Today is Theater Day and London is famous for its theater, especially musicals. I like to share with you some of the best musicals to see in London. My sister knows all about musicals. She has seen many and also performed in a number of productions . That’s why she is today our guest blog writer.
Recently my sister asked me to write something for her blog. Off course I said “Yes”. For a number of years I go on holiday to London just to go and see musicals, one time I even saw 10 shows in just 6 days. I know it’s crazy. J Because today is World Theatre Day my entry is about musicals in London, to be precise my top 4.
At first I thought this was going to be a difficult task, because I can’t write about all musical, there are just to many. Which one to choose, but seeing the productions currently on stage at the West End I realised that most of them I have not seen yet!!!! Time to go on a musical-holiday again.
This is my top 4:
- CATS. This is the ultimate musical. Song, Dance, Acting and as it is London, guaranteed a super high level of performance. The story is based on poems by T.S. Elliot and tells the story of a group of cats coming together at night guided by Old Deuternonomy to decide which of the presented cats gets to be reborn. Because as we all know, cats have 9 lives. This was the first musical I ever saw in London in 1990 and if you love ballet like I do, you will love this musical. Cats was on the West End for 25 years and then it stopped. But now it is back, but only temporarily, at the London Palladium. www.london.catsmusical.com
- WICKED. Well, this is a no brainer as I recently was very fortunate to play the lead role of Elphaba myself, so this musical had to be in my top 4. Beautiful music, great staging, phenomenal costumes and fabulous voices. The story is about friendships and the ‘don’t-just-a-book-by-its-cover’ phenomenon. A story about Elphaba (The Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (The good witch of the North). How they met and couldn’t stand each other in the beginning, but later on became best friends and support each other through thick and thin. The story prior to the Wizard of Oz. Already more than 9 years it is located at the Victoria Theatre. www.wickedthemusical.co.uk
- Mamma Mia. A great feel-good musical with songs that everybody knows from ABBA. The story is about Donna who lives on a Greek island en her daughter Sophie who is about the get married at the age of 20. Sophie would like her father to be there, but she doesn’t know who he is. After reading her mothers diary (!) she discovers that it can be one of 3 men. She invites all three and to Donna’s surprise (who does not know they have been invited) the all 3 show up. At the moment Mamma Mia is playing at the Novello Theatre. mamma-mia.com
- Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. This is a production I have not seen myself, but I am going to sing one of the songs with Prestige (a musical vocal group) in November and it is great music. Beside that, Willemijn Verkaik (former Elphaba who played the role in Holland, Germany, West End and Broadway) is one of the leading ladies and she is the best you can get as far as Dutch musical stars are concerned. So this one is on my list to go see.
The story is about Pepa who gets a message on her answering machine that her boyfriend has left her. When she goes by his apartment he is not there, but a strange woman is. It is his ex-wife, who has been away for 19 years. Pepa also has a friend who is in a relationship with a terrorist. A couple of bizarre storylines follow and in twine, partly told by a taxi driver and a guitarist. Currently to be seen at the Playhouse Theatre. www.womenonthevergemusical.com
When I want to go see a musical I always check www.londontheatre.co.uk to see which show are on at the moment. Here you will find all that is to see at the West End. The great thing about this site is that it also tells you if a leading lady or –man is not playing. In Holland this is a big no-no to tell that the star of the show is on holiday, but in the UK they luckily do not care about that. So if you would like to see a specific actor, you can check if he/she is there when you want to go.
You can also order your tickets through this website, but I usually go to the site of the musical itself. Or when I am already in London I go to theatre itself to buy a ticket.
When you are in London and you do not have a preference to see a certain show I recommend you to go to Leicester Square. On the square itself is the Half-price-ticket booth. Here you can buy tickets on the day itself and they sometimes have great prices. On www.tkst.co.uk you can see what is On Sale.
Some theatres also have day-tickets. These are tickets you buy for about 20/25 pounds and it is always first row. At some shows this is great at others not so much because of the height of the podium. But you get to see the musical at a great price. You have to be there at 10 o’clock in the morning though, because these tickets fly away.
Besides the main theatres of the West End you also have other theatres where you can catch a great show. I can recommend Menier Chocolate Factory. Www.menierchocolatefactory.com . This is a kind of M-Lab (a Dutch theatre in Amsterdam). Small, but a great place to see something different than the standard shows.
Also the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is a must, www.openairtheater.com. Here you can also see musicals but they are always a little bit different. Don’t forget to bring a poncho though, because you sit outside and you never know when it’s going to rain in London.
Have a lot of fun!