London premieres to see in the West End
As well as the bright lights of Broadway in London, there’s plenty of West End shows that have called London home. Take a trip down memory lane at the London premieres in Theatreland that’s had people talking, or look forward to upcoming musicals and plays coming to the capital. You won’t want to miss any of these shows!
London premieres on stage
The Mousetrap – 1952
With a record-breaking 27,500 performances (as of 18th September 2018), The Mousetrap has rightfully earned its place in West End history as the longest-running production in the world. Following its world premiere in Nottingham, the production later made its London premiere at the Ambassadors Theatre in 1952. Transferring to the St Martin’s Theatre in 1974, it’s played at the central London venue ever since. The Agatha Christie classic sees a group of hotel guests investigated by police in order to discover the murderer in their midst, but you’ll have to see the show to find out who is guilty.
The Phantom of the Opera – 1986
One of the longest-running musicals in London, the iconic piano chords in the titular song in The Phantom of the Opera have been heard by over 140 million people worldwide! First performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1986, the operatic musical follows the relationship between the Phantom and Christine Daae, the newest soprano at Paris Opera House. As he demands to keep her, sparks fly in a complicated triangle between the pair and Christine’s former suitor, Raoul, with love eventually saving the day. With timeless songs including “All I Ask Of You” and “Masquerade”, The Phantom of the Opera is one of the greatest London premieres to have ever come out of the West End.
The Woman in Black – 1989
Since Susan Hill’s chilling ghost story was first performed in the West End over 30 years ago, it’s haunted audiences at the Fortune Theatre ever since. With a cast of two men, the play follows Arthur Kipps, a lawyer who heads to Eel Marsh House to attend the funeral of Alice Drablow. But while he’s there, he experiences a ghostly encounter with a woman dressed head-to-toe in black. Recounting the events to an actor who retraces his steps, will Arthur Kipps be able to get rid of his past demons? Performed at one of the smallest theatres in London, this haunting play is guaranteed to scare and spook anyone who dares enter!
Matilda – 2011
Following the 2010 premiere in Stratford-upon-Avon, Dennis Kelly’s adaptation of Matilda transferred to the Cambridge Theatre the following year. Roald Dahl’s inventive, fun-filled story sees Matilda, a girl using her powerful brain and psychokinetic powers to beat her evil parents and headmistress, even if she has to be a little bit naughty! All your favourite moments from the storybook and the film are in the musical, and it’s no surprise that Matilda went on to global success, winning seven Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards.
The Play That Goes Wrong – 2014
Following its premiere at the Old Lion Theatre in 2012 and a transfer to Trafalgar Studios, the following year, Mischief Theatre made their West End debut with The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre. The laugh-out-loud show sees a company of amateur dramatists do all it takes to get their murder mystery to curtain up, but can it ever happen? Since their Olivier Award-winning smash hit, Mischief Theatre have become a formidable force in the West End, with three shows running simultaneously.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – 2017
Based on a BBC3 documentary, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has seen its cast members strut on the Apollo Theatre stage for over two years. It’s the story of Jamie New, a 16-year-old who overcomes prejudiced comments to wear a dress to his high school prom. Supported by friends, family and a local drag queen named Loco Chanelle, there’s nothing that Jamie New can’t do in this show. Since the show opened, stars including Bianca Del Rio and Layton Williams have performed in the show, so you’ll want to catch Jamie in action.
Six – 2019
Since Six started its current West End run, it’s been unstoppable! Following its meteoric rise to become a global phenomenon, Six shares the stories of Henry VIII’s wives as they take to the mic and form the coolest girl band the West End’s ever seen. Nominated for five Olivier Awards in 2019, the musical’s currently at the Arts Theatre to January 2021, so it’s sure to make its own theatre history.
Only Fools and Horses The Musical – 2019
As one of the greatest 20th-century television shows, Only Fools and Horses was always destined for the West End. In 2019, the eye-catching yellow Reliant Robin parked at the Theatre Royal Haymarket for the musical’s world premiere. Co-written by Paul Whitehouse and Jim Sullivan, the son of original writer John Sullivan, the musical takes audiences back to the wheeler-dealer ways of the Trotters, with plenty of good old Cockney charm and character between them.
& Juliet – 2019
Rewriting the end of William Shakespeare’s tragic love story, & Juliet fuses Shakespearean characters with contemporary pop songs by Max Martin. It’s a bold, colourful musical where Juliet heads to Paris with the Nurse and her friends to do some soul searching, reuniting with Romeo along the way. London premieres don’t come more star-studded either, with the likes of Jessie J, Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger at the opening night, so if you’re looking for a pop-filled musical, then you’ll be smiling throughout & Juliet.
Magic Goes Wrong – 2019
As part of their year-long season at the Vaudeville Theatre, the original Mischief Theatre company members star in Magic Goes Wrong. Try-hard magicians from around the world take centre stage in a comedy that’s filled with impressive tricks, including performances by a mind reader and an extremely determined stuntman. Recently extended to August 2020, you’ll want to see what’s up their sleeves in their latest show.
Don’t miss the world premiere of Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Story at the Lyric Theatre from February 2021. The musical will feature an original book by Billy Elliot‘s Lee Hall and direction by Hello Dolly‘s Dominic Cooke. With Arinzé Kene portraying the titular musician, it’s set to be an incredible musical.