Top Five Shows for First-Time Theatregoers

These are our current top five shows if you’re new to the London West End theatre scene. They’re not always cheap, but you’ll come away totally wowed and wanting to see it again.

Hamilton is a groundbreaking musical that has redefined the landscape of modern theatre. Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s Founding Fathers. What sets Hamilton apart is its innovative use of music. The score brilliantly blends hip-hop, R&B, jazz, and traditional show tunes, creating a musical language that reflects America’s diverse cultural heritage. The lyrics are smart and packed with historical detail, but they also delve into universal themes of ambition, love, and legacy. The cast is multi-ethnic, reflecting Miranda’s vision of America then told by America now. Since its premiere in 2015, Hamilton”has won numerous awards, including 11 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It’s a show that both theatre aficionados and newcomers can enjoy, offering a fresh perspective on a pivotal moment in American history.

Les Misérables
Les Misérables is a musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of the same name. The show, often referred to as ‘Les Mis’, is set in 19th-century France and follows the lives and interactions of several characters, particularly the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his journey to redemption. The musical, composed by Claude-Michel Schönberg with a libretto by Alain Boublil, is known for its powerful and emotive music, including songs like ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, ‘On My Own’, and ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’ Since its premiere in 1980, Les Misérables has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history. It’s the longest-running musical in the West End and the second longest-running musical in the world. The show’s exploration of social injustice, love, and sacrifice continues to resonate with audiences worldwide.

Six is a British musical that reimagines the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII as pop stars. The show, written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, presents each queen as a performer in a girl group, with each singing a song about her life and relationship with Henry. The music is a mix of pop, rock, R&B, and hip-hop, reflecting the diverse personalities of the queens. The lyrics cleverly weave historical facts with modern slang, offering a fresh and feminist take on Tudor history. Since its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017, Six has become a hit in the West End and Broadway. The show’s unique concept, catchy music, and empowering message have resonated with audiences, particularly younger theatregoers. Six is more than just a musical; it’s a celebration of female voices and a reminder that every queen has a story to tell.

The Book of Mormon
A musical comedy from the minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of ‘South Park’, and Robert Lopez, the co-composer of ‘Frozen’ and ‘Avenue Q’. The show follows two Mormon missionaries as they attempt to spread their faith in a remote village in Uganda. The musical is known for its satirical take on religion, sexuality, poverty, and musical theatre itself. The songs, co-written by Parker, Stone, and Lopez, are catchy and filled with clever lyrics that push the boundaries of comedy. Since its premiere on Broadway in 2011, ‘The Book of Mormon’ has been a critical and commercial success, winning nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The show has been praised for its irreverent humor, engaging plot, and memorable characters. Despite its controversial themes, ‘The Book of Mormon’ delivers a heartfelt message about the power of community and self-belief. Be warned: this show is not for children – it’s packed with X-rated swear words.

Phantom of the Opera
Phantom is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the 1910 novel by Gaston Leroux. The story revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius living in the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera House. The show is renowned for its soaring and romantic score, including songs like ‘The Music of the Night’, ‘All I Ask of You’ and the famous ‘Phantom of the Opera’. The production is also known for its stunning visuals, particularly the iconic chandelier scene. Since its debut in 1986, Phantom has become one of the most successful musicals in history, seen by over 130 million people in 145 cities across 27 countries (although it recently closed on Broadway). The show’s blend of romance, suspense, and spectacle continues to captivate audiences, making it a must-see in the world of musical theatre.