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Performance arts, like any other form of art, has its hotspots in the world. Broadway in New York City and the West End Theater in London are two places in the world that lives and breathes theater. In London, theatrics were once illegal. Once the ban on the theater was lifted in 1660,  London’s West End was born. This mecca of performance art has never turned its back on its patrons ever since. To this day, a visit to London’s West End remains one of the top experiences in the British capital.

The reason for West End’s enduring popularity can be attributed to numerous factors. Perhaps the leading one amongst them is how the musicals and plays hosted in the theaters have successfully held a mirror to the society. In the past, Willy Russel’s Blood Brothers and Miss Saigon shook the West End-regulars with its realism. The likes of Chicago and Starlight Express also captured the imagination of many with their departure from the common. While many legendary shows have come and gone, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Disney’s The Lion King, Mamma Mia still leave thousands entranced day in and day out.

London Musicals Vs Plays

West End Theatre is known for its colossal contribution to the catalog of musicals. But, how is it different from plays? While musicals aim to narrate the story in the form of lyrical verses and music, plays take the route of prose. Plays employ written script and dialogues while musicals use choreography to convey the message through. Even though the distinction may seem all too clear, art does not always adhere to the rulebooks. Many West End productions have used an amalgamation of musical and play ethos to deliver spellbinding results. One such example would be West End’s longest-running musical Les Miserables, which features spoken dialogues.

Best London Musicals in 2021

The general feeling in the arts community is that performance arts is at its best when it is displayed to spectators live, when the stakes are at its highest, and there is virtually no room for error. When it comes to the best musicals on West End, the verdict is quite subjective. Everyone has their own preference in terms of lyrical quality, plot, presentation, and individual performance. There are some musicals that have awed the critics and audiences alike with their near-perfect productions and have earned a legendary status. Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera are two such ongoing shows at the West End that you can still catch and witness history.

Choosing The Right West End Theatre Musical

Musicals have now broken their own shell and have begun exploring uncharted territories. It was thought that musicals are suited to light-hearted romantic plots only, but those days are far behind. You can now have a pick from a wide range of genres of musicals. From comedy to crime, parody to period, the world of West End theatre has it all.

If the West End experience is what matters to you and you are trying to be mindful of a budget, you could search for shows that offer tickets at a discounted rate. There are many ways in which you can obtain a West End ticket at a cut-price deal.

The most popular factor that figures into the choice of West End musicals is the review of the production. There are several critics and media agencies that are devoted to bringing a detailed review of every West End musical. However, you must remember that at the end of the day, this factor leads you to make a decision based on somebody else’s judgment.

Upcoming West End Musicals in London

West End is a perennial source of inspiration and entertainment for a theater lovers. Just like there are shows listed above that have been the flag bearers of London’s theater district, new shows are added regularly as well. Following is a list of the most anticipated West End musicals:

Longest Running Musicals in London

In the world of musicals, like in every other arena of performance arts, some creations attain a reputation that etches their names in stone. West End, during its 350 years of existence, has seen quite a few such productions. The best part is, some of these shows can still be experienced at London’s West  End. Here are some of the longest-running West End musicals of all time.

Best Off-West End Musicals

Over the years, the West End theater has earned such a great reputation that it often overshadows the vibrant culture of its sister act, the Off West End theater. A number of famous West End musicals once began as Off West End productions. Currently, there are three Off West End musicals that are available for you to experience.

How to Find Best Seats for a West End Musical?

When you watch a musical at London’s West End, you should be looking for the best possible experience for the money you would be paying for the tickets. Where you chose to sit in the theater can often play a big role in determining the kind of experience you have. The best seats in the house for almost all of West End’s theaters are near the middle of the stall area. These  provide the best view of the stage and lie in the acoustic sweet spot of the particular theater. Consequently, these seats come at a higher rate than the rest of the seats in the area.

Essential Tips for Watching a West End Musical

  • Watch out for early birds’ discount on West End musical tickets. 
  • Book tickets around the best seats in the house for a premium experience at a fraction of the cost.
  • Grab a bite at one of the restaurants close to a West End theater before a show to avoid spending a fortune on overpriced theater food.
  • Attend all shows in a smart casual or semi-formal attire at the worst. Baggy tees and sweatpants could you make you look out of place.
  • Reach the theater well ahead of time as you may not be allowed entry after the show commences.
  • Avoid driving to the theater as free parking could be very limited or unavailable at the theater.
  • Do not carry or use videography devices during a West End show as it is an unlawful act.
  • Do not leave during the curtain call as it is regarded as a rude gesture.
  • Visit the TKTS booth to score cheap West End tickets.

FAQs | London Musicals

What are the best theaters in London’s West End?

Finding the best theater is subjective. It varies depending on your preference. Here are the most popular choices of theater in London.

How to find cheap tickets for London Musicals?

The ways to score cheap London Musical tickets are listed here.

What musicals are playing in London in 2020?

Among the most popular shows now playing at the West End theater are Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia, and Disney’s The Lion King.

What is the longest-running show at the West End theater?

Les Miserables is the longest-running show at London’s West End.

What is Off West End?

Off West End or Fringe West End is a theater scene closely related to London’s West End. This theater scene features some of the productions that eventually make it big at the West End theater.