What’s playing in London Theatre this Summer
London Theatre thrives in the summer months, with thousands of extra visitors to the capital and plenty of events and attractions to keep everyone entertained.
West End musicals are famed around the world for the quality of their performances, and the sheer scale and spectacle of the shows.
Check out our guide to the best musicals hitting the West End this Summer.
IF YOU LOVE…
★ CLASSIC BROADWAY SHOWS, GO SEE:
There’s nothing like a Broadway show to get your toes tapping this summer. Sir Richard Eyre’s joyous new production of classic Fifties musical The Pajama Game has scooped rave reviews from critics including Five Stars from the hugely respected Guardian and Telegraph national newspapers. The Gershwin’s musical Porgy and Bess remains a Broadway standard and this summer you can see it in the beautiful setting of the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park. Under the stewardship of Timothy Sheader the Open Air Theatre has scooped numerous awards and its annual summer musical has become a must-see show.
★ SEEING THE ORIGINAL PRODUCTION OF A WORLDWIDE HIT, GO SEE:
British producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh is one of the world’s great showmen having staged musicals in hundreds of countries worldwide and dominating both the West End and Broadway. All three of his biggest international hits originated in London, and you can now catch them all in their original productions. The Phantom of the Opera, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, continues its extraordinary run at Her Majesty’s Theatre; the world’s longest-running musical, Les Miserables, is riding high at the Queen’s Theatre following the award-winning movie; and Mackintosh’s new production of his classic, epic musical Miss Saigon is now back in the West End at the Prince Edward Theatre.
★ AN AUTHENTIC BRITISH MUSICAL, GO SEE:
If you are visiting London then make sure you see a home-grown British musical. Based on the award-winning British movie, Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace is the inspiring and emotional story of a young boy who discovers his true passion for dance, and Billy Elliot now stars West End leading lady Ruthie Henshall. The worldwide popularity of children’s writer Roald Dahl has given rise to two extraordinary musicals: Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre has taken the West End and Broadway by storm, featuring music by acclaimed comedian Tim Minchin; and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the blockbuster new musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane directed by Sam Mendes (Skyfall) which dazzles with its lavish sets and costumes.
★ A SHOW WHERE YOU KNOW THE SONGS, GO SEE:
Hit songs from some of the world’s most popular artists play a starring role in these great shows, from Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, to ABBA and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Thriller Live at the Lyric Theatre puts Michael Jackson’s greatest hits centre stage in a high-energy show packed with amazing dancing and singing as a fitting tribute to the King of Pop. Based on the much-loved movie about an international pop singer and her bodyguard, The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre features the songs made famous by the late Whitney Houston. And over at the Novello Theatre, the songs of ABBA are immortalised in sunny Mamma Mia!, set on a Greek Island and a perfect show to catch this summer. Packed with soul standards, The Commitments at the Palace Theatre is based on Alan Parker’s award-winning movie and features soul classics including Night Train, Try A Little Tenderness, In The Midnight Hour and Mustang Sally. And ahead of Clint Eastwood’s major new movie, catch the West End production of Jersey Boys at the Piccadilly Theatre, full of tunes from legendary pop group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
★ LONDON MUSICALS THAT SHOW BROADWAY HOW IT’S DONE, GO SEE:
Yes, these shows may have originated on Broadway but the West End has made them their own with acclaimed productions of these Broadway modern classics. A musical with heart and visual spectacle, Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre tells the untold story of the Wizard of Oz from the perspective of two teenage witches. The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre is one of the funniest shows ever written and has proved a hot ticket in London. John Tiffany’s production of Once, based on the much-loved movie, has made an easy move from Broadway to London’s Phoenix Theatre in this romantic story set in a Dublin pub. For a musical on a breathtaking scale look no further than Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre, with music and lyrics from Brits Elton John and Tim Rice. And finally, London has been lucky to attract hot Broadway director Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Kinky Boots) to stage his hilarious and critically acclaimed new production of Broadway comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, set in the South of France and the perfect way to spend a summer evening in London.
Full listings of West End Musicals
playing this summer in London