Top 10 London Theatre Shows

We will rock you

If you’re lured to London by the bright lights of the big city, the West End should be your destination of choice. Think of Piccadilly Circus and the West End as London’s answer to Times Square and Broadway, and enjoy a world-class show or musical at one of hundreds of theatres in Britain’s entertainment capital.

1. The Lion King

Lion KingNearly 20 years after the release of the original Disney animation, The Lion King continues to delight audiences with a dazzling theatrical production. Having debuted in London in 1999, two years after its Broadway release, The Lion King show has been seen by over 65 million people worldwide, including The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall! The stunning costumes, vivid make-up and enchanting puppets combine to create a symphony of colour, drawing the audience in to Simba’s timeless musical story.

We will rock you2. We Will Rock You

The show may be set in the future, but its collection of jukebox classics will transport you back in time to the heyday of British stadium rock! Centuries into the future, musical instruments are banned and pop music is computer generated and scheduled for release years in advance by the authorities. Can the rebels prevail against the system and bring back rock ‘n roll?  Written by Ben Elton, We Will Rock You is a veritable megamix of Queen’s greatest hits including Killer Queen, Radio Ga Ga and, of course, the legendary Bohemian Rhapsody.

3. Wicked

If seeing Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross and London’s other Harry Potter film locations has left you fascinated with witchcraft and wizardry, then indulge your interest with Wicked, a fabulous multi award-winning musical. The production charts the friendship and struggles between the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the North, as their personalities clash sharply and they clamour for the same love-interest. As their lives diverge after meeting the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, what does destiny have in store for the unlikely friends?

4. The Phantom of the Opera

Now celebrating more than 25 years in London’s West End, The Phantom of the Opera also has the incredible accolade of being the highest-grossing entertainment event in history. The show’s popularity is well deserved, as a gripping story combines with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s compelling score to tell the tale of love, jealousy and suspense at the Opera Populaire in Paris. Why not spend your night in the West End with this truly classic and truly stunning production?

Les Miserables5. Les Misérables

Popularly known by its abbreviated title Les Mis, this show rivals The Lion King for its audience figures, with over 60 million people having seen the production worldwide. The strength of ticket sales and its continued popularity after nearly three decades in the West End are testament to the intrigue of the story and the quality of production.

6. Shrek

Everyone’s favourite ogre has left the Kingdom of Duloc and come to London! Based on the acclaimed 2001 movie, the theatre production retains all the original motion picture’s wit, charm, and appeal to theatre-goers young and old – great for a family evening out. You’ll have to be quick though, as after a successful West End run which has included several award nominations, Shrek’s visit to London will finish in February 2013.

7. Mamma Mia!

… Here they go again! Queen aren’t the only superstars of the 1970s and 1980s who are making a comeback in the West End, as ABBA’s pop classics return to London too in this popular, light-hearted musical. The show was an instant smash-hit on its London debut back in 1999 and was further popularised by 2008’s movie adaptation featuring Hollywood royalty including Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep. The show features all of ABBA’s unmistakeable karaoke sing-along hits including Super Trouper, Dancing Queen and, naturally, the show’s eponymous track, Mamma Mia!

8. Billy Elliot

There are plenty of shows and musicals that debut on Broadway before coming to London but Billy Elliot bucked the trend, originating in London before heading across the Atlantic. Set amid the civil unrest and social tension of the British miners’ strikes in the 1980s, Billy Elliot is a heart-warming tale of triumph over adversity and will give audiences of all ages a feel-good factor as they leave the theater! Billy has the courage to follow his dream of being a dancer, despite the dream being regarded with disdain by his family. There are plenty of obstacles along the way but Billy eventually makes it to London for his audition… but will it go smoothly?

Thriller9. Thriller Live

The King of Pop lives on in this truly remarkable celebration of Michael Jackson’s 45 year career, both with the fraternal Jackson 5 and as a solo artist. Taking its name from the enormously successful and influential album that in many ways defined Jackson’s career, Thriller Live certainly promises to thrill audiences with a showcase of the best of Michael Jackson’s unmistakable music and jaw-dropping dance moves. Long live the King!

10. Jersey Boys

With an impressive 54 major awards worldwide, including the coveted Best New Musical category at the prestigious Olivier Awards, Jersey Boys has had a high-profile presence in the West End since 2008. A jukebox musical full to the brim with classic 1960s rock ‘n roll numbers, the documentary-style production brings the story of successful New Jersey band The Four Seasons to life. Get ready to sing along at full volume as you’re taken through the early days, the stellar rise and the eventual fall of the group, told from the perspective of each of the four band members.

*Sales data - Encore Tickets - November 2012

x