Travel the world at these London Theatre Week shows
Even though travel restrictions have eased a bit, going to another country still isn’t in the cards for a lot of us. But luckily, the theatre is here to provide an escape from your everyday life, and plenty of West End shows allow you to travel the world without leaving London! London Theatre Week is the best time to take advantage of exclusive prices on theatre tickets, available from 21 February to 13 March.
Journey to the U.S. with Grease and Clybourne Park, Greece with Mamma Mia!, and even the African desert with The Lion King. These are just a few of the London shows set in faraway lands. And not only does West End theatre let you journey to new places, but many are also set in different time periods — you can’t time-travel on a normal vacation! So if you can’t get plane tickets to these places, get theatre tickets instead.
Travel to the African Pride Lands with The Lion King
Go on safari at The Lion King! This classic Disney musical has been drawing audiences to the Pride Lands since 1999, and now it’s your turn to join the circle of life. This musical is roaring with vibrant sound and costumes, bringing the animal kingdom to life with intricate, African-inspired puppetry you won’t see anywhere else.
In the musical, the young lion Simba grows up and readies to take his rightful place as King of the Pride Lands, but he must vanquish his evil uncle Scar, who usurped the title from Simba’s father. Even if an African safari isn’t in your vacation plans, go to The Lion King for the next best thing. You’ll be feeling the love tonight!
Travel to Norway with Frozen the Musical
If the cold never bothered you anyway, bundle up and enjoy a few hours in Norway at Frozen the Musical. The fictional kingdom of Arendelle, where the musical and its preceding Disney film are set, is located there. Queen Elsa is set to rule the kingdom, but she has a secret: She can control ice and snow, a power she’s hidden for years after injuring her sister, Anna, with them as a child.
When her powers are exposed and she’s shamed by the kingdom, she runs off to live alone, and Anna embarks on a quest to bring her back and repair their relationship. This show is perfect for sisters, families, and friends of all ages, even if you can’t take a girls’ trip to the real Norway. If this is the first time in forever you’re going out to a show, let it be Frozen!
Travel to Uganda with The Book of Mormon
Elders Price and Cunningham go on an international trip of their own in The Book of Mormon, and you get to go right along with them, whether solo or two by two. The Mormon missionaries hope to get sent to convert the locals in Orlando, Florida (and get a Disney vacation in the process), but they’re assigned to a Ugandan village instead — and its residents are not so hyped about the whole religion thing.
If your own travel plans don’t go as planned, you’ll find kindred spirits in The Book of Mormon‘s characters. Luckily, you don’t have to deal with job stress or spooky Mormon hell dreams like they do — you just get to sit back and laugh at the antics. The Book of Mormon is here for you if you’re looking to escape the world for a few hours of irreverent comedy.
Travel to Scotland with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
You don’t need a Portkey or a flying car to get to Scotland, where the famous Hogwarts School and Witchcraft and Wizardry lies. All you need is a ticket to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which takes audiences on a brand-new adventure through the Wizarding World. More than 20 years after where the end of the final Harry Potter book left off, we return to Hogwarts with his son, Albus, and Draco Malfoy’s son, Scorpius.
The characters don’t stray from the U.K., but you’ll join them on a time-traveling adventure through places and scenes you know and love from the books — and some you don’t. Albus and Scorpius embark on this journey to right past wrongs, but they find themselves in a version of their Wizarding World that looks nothing like the one they know. Hold on to your wands!
Travel through time with Back to the Future
Speaking of time-traveling adventures, there’s another one on the London stage right now: Back to the Future, a musical adaptation of the beloved 1985 movie. The show transports you to Hill Valley, California and mostly keeps you there, but you’ll ride along in the DeLorean (well, from your seat in the audience) alongside Marty McFly and Doc Brown as they travel back to 1955 and inadvertently meddle in Marty’s parents’ first encounter.
Nowhere else can you go to this California town (it’s fictional) and watch romance, sci-fi, and musical comedy meet while you’re at it. Fire up your own car (with or without plutonium) and blast off to Back to the Future for a trip like no other.
Travel to Greece with Mamma Mia!
Gimme, gimme, gimme a ticket to Mamma Mia! This feel-good musical will instantly transport you to the bright, beachy Greek coastline, where colorful costumes and ABBA covers abound. You’ll have a dynamo of a time watching this musical about a young girl who invites all three of her possible fathers to her upcoming wedding in the hopes of figuring out who her real one is.
London may be a little chillier than Greece, but you’ll certainly warm up (and feel like a dancing queen) after grooving in your seat to the catchy tunes, and you’ll suddenly feel like you’re there. So if you have a dream to take a tropical vacation soon, you can put your money, money, money toward Mamma Mia! tickets even if a plane ticket is out of reach.
Travel to France with Les Misérables
Paris has been alive in London at Les Misérables since 1985, making it the longest-running West End musical. And not only do you travel to another country with Les Misérables, you travel in time, too — all the way back to the 19th century, around the Paris Uprising of 1832. You might not have wanted to actually be there during the violent rebellion, but Les Misérables gets you up close to the action (and the sights of Paris) safely — and with gorgeous music.
The sung-through musical centers on Jean Valjean, who reinvents himself as a respectable nobleman and father figure to a young, neglected girl after spending 19 years in prison. The police inspector Javert continues to hunt him even while he redeems himself by helping the city, the girl, and the revolutionaries. You don’t have to wait one day more to see this show!
Travel to St. Louis with The Glass Menagerie
Anyone can go sightseeing in St. Louis, Missouri and see famous landmarks like the Arch, but you can’t get a glimpse of the lives of its residents behind closed doors — and you probably won’t see Amy Adams. That is, unless you go to The Glass Menagerie. Set entirely in one St. Louis apartment, Tennessee William’s classic play follows one family buckling under the weight of their own troubles.
Adams makes her West End debut as Amanda Wingfield, a fading Southern belle who’s obsessed with finding a suitor for her frail daughter, Laura. Her son, Tom, feels bored with his life and work; he longs to escape the apartment and become a poet. This poignant play is a must-see, and even though you won’t get to “see” much of St. Louis, you’ll go on a gripping emotional journey.
Travel to California with Grease
There are worse things you could do than get away to sunny California! Or, at least feel like you’re in sunny California while at Grease in London, which takes place at a high school there. Spend a summer night with the T-Birds and Pink Ladies at this classic musical, about a vacation romance that’s put to the test when Danny and Sandy find themselves at the same high school come the fall.
You’ll feel like you’re on the beach when you hear “Summer Nights,” and you can pretend you’re driving down the coastline in your own sweet ride when “Greased Lightning” starts up. And your “California vacation” will be made even better with plenty of nostalgic 1950s flair, provided by the choreography and costumes.
Travel to Chicago with Clybourne Park
A trip to Chicago by way of Clybourne Park is less of a recreational excursion and more of an honest glimpse into history. Bruce Norris’s Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning play is a spinoff to Lorraine Hansberry’s classic A Raisin in the Sun, which sees the Black Younger family, in part, struggle to move to and be accepted in a white neighborhood.
Norris’s play is named after that neighborhood and traces how the area goes from an exclusive white community to an all-Black neighborhood that is about to be gentrified once again. “Going” to Chicago at Clybourne Park won’t offer you an escape from the world and its issues, but you might return home from the show, as you may on any good vacation, with an understanding of the world you may not have had before.