It took me ages to accept the fact that not everyone likes musicals. How would I know? Me, a girl with a background in dance and a proper obsession for all things theatre… However I did manage to change a few people’s mind over the years!
When I moved to London, I felt like I was in paradise: all those sparkling theatres and musicals’ posters everywhere… The dream! There was only one problem – my English was not great at the time. You would think that understanding English is not that important with musicals, ‘cause all they do is singing and dancing… well, trust me, it is. Especially if your favourite one is Billy Elliot, where the cast has a very strong accent from Newcastle.
I saw Billy Elliot 3 times in 5 years of London life (don’t judge me!) and I can tell that my progressive improvement between the first and the third time was pretty amazing. So… I’m not saying you have to go see the same musical three times to practise your listening skills, but give the West End shows a chance and you won’t be disappointed!
Here is a list of some of the best musicals you can see in London (excluding Billy Elliot, because unfortunately it played its final performance in April 2016 after an 11-year-long success):
An alternative telling of The Wizard of Oz, from the perspective of the two main witches, Elphaba and Galinda. The singing and dancing performance is absolutely breathtaking; all you want to do at the end of the show is to be green (yes, green) and sing like Elphaba. The song that will get stuck in your head for a week? “Defying Gravity”, for sure.
The Lion King
We all know the story… but the musical is just another level of goosebumps. You don’t believe me? Let’s talk about it again when you manage to stop singing “The Circle of Life” and acting like a giraffe.
You don’t have to be an ABBA fan to enjoy the great vibes of this colourful show. The Greek island setting, the 70s clothes, the engaging music… you won’t be able to stop your feet under your seat! And yeah, you will probably be singing “Mamma Mia! Here I go again!” for about a week…
I know, I know… It’s a sad story. But trust me, the cast is so good that you will feel like you were actually part of the French Revolution, with flags and barricades and all that. And if you have seen the most recent movie, you probably know all the songs already… so come on, don’t be shy, I can hear you humming “On my own…”.
Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
This show brings to life all the magic you can find in Roald Dahl’s book. The fabulous setting will make you forget you are in a theatre in Central London. And the kids… well, I’m not sure there is a word to describe their talent. Follow Willy Wonka’s advice… “Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure imagination!”
The London West End offers plenty of amazing shows, but if you can’t decide and want to see pieces of all of them, West End Live is just what you need. Every year in June, the cast members of some of the best London musicals perform on a huge stage in Trafalgar Square… for free! So, what are you waiting for? Warm up your voice and find your favourite musical!
Have you got any recommendations about the West End shows? Do you prefer Broadway or the London scene? Tell us in the comment section below.