These Musicals Deserve A Spot On Your Must See Bucket List
Our Editor’s Must See Musicals Bucket List
Life’s better when there’s a soundtrack to go with it. Why not take a magical trip to Oz with Wicked, lace up your boots and get your kink on with the American smash-hit Kinky Boots, or relive the sound of the 1970s with Mamma Mia!? The list goes on, there really is something for everyone in our Editor’s pick of must see musicals. You’ll be humming all the way home.
Want to find out what the longest running musicals in the West End are? Our countdown is filled with the longest musicals to be performed in the West End.
Bat Out of Hell is more than a musical, it’s an experience. Words can’t describe what it feels like to be sat in the audience watching Jim Steinman’s epic show. The towering sound levels leave your heart racing and the special effects are more specular than any others on the West End stage.
For anyone who grew up loving the rock ‘n’ roll legend Meat Loaf, this critically-acclaimed production is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relive the singer’s seismic hits in person. Bat Out of Hell is a post-apocalyptic romance that follows the rebellious relationship between Strat and Raven. This fiery, fantastical, fast-paced thriller includes “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”, “You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth”, “All Revved Up with No Place to Go”, “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” and “Dead Ringer For Love”.
42nd Street is a toe-tapping extravaganza performed by the West End’s biggest cast on the West End’s biggest stage. The outfits just keep getting shinier, the set more extravagant and the dance routines more awe-inspiring and, from 3rd September 2018, the much-loved stage and screen star Bonnie Langford will be performing in the role of Dorothy Brock. Entertainment doesn’t get bigger than this.
Featuring the classic songs “We’re In The Money”, “Lullaby of Broadway”, “Shuffle Off To Buffalo”, “I Only Have Eyes For You” and the title number, this lively production promises to tap your blues away. 42nd Street is the ultimate American Broadway dream. When Peggy Sawyer steps off the bus in New York City, fresh from small-town America, she books a role in Julian Marsh’s new production. Can Peggy ever step out of the chorus line and into the spotlight? The show takes its final bow at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 5th January 2019 – don’t miss your last chance to be entranced by the dancing feet of 42nd Street’s 50-strong cast.
With the greatest musical theatre soundtrack of the 21st Century, Hamilton is the smash-hit American musical that has the whole world talking. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is an Emmy Award, Grammy Award, MacArthur Fellowship, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner, has turned the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton into a hip-hop phenomenon.
Hamilton is an immigrant from the West Indies who quickly rises in the ranks of George Washington’s army to become his right-hand man and, eventually, America’s first Treasury Secretary. This revolutionary production won seven Olivier Awards at the 2018 ceremony, after being nominated for a record-breaking thirteen gongs.
Hamilton is a life-changing event that only a lucky few have managed to nab tickets to. You are advised to book a year in advance if you want to join Hamilton, Burr and the Schuyler sisters at the Victoria Palace Theatre for 2019.
Now in its 33rd year on the West End stage, Les Misérables is a piece of musical theatre history that tells the epic tale of one man’s struggle to break free from his past and create a new life for himself and his surrogate daughter in post-Revolutionary France. Soon, discontent amongst French students boils over to create a powerful story of liberté, égalité and fraternité. Featuring the most powerful, spine-tingling songs to ever have graced the West End stage like “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Can You Hear The People Sing”, “On My Own”, “Bring Him Home” and “One Day More”, London’s longest-running musical never fails to amaze.
Since premiering in 1985, Les Misérables has been produced around the world in 44 countries, translated into 22 languages and been seen by over 70 million people. With a mesmerising set, outstanding visual effects and a stellar cast, don’t wait ‘one day more’ to book your tickets.
Celebrating its 12th year in the West End, Wicked is one of the most engaging theatrical experiences of all time. At the heart of the story is the skin colour of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and the discrimination she faces because of it. A powerful story about defying other people’s expectations – Elphaba ascending just before the interval is an image you will stay with you for years after. Winner of over 90 international awards, Wicked has been seen by nearly 9 million people in London alone and is guaranteed to leave you spellbound!
Nothing compares to seeing the show’s mesmerising visual effects, magnificent costumes and spectacular set design or hearing the powerful hits “Defying Gravity”, “The Wizard and I” and “No Good Deed” performed live. You need to be in that room and it comes as no surprise that this worldwide phenomenon continues to fill the Apollo Victoria Theatre to the brim.
Inspired by R&B music acts of 1960s America, Dreamgirls transports you to a revolutionary time in American music history and charts the tumultuous journey of a young female singing trio from Chicago called ‘The Dreams’. They learn the hard lesson that show business is just as tough as it is fabulous. On the way up under the guidance of manager Curtis Taylor Jr, all of their dreams appear to be coming true – that is until loyalties are betrayed, lovers are lost and family feuds are ignited. Everyone has their eye on the prize, and will stop at nothing to get it.
