London’s Theatreland contains over forty venues showing West End musicals, plays and ballet performances. Along with New York’s Broadway, the West End is considered to showcase the highest level of musical theatre performance in the English-speaking world. Theatreland has existed in the area for over 100 years, and is a popular tourist attraction with forty shows currently being performed.
Billy Elliot – This much-loved family musical has been showing in the West End since 2005,. It tells the story of a boy who is longing to pursue his passion of ballet, against his family’s wishes.
Blood Brothers – The longest-running musical in West End’s history, it has been playing to audiences since 1988. It is the tragic story of twins separated and brought up in two different worlds where their lives ultimately collide. It will close on 10 November 2012 after 24 years in the West End.
The Bodyguard – Inspired by the 1992 film starring Whitney Houston, this ‘romantic thriller’ will star Heather Headley as a Hollywood star who is forced to hire a bodyguard after receiving death threats from a crazed fan. It will feature the classic hits from the movie, including “I Will Always Love You” as well as additional songs from Houston’s career.
The Book of Mormon – One of Broadway’s most popular recent successes, this irreverent musical comedy from the creators of South Park follows two Mormon missionaries who are sent to convert a Ugandan tribe more concerned with the ongoing civil war and famine in their village.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book comes to the stage, as it follows Charlie on his magical journey through Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, complete with oompa loompas and misbehaving children.
Dreamboats and Petticoats – This jukebox musical takes you through all the hits of the 50’s and 60’s and recalls a more innocent time as a group of teenagers fall in and out of love amidst a fairground.
Jersey Boys – Based on the hit songs by 60s group, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jersey Boys opened to the West End in 2008 after being introduced to Broadway in 2006, and has been extremely successful ever since.
Les Misérables – First shown to audiences in 1985, Les Misérables has become the longest-running musical of all time at the West End, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2010.
Mamma Mia! – This smash-hit musical based on the music of 70s Swedish pop phenomenon, ABBA, has been showing in the West End since 1999, and has since been made into a film starring Meryl Streep and Colin Firth.
The Lion King – Since 1999, The Lion King has wowed audiences in the West End and has become a favourite amongst theatre-goers. Based on the Disney classic, this family musical tells the story of a lion cub’s journey to take his place as king in the African savannah.
The Phantom of the Opera – Since 1986, Phantom has been showing at Her Majesty’s Theatre and has become the highest-grossing entertainment event of all time, and the second longest-running musical at the West End.
Viva Forever – The long-awaited Spice Girls musical tells the story of Viva, a teenager who enters a TV talent show competition with a group of her friends only to find herself having to choose between friendship and fame when she advances and the others don’t. The show will feature all the girl power band’s hits including “Wannabe” and “Spice Up Your Life.”
War Horse – Originally shown at the National Theatre, War Horse has transferred to the West End’s New London Theatre and tells the emotional story of the bond between a horse sold to work in the First World War, and its young owner, Albert.
We Will Rock You – One of the most popular musicals in recent times, We Will Rock You has been showing in the West End since 2002 and is popular for all, especially those who love Queen’s music! It is set in the future where Globalisation has taken place and music is all digitised.
Wicked – A musical originally in Broadway, Wicked has been showing in the West End since 2006 and has become a firm favourite amongst families. Using the familiar characters from The Wizard of Oz, Wicked is the tale of two witches who meet at sorcery school and their journey to fulfill their destinies as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
There are many more shows in London than we have listed here.