wicked and Tim Minchin’s Matilda, offering a memorable experience that the whole family can enjoy, while the introduction of shows like The Book of Mormon have proved the popularity for side-splitting adult humour on stage. For first-timers, many would recommend you start with one of the classics like Les Misérables, the longest running in West End history, but there’s always something new for well-seasoned theatre-goers such as School of Rock, based on the Jack Black film which opened in 2016, or the multi Tony Award winning Broadway extravaganza An American in Paris showing at the Dominion Theatre.
In fact, the greatest pleasure of West End musicals is the thrill of a different performance every night. A different audience, a different reaction from an actor, a new detail you didn’t discover first time round and, if you plan on returning to London at a later date, perhaps even a different cast entirely. Ask any of the many West End fanatics out there, you’ll be hooked.
The productions are housed in some of the capital’s most beautiful buildings steeped in history and tradition, The Palace Theatre even leaves two seats free every night for its resident ghosts, that come alive night after night. Don’t leave London without booking a ticket.