When I was in New York for the end of Summer Bank holiday (the UK equivalent of Labor Day) I saw a Broadway show and my first thought was wow, it has been a while since I have been to the theater, but actually, that is not true! Since moving to London I have seen six West End productions and three of those have been since June!
The most traditional were excellent Disney classics, Aladdin and Lion King. both i had actually seen on Broadway. Aladdin is at the Prince Edward Theatre in London, right around the corner from one of my favorite with bars, 68 & Boston and I recommend it, the same as Lion King which is celebrating it’s 20th year with a redone script (with jokes about Twitter and nods to Frozen now in the script.
Two were New York transplants, Hamilton and Come From Away. I had not seen either in New York and Hamilton was definitely not your typical musical. They definitely slowed down the rapfor the UK audience but it was still a bit hard to follow, especially not being intimately familiar with the life story of Alexander Hamilton. I would say go if you get free lottery tickets or a good deal but personally, I would not pay $500 / ticket, if that is still the going price in NYC.
Come from Away, on the other hand I highly recommend, regardless of the price. As a native New Yorker I usually avoid most things relating to September 11th including books and movies but this play was a really interesting take on 9/11. I loved how they told the real-life story of the 7,000 passengers whose plains diverted to Newfoundland, Canada after the tragedy. Plus, unlike most shows, there is no intermission and it was a great 80 minutes, straight through!
Another, is a true British classic and a very long show, Harry Potter & The Cursed Child. Starting with the second book, I read all of the HP the day (or week) they came out and then we as a family would listen to the Harry Potter audio books on ski trips growing up so I was very familiar with the original story. Thus, it was fascinating to see the 8th book of in the story presented live on stage and without giving anything away I loved all of the “what could have beens”. And I did mention it was long – while one play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is show in two parts, which are three hours each and you can see them on the same day (matinee and evening) or on two consecutive evenings – which we did.
And lastly when my parents were in town last Fall we went to see Tina, the Tina Turner musical. It was INCREDIBLE. Before the show I laughed at the signs in the bathroom that asked the audience to not sing along during the performance but that there would be a time at the end. However, 20 minutes into the musical I totally understood why and quickly learned I knew a lot more Tina Turner songs than I realized, “Big wheel keep on Turnin’, Proud Mary keep on burnin’, Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river”. It was absolutely wonderful and I would love to go again and totally understand why they are bringing it to Broadway this Fall!
Up next on the West End, especially as we head into shorter days and long nights I would like to see The Illusionist, Waitress, and Six: Divorced, Beheaded, Live (about the six wives of Henry VIII).
Do you have any West End favorites?