11 Hit West End Shows That Will Get You Hooked on London Theatre
For those who didn’t grow up with theatre in their blood, jumping into the world of West End spectaculars can often feel intimidating. With so many world-renowned productions clamoring for attention, eager to sell out every show, choosing your entry point to the London stage must be done carefully.
When it comes to lifelong habits, becoming addicted to supporting the arts and enjoying top-notch theatre is definitely one of your safest bets. With that in mind, if you want to take the plunge and get hooked, here are some of the top West End shows to get you there.
The Lion King
There are few stories as powerful and culturally significant as “The Lion King,” so taking in this show at the Lyceum Theatre should be near the top of your to-do list. For more than 18 years, this bold and beautiful production has been thrilling audiences in London and around the world. Whether you’ve been singing along to “Hakuna Matata” since childhood, or simply want to revel in a wild visual feast on the West End, don’t miss this stunning production.
The Phantom of the Opera
When it comes to staying power, “The Phantom of the Opera” is one of the heaviest-hitting shows there is. As the longest-running Broadway musical and second longest-running musical in West End history, this masterpiece is certain to whet your musical theater appetite. Packed with classic songs and tragic emotions, Andrew Lloyd Weber’s famous musical has the ability to turn anyone into a lifelong theatre junkie!
Based on the songs of the legendary Swedish pop group ABBA, “Mamma Mia!” is a dazzling tour-de-force that will have you dancing in your seats. This musical is set in a Grecian paradise, where old flames, zany characters, and chart-topping tunes make for a swirling, high-energy, and endlessly fun show.
With high-flying action and unforgettable characters, “Aladdin” is one of the treasures of London’s theatrical offerings. From the heart-pumping beat of “One Jump Ahead” to an actual flying carpet, this musical is a timeless thrill that will fill your eyes with wonder.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Twenty-two years ago, J.K. Rowling released a book that would go on to define a generation, and inspire new readers across the globe. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” follows boldly in the footsteps of Rowling’s seven books, inviting longtime fans back into a newly envisioned world of witchcraft and wizardry.
If you’re seeking magic, mayhem, and a healthy dose of mischief during your first dive into London theatre, few shows will amuse and inspire quite like “Matilda.” Based on Roald Dahl’s treasured book, “Matilda” is a quirky, heartfelt, and visually stunning production that has cast a spell on the West End.
For more than 15 years, “Wicked” has been wowing audiences around the world, and there is simply no better way to experience the wonders of a West End stage. If you find yourself asking, “What is this feeling?” don’t worry… that’s what everyone asks after their first trip to Oz.
The Book of Mormon
Maybe you’ve never jumped headfirst into theatre because it seems too stuffy or old-fashioned. Well, “The Book of Mormon” has been irreverently spreading its message of love and laughter for the better part of a decade, and once you see this gut-busting spectacle, you may never look at theatre the same way again!
School of Rock
If you need a little rock ‘n’ roll with your little night music, “School of Rock” is the raucous good time your heavy metal heart has been searching for. Musicals come in all shapes and sizes, and this amped-up production is an absolute knockout. Like a heartfelt power ballad, this show hits all the high notes and may even un-dry some eyes in the house!
If you’re not going to take in a musical on the West End, catching a production of the longest-running show in the world should top your list. “Mousetrap” has been playing continuously in the West End for nearly seven decades, and the current run at St. Martin’s Theatre is one of the best iterations of Agatha Christie’s masterful whodoneit. You won’t be able to pull yourself back from the edge of your seat during this perennial London favorite!