Inspiration London West End Musicals Plays Top 10s

6 West End shows based on past decades and events


6 West End shows based on past decades and events

Decades and events gone by can often inspire and generate ideas for a production. Whether it’s the essence of the French Revolution in Les Misérables or championing girl power in Six, the West End is home to shows that are jam-packed with historical inspiration. In these shows, you’ll notice how every detail has been considered to ensure that everything is historically authentic, celebrating the era gone by.

If you’re wanting to see a West End show which delves into the past, then look no further. Head to one of these shows based on true events so you can learn with live entertainment!

West End shows based on real-life and mythical stories


Tom Stoppard returns to the West End with his latest play in 2020. Titled Leopoldstadt, the play is set in the old Jewish quarter of Vienna, as a family reflect upon their religious identity in the twentieth century.

Les Misérables

Les Miserables

Having played in the West End for over thirty years, Les Misérables has entertained millions of theatregoers with the hard-hitting tale of Jean Valjean. After serving 17 years in a chain gang, audiences can follow the story of Valjean as he begins a new chapter in his life, trying to turn everything around while police inspector Javert continually tries to track him down. At the same time, see the young revolutionaries of France including Marius Pontmercy fight on the barricade, where political battles can be thwarted by romance and lust.

After the success of the 2012 film and the ongoing television series, the Victor Hugo novel has become the basis for one of the most successful productions to be performed around the world. See the ideals of the French Revolution come alive with a soundtrack including the rousing “One Day More” to the poignant “Castle on a Cloud” and don’t miss out on this West End legacy.


Six the Musical

Turning the Tudor dynasty on its head, Six is a girl-power, all female show that puts Henry VIII’s six wives in the spotlight. Throughout the concert, meet the six wives as they tell you exactly what happened to them from their perspective. It’s a perfect show for audiences young and old who want to learn about the past, boasting catchy songs and a girlband sound that will stay in your head for a long time. Just make sure you don’t lose your head with these ladies!

Come From Away

Come From Away

Recent historical events can form the basis for some of the hottest productions to grace the West End. When 38 international aircraft are diverted to Gander airport after 9/11, the townspeople of a small Canadian welcome in 7,000 stranded people. In Come From Away, you’ll hear the real-life stories of some of those who found themselves in Canada, where compassion and kindness is at the heart of what happens after such a tragic event. Join the legion of fans around the world who have fallen for the stories of the “come from aways” when the show makes its West End premiere in early 2019.

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

Portraying the career of pop diva Tina Turner, audiences have been flocking to the Aldwych Theatre to see the musical legend brought to the West End stage in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. If you’re a huge Tina Turner fan or you only know a few of her songs, it’s the perfect musical for audiences young and old to learn about events that impacted the musical starlet. As the show walks you through her career, you’ll hear some of her greatest hits including “Nutbush City Limits” and “Proud Mary” as this show makes it clear that Tina Turner is “Simply the Best”!

The Life I Lead

Following a national tour, don’t miss out on the week-long West End run of The Life I Lead at the Wyndham’s Theatre. Miles Jupp will bring the spirit of David Tomlinson in a one-man play inspired by the prolific Disney actor. Learn about Tomlinson’s early life and career as a pilot before finding his feet as an actor and going on to star in Mary Poppins.