There are few cities in the world that can boast such a variety and sheer number of theatres and theatre productions as London. Alongside the New York, Broadway phenomenon (but with cheaper tickets!) London’s West End theatre scene is the most famous location to catch the latest and most talked about theatre musical shows. However, amongst such a wide selection and a consistent outpour of performances, you have to:
- First of all catch some luck and not land on a bad performance night. Think about it from the perspective of the performer: it can happen if you are doing over 300 performances a year.
- Secondly you have to do some research before taking the wallet out as there are so many shows out there that it looks like a stab in the dark.
At Londontopia we have selected five West End musicals currently showing in London that you can count on to get your tears going, leave the theatre with a smile stuck to your face or have you inspired and amazed at the spectacle.
The Book of Mormon
The outrageous but idyllic combo that mocked the world through South Park for 17 years joined forces with songwriter Robert Lopez to create The Book of Mormon. The trio is together responsible for the music, the lyrics and the book of the play. The musical tells the story of Elder Price and Elder Cunningham two members of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) in their late teens, sent by the church to recruit followers in Uganda. The duo could not be more different: Elder Cunningham is the perfect Mormon stereotype, tall, blond, plainly good looking and proper; Elder Cunningham is a failed version of a Mormon stereotype, overweight, clumsy and bad at telling the truth. Cruel (or not) destiny (a big theme in the play) brings them together on this crazy mission for our amusement. Despite many light-hearted takes on the various themes treated by the play (religion, orientalism, American culture, friendship, homosexuality etc…), the show still earns a fair share of its laughs through the irreverent and non-pc humour that characterises South Park also including flat out references to the TV show. Since its premiere, the musical received unprecedented critical acclaim and audience approval. It also won nine Tony Awards including Best Musical. The Book Of Mormon cast recording of the songs became the highest-charting Broadway cast recording in more than forty years. The book of Mormon is showing at the Prince of Wales Theatre on Coventry Street, W1D 6AS.
If you would like to stay away from laughs and go for one of the greatest epics ever staged in the form of a musical your choice could not be anything else but the theatre adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel Les Misérables. Seen by tens of millions of people worldwide “Les Miz” received a further push in popularity by the hugely successful 2012 Hollywood adaptation of the story starring an all-star cast including Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman. Les Misérables narrates the stories of a series of characters cursed by fate but trying to build a new life for themselves in the turmoil of the ongoing French Revolution at the start of the 19th century. In the original French version of the play the music is written by Claude-Michel Schönberg, the lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel and the book by Schönberg and Boublil; the English version sees lyrics adapted by Herbert Kretzmer and the book adapted by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Les Misérables is showing at the Queen’s Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6BA.
This multi award winning musical came from Broadway to London’s West End in 2006 and has been running there ever since for the joy of theatre musical fans in the old continent. Wicked re-imagines the stories of the characters of L. Frank Baum’s classic 1900 novel ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.’ In particular it recounts of the unlikely friendship of two girls that meet as sorcery students at school: Glinda and Elhaba who grow up to be, respectively, the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West. The Music and the lyrics are by Stephen Schwartz while the book is by Winnie Holzman. Wicked is currently showing at the Apollo Victoria on Wilton Rd, SW1V 1LG, next to the Victoria train station.
If you are looking for a hit-song filled theatre production that will leave you humming tunes from the show from the moment you leave the auditorium to when you fall asleep, and then a couple of days after that, then Jersey Boys is the West End musical for you. Music is written by Bob Gaudio with tunes from the real Jersey Boys , lyrics are by Bob Crewe and the book is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The Jersey Boys tracks the story of 1960s rock n’ roll quartet from New Jersey, The Four Seasons from their origins to their eventual breakup. It is structured in four chapters, each one is narrated by a different member of the band illustrating his take on the events and music that involved the band. Great for the music but also very interesting for the socially drenched background that displays interesting facets of America in the crazy 1960s, the Jersey Boys is showing at the Piccadilly Theatre on Denman Street, W1D 7DY.
The Roald Dahl book that captivated children (and adults) all across the world has been made into a theatre musical and what an absolute success is the outcome! Matilda talks about the story of a 5 year old, book devouring and precocious girl that overcomes a difficult school and family situation with the help of her school teacher Miss Honey and her special powers. With the book authored by Dennis Kelly and the Lyrics and Music by Tim Minchin, Matilda bursts with life and brings together the magic of life with the magic of the story and the magic of theatre in a smart, witty and emotionally profound fashion. Lyn Gardner from the Guardian said the play: “is actually richer than Dahl’s novel.” Winner of 7 2012 Olivier awards, Matilda is a must see production, showing at the Cambridge Theatre on Earlham Street, WC2H 9HU.
All tickets for these top West End theatre productions can be bought at cheap and discounted rates from the Leicester Square Box Office: visit www.lsbo.co.uk
This was a Sponsored Post from Leicester Square Box Office.