London is the theater capital of the world and there are so many shows on our doorstep.
Yet what musical do you take this friend or family member to see if he claims to “hate” them?
It’s an unthinkable state of mind for me, an avowed massive theater nerd, but also a challenge that I revel in. Theater is for everyone and I won’t hear any other way.
READ MORE: The West End’s biggest shows will be free this weekend – and you can sing along
In my opinion, there is no way to “hate” all musicals; you just haven’t seen the right show yet.
Either that or you’ve corrupted your theatrical consumption by watching old basic movies like Grease or overly long movies like Les Mis, which made you shut out a whole world of the arts.
Obviously I’m pretty biased and I have countless shows that I would like everyone to see. So, I spoke to a range of people from much further in the industry, to see what they would recommend taking your cranky family member, or that friend who thinks they’re just too cool. For the theater.
Lucy Trodd, West End performer: Showstopper! The improvised musical
Lucy is an actress and writer who tells me that the current series she is on is perfect for those who don’t think they’re a theater fan.
“This is one of the things people say most often about our shows, I don’t normally like musicals BUT …” “
Showstopper! Is an improvised show that combines a comedy and a musical. All the characters, songs, music and lyrics are improvised based on the audience’s suggestions.
That means you can help make it the show YOU want to see, plus it’s a little bit of fun.
You can watch Showstopper! The Improvised Musical on September 27 and October 11 at the Garrick Theater. Then from November, you will find them at the Lyric Theater.
Patrick Lewin, West End Usher and VIP Host: Wicked
Patrick – who works as a West End usher and VIP host – recommends the ever popular Wicked.
A spinoff musical from The Wizard of Oz, it “has many recognizable and familiar characteristics,” says Patrick.
“It’s also endearing, funny and a powerhouse of a show leaving you feeling moved in so many ways.”
Giving a little glimpse into the “wicked” witch of classic history, it’s certainly a more exciting sight. And to be fair, Elphaba’s sarcastic wit couldn’t be British anymore.
Wicked finally reopens on September 15, marking its 15th anniversary in the West End, at the Apollo Victoria Theater.
Philip Dehany, this scene blog: SIX
Philip is a super fan of the theater and runs the popular That Stagey Blog, so he knows a bit more about the best shows in the West End.
The blogger recommends SIX because: “It turns the genre around completely, delivering a pop crossover, while delivering a neat and well-crafted musical format. “
I totally agree with Philippe on this one too. A big draw is also that it’s only 75 minutes long, so it’s great for those who are dabbling in musicals but can’t quite catch a big two-act show yet.
SIX is a pop-concert musical that allows the six wives of Henry VIII to tell their story, in a very contemporary form. Philip is punchy as he puts it: “The writing is funny and fresh, with stunning costumes and finely tuned choreography with an all-female rock band.”
You will be able to see this girl power show when it reopens at the Théâtre du Vaudeville on September 29.
Jessica Battison (me!), Theater enthusiast and journalist: The Lion King
It was a really difficult decision for me, which is why I saved myself for the end. Telling someone what my favorite show is would be like asking a parent who their favorite child is – it’s just not possible to choose.
Some of my favorite shows right now should be Come From Away, SIX, and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – but if you ask me tomorrow, I’ll probably have a different answer for you.
I think if I took someone who is not a theater “fan” to see a show, it would most likely be The Lion King.
Because of course, who doesn’t love the Disney movie? Plus, when a show is produced by Disney, you know the budget is HUGE and therefore you’re ready for an absolute show.
Quite simply, the costumes, the puppets, the choreography and the songs are amazing. It’s something you can take the whole family with and everyone would find at least one thing awesome.
You can see The Lion King now at the Lyceum Theater.
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The West End is finally coming back to us, and as a city I wholeheartedly believe in sustaining it and helping it get back on its feet.
If it’s the price you’re concerned about, I recommend using TodayTix where you can purchase reasonably priced seats for bigger shows.
You might not think theater is for you, but I promise you there is the perfect show somewhere to make you love the magic of musicals.
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