From modern adaptations to timeless tales with comedic characters and outlandish jazz hands, London’s musical theatre scene constantly thrives. Just head to London’s glittering West End to see for yourself. If you need a hand navigating the wonderful world of musical theatre, let our selection of the best London musicals help steer you in the right direction.
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Pretty Woman: The Musical
The iconic 90s film we’ve all been patiently waiting to enter the West End has finally made its way to Piccadilly Theatre. See Vivian and Edward’s (originally played by Julia Roberts and Richard Gere) unexpected romance flourish live on stage this February, with outstanding choreography from Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell and an uplifting original score from Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance.
Until January 2021. Book via lovetheatre.com
Photo: Morris Mac Matzen
Apollo Victoria Theatre
Now in its 14th year and having been seen by nearly 60 million theatre-goers worldwide, its no surprise that WICKED is one of the longest running West End musicals of all time. Dorothy’s triumph over the Wicked Witch is only one side of the story. Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel, ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’, re-imagines the Land of Oz, proposing a parallel universe to that of L. Frank Baum’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. WICKED tells the story of an unlikely, deep friendship between two young women: one blonde and one green.
Book via lovetheatre.com
Photo: Helen Woolf (Glinda) and Nikki Bentley (Elphaba). Photo By Matt Crockett
If you missed your chance to see this award-winning Broadway musical throughout its 1400-performance run at London’s Adelphi Theatre, do not despair. The highly-praised ebullient production – which features music from Cyndi Lauper and choreography from Tony award-winner Jerry Mitchell (
Legally Blonde, Hairspray) – is coming to a cinema near you, with scheduled screenings taking place at over 600 venues across the UK and Ireland. Visit kinkybootscinema.com for screening schedules.
Photo: Matt Crockett
A follow-your-dreams, break-the-mold story of charming proportions,
Waitress is a feel good production for the whole family. Trapped in a loveless marriage, small town pie-maker Jenna – played by Lucie Jones in an extended run – gets the opportunity to start again when a baking contest arrives in town. Featuring a hit score by 7-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles, Waitress is also the first Broadway musical to have four women in leading creative roles. Now extending until 21 March 2020. Book via lovetheatre.com
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, dramatising the life and death of Argentine First Lady Eva Perón, follows Evita as she moves from abject poverty to political power in the upper echelons of Buenos Aires society. After a sell-out run at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Jamie Lloyd’s production of the iconic musical is transferring to the Barbican Theatre for just 8 weeks in the summer of 2020, so snap up those tickets.
27 June – 22 August 2020. Book via lovetheatre.com
Victoria Palace Theatre
The phenomenon has spread overseas. Lin Manuel Miranda’s jewel of a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton is not only about a revolution but is a musical revolution in and of itself. Follow the story of the American Founding Father through song and rap in one of the most soulful, theatrical experiences to date.
Until August 2020. hamiltonmusical.com.
Only Fools and Horses: The Musical
Theatre Royal Haymarket
Del Boy and Rodney made their West End debut at Theatre Royal Haymarket this February. Co-written by Paul Whitehouse and Jim Sullivan, this tribute to the much-loved British sitcom
Only Fools and Horses is set in Peckham in 1989, with Tom Bennett as Del Boy, Ryan Hutton as Rodney and Paul Whitehouse himself as Grandad. Until 27 June 2020. Book via lovetheatre.com
Photo: Trevor Leighton
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
The Apollo Theatre
Sixteen-year-old Jamie lives on a council estate in Sheffield, doesn’t fit in, is terrified of what’s ahead and, by the way, is going to be a sensation. The show celebrates the support of families, friends, squelching bullies and stepping into the spotlight. Featuring John McCrea, Josie Walker, Tamsin Carroll, Mina Anwar, Lucie Shorthouse and Phil Nichol.
Book via lovetheatre.com
This timeless piece has been seen by 70 million people and performed in 22 different languages. Who wouldn’t want to hear ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ live? After breaking parole, ex-convict Jean Valjean is hunted for decades by the policeman Javert. Valjean’s decision to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, puts a whole new dimension to the story in motion.
Book via lovetheatre.com
The Lion King
The Lion King uses breathtaking theatrical magic to tell the story of Simba’s journey to fulfil his destiny as King of the Pridelands. This spectacle for children and adults alike is made all the more memorable through music by Elton John and Hans Zimmer with lyrics by Tim Rice. Following the live-action remake of The Lion King, there’s no better time to see the production live. Book via lovetheatre.com
The Road Dahl classic
Matilda is about a girl with a vivid imagination and sharp mind who, yet, is belittled by cruel parents and a brutal headmistress. Matilda and her classmate’s vitality showcases the show’s youthful tour de force. Book via lovetheatre.com
Footloose The Musical
The New Wimbledon Theatre
Footloose, based on the hit film and starring Pop Idol‘s Gareth Gates, tells the story of Ren, a city boy who’s forced to take matters into his own hands after finding out that the rural town he’s just moved to has banned dancing and rock’n’roll. Touring the UK this year, it’s packed with classic ’80s hits like Holding Our For a Hero. 24 April – Saturday 2 May 2020. Book via atgtickets .com
See Whoopi Goldberg take to the stage and reprise her role as Deloris Van Cartier in the brand new musical
Sister Act. A star-studded production, Jennifer Saunders will feature alongside as Mother Superior, whilst eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken leads an original score. Be sure to snap up tickets quickly – the show has already announced it will be opening a week earlier due to demand! 21 July – 30 August 2020. Book via lovetheatre.com
Photo: Matthew Murphy and Oliver Rosser
9 to 5
The Savoy Theatre
A feel-good show featuring music from Dolly Parton? We’re sold. Follow colleagues Violet (Louise Redknapp), Doralee and Judy as they endeavour to get back at their sexist and narcissistic boss, played by Brian Conley. This is one to watch with the girls – get the popcorn and drinks in!
Until 23 May 2020. Book via lovetheatre.com
Photo: Simon Turtle start the slideshow