Dreamgirls is famous for its impressive riffs as the show features one of the most challenging and impressive songs ever written, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”. Ending the first half of the production, Effie White’s rendition of this sensational tune solidifies the show’s place as one of our bucket list musicals. This is your last chance to see the show before it closes 5 January 2019 – don’t delay, book today!
Winner of an outstanding 7 Olivier Awards, Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical has taken London by storm and is nearly in its 7th year in the West End. This lively, highly visual story about an extraordinary little girl who dares to take a stand is truly a musical theatre gem.
Reading books at the library by age five, Matilda Wormwood has an accelerated thirst for knowledge. Unloved by her vulgar parents, Matilda is also subjected to the wrath of her school’s horrendous headmistress, the larger than life Miss Trunchbull. Trunchbull is a character that you won’t forget easily who physically and mentally abuses her charges, and Matilda quickly learns to overcome her dire circumstances with the help of her astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers. Sometimes all you’ve got to do is be “a little bit naughty”.
Produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, this family-friendly show features a show-stopping score by comedian and famed songwriter Tim Minchin and some of the most inventive staging and visual effects in town, one stunt in particular that involves something (or someone…) falling from the ceiling will leave you in complete disbelief as to how the team pulled it off! Matilda The Musical really is a feast for the eyes, as well as the ears and the heart.
“Leave expectation at the door” and fall head-over-heels for the colourful carnival that is Kinky Boots, playing until 5 January 2019 at the Adelphi Theatre. This American smash-hit musical has everything you could look for in an evening’s entertainment – effortlessly catchy tunes, spectacular dance sequences and an emotional punch to boot.
Featuring a score from Grammy and Tony winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this hilarious and moving musical, based on a true story, is a celebration of the friendships we can discover in the most unexpected of places, and the belief that you can “change the world when you change your mind”. Exploring the relationship between two father and son duos, as well as the ability to accept those who are different, this Tony and Olivier Award-winning show will raise your spirits and have you dancing in the aisles.
Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price who, on the passing of his father, reluctantly inherits his family’s Northampton shoe factory and returns home, giving up his new life in London. Charlie struggles to uphold his father’s legacy and save the factory from closure. Soon, however, help arrives in the most unexpected of forms… With a penchant for sturdy stilettos, Lola, the fabulous drag queen, could be exactly what Charlie needs.
You’ll be strutting your way out onto The Strand after an evening at Kinky Boots. It really is the hottest show in town, make sure to get your kink on before it closes!
Swapping boxing gloves for ballet shoes, Billy Elliot is the triumphant tale of a little boy who dares to be different. Brought to life by the award-winning creative team behind the film and featuring Elton John’s timeless score, this production is an extraordinary theatrical experience that has captivated audiences around the world.
Set in a northern town during the miners’ strike of 1984/5, a grotesque Margaret Thatcher puppet and legions of armed police helping to transport you back to the period, this show follows Billy’s journey from boxing ring to ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that unites his family, inspires his community and changes his life forever.
Billy Elliot holds a special place in many people’s hearts, the show is an uplifting masterpiece that played for 11 years in London’s West End and features one of the most iconic scenes in musical theatre history – the wall-flip during “Electricity”.
The show continues to play worldwide in locations such as Hungry, Spain and Finland. If you happen to be travelling to one of these places, why not throw gender stereotypes out of the window and experience Billy Elliot for yourself.
Got the ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ buzz? Why not experience more of the Mamma Mia! universe with tickets to the show in the West End? This feel-good hit will have you up on your feet, reliving the sound of the 1970s. Featuring the hit songs of Swedish pop sensation ABBA, this ultimate feel-good show has been seen by over 60 million people around the world, and played in over 40 countries, enthralling London crowds since opening in 1999. Showstoppers include, “Money, Money, Money”, “Dancing Queen”, “Super Trouper”, “Our Last Summer”, “The Winner Takes it All”, “Take A Chance On Me” and the title song.
Set on a Greek island, Mamma Mia! cleverly and humorously interweaves ABBA’s timeless songs with a story about love, friendship and identity, resulting in the sunniest show around! Sophie Sheridan has a dream of the perfect wedding, complete with a father by her side to walk her down the aisle. And, on the eve of her special day, this dream has even more resonance. But, there’s a problem – Sophie has no idea who her father is! Finding her mother’s old diaries, Sophie discovers that there are three men who could be her father and, after inviting them to the wedding, chaos ensues!