20 of the best musicals to see in London

With West End shows open again, it's time to get back to the theatre

best musicals in London

by Piper Huxley |

It’s no secret that fans of musicals have waited a long time for a Covid-secure way to return to the theatres. For people working in the arts, whether that’s on stage, behind the scenes or front-of-house, the pandemic has been very difficult. It's been a huge loss.

Fortunately, times are changing and now we can start showing our support once again.

But just where do we start?

Here, at Yours, we have put together a list of West End musicals that we know you'll love. From long-running favourites like "Les Misérables" to revivals of West End favourites like "South Pacific", we have it covered. We've also sprinkled in some newer shows, too, like "& Juliet" - which are bound to get you racing down to the theatre.

Get ready to hit the West End with this handy guide to the must-see musicals of 2022…

The best West End musicals you must see in 2022

The Phantom of the Opera

Arguably one of the best musicals of all time, Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Phantom has been wowing audiences and fans for over 35 years. It's no surprise that it's still going.

Based on the tale of a haunted opera house by French author Gaston Leroux, the show’s tunes feature some of the most memorable melodies in musical history. Arguably, some of the best lyrics that you will ever hear in your lifetime. We're serious about that.

You can catch The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre from July until December.

Piper's thoughts: "I've seen this show and it was a life-changing experience for me. The songs stick with you because it's the most beautiful music that you will ever hear. As for the story, it's tense, heart-breaking at times - with a nice amount of comedy. It never gets old."

Pretty Woman

If you’re a fan of the Julia Roberts and Richard Gere classic movie, then perhaps you’ll be booking a seat to watch the musical version of Pretty Woman at the Savoy Theatre.

We don't blame you! With rave reviews, this show is a great night out and promises “a theatrical take on a dazzling love story.”

We think you should check out tickets or face making a “Big mistake. Huge.”

Pretty Woman: The Musical is playing at the Savoy Theatre until January.

Piper's thoughts: "I am a massive fan of the film. Huge. In fact, I'm so in love with Julia Roberts, I think I might go and watch it again... Or perhaps I could book to see this smash-hit which is booking until October. Everything about this musical looks dazzling. Though I haven't seen this show (yet), I've listened to the soundtrack a lot. It's really something."

Cabaret

Winning a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards including Best Musical Revival, this intimate and electrifying new production of CABARET is London's hottest ticket. This immersive revival stars Amy Lennox and Fra Fee.

In a time when the world is changing forever, there is one place where everyone can be free.

This is Berlin. Relax. Loosen up. Be yourself.

Cabaret is at the Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse - and is booking until November.

Piper's thoughts: "What a classic! Reimagined for a contemporary stage, this show is HOT and shouldn't be missed."

Mamma Mia!

It’s been on stage since 1999 but Mamma Mia! is as popular as ever.

Fans of the ABBA-inspired show, chock-full of the band’s unbeatable hits, will no doubt have watched the star-studded Mamma Mia! films. I mean, who doesn't love Meryl?

But, can anything beat sitting in a theatre to enjoy the amazing score in person?

Mamma Mia! is booking at the Novello Theatre until March next year.

Piper's Thoughts: "This show is so much fun. ABBA's music is timeless and is such a big part of my childhood. I hope everyone gets to see this in their lifetime. It's a treasure."

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

The Olivier-nominated musical production of the life and times of pop sensation Tina Turner has had a great run at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End.

Tina Turner has won a total of 11 Grammy Awards and has been inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame. She's known for legendary hits A Fool in Love, River Deep – Mountain High, and Proud Mary. She is a global success and worth celebrating. Simply the Best.

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical is at the Aldwych Theatre and booking until December.

Piper's thoughts: "Jukebox musicals are totally my thing. After falling in love with Beautiful: the Carole King Musical, I just knew that I'd love this one. This is a dazzling story about a woman who faces adversity and the power of music heals her... It's not like anything else."

Anything Goes

Star of the West End and Broadway Kerry Ellis joins this 50-strong company in this Cole Porter classic at London’s Barbican Theatre this summer. We're very excited.

Bonnie Langford, Simon Callow and Denis Lawson are appearing.

Talk about star-studded!

Returning to the Barbican after a UK tour in June, audiences can expect tap-dancing sailors and a full-sized orchestra as this romantic caper takes to the seas aboard the SS American. Aye, aye!

Anything Goes opens at the Barbican from June and runs until September.

Piper's thoughts: "Anything Goes is a camp classic. Kerry Ellis is such an established and versatile performer and I'm really excited to see her in this, too. I'm a big fan of Bonnie, especially after seeing her in 9 to 5: The Musical at the Savoy a few years back. She's a star."

Jersey Boys

One of the West End’s biggest-hit musicals got a new home at the newly-renovated Trafalgar Theatre. Did you know that Jersey Boys has won Grammy, Tony and Olivier awards since it became a smash hit in 2008? It's a tour de force.

Another jukebox musical on our list, Jersey Boys explores the story behind the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and includes catchy numbers including "Sherry", "Walk Like a Man", "1963 (Oh What a Night)" and "Big Girls Don't Cry”.

Jersey Boys is playing at the Trafalgar Theatre and it's booking through to April next year.

Piper's thoughts: "This show looks terrific. If you're a fan of 60's and 70's music, then this music is right up your street. It's won so many awards, mind you. So, it must be fab."

Back to the Future: The Musical

Great Scott!

Fans of Marty McFly can time travel between 1985 and 1955 to enjoy the musical version of the cult film. The musical was written by Gale and Zemeckis, who wrote the original film.

So, you know it's not a cheap imitation. It's the real thing with the same writing team.

Bursting with songs from the film’s original score, such as “Earth Angel”, “The Power of Love” and “Johnny B. Goode”, the new production will take audiences on a thrilling adventure.

Back to the Future is playing at the Adelphi Theatre and booking until February next year.

Piper's Thoughts: "What a blast! This one of my family's favourites. Who doesn't love a bit of time travel? The soundtrack is one big trip back the 80s. So fun and electric!"

Sister Act: The Musical

Take me to heaven!

Sister Act is back for a limited run at the Eventim Apollo with a star-studded cast.

Based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, the musical revolves around Dolores Van Cartier (played by Beverly Knight), a showgirl who works as a singer at a casino. One night, after performing, she witnesses a murder carried out by her mobster boyfriend. After reporting it to the local authorities, she is ushered away into witness protection.

As Shakespeare once wrote: "Get thee to a nunnery."

Now "Sister Mary Clarence" at a parish, Dolores puts her show-stopping skills to good use. She gets the church's choir into shape and the community becomes involved, too - much to the disapproval of Mother Superior - who is being played by the legendary Jennifer Saunders.

Not only that, but this production stars The Greatest Showman's Keala Settle, Bird of a Feather star Lesley Joseph and veteran Clive Rowe.

This production cannot be missed!

Sister Act is playing a limited run at the Eventim Apollo this summer.

Piper's thoughts: "The CAST! That will be all. This show is such good fun."

Les Misérables

If you were a fan of the film, then the show is right up your street.

Cameron Mackintosh's production of Boublil and Schonberg's Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre is still going strong after more than 30 years!

After nearly 20 years working on the chain gang, Jean Valjean is finally released on parole. As Valjean struggles to make his way in his new life he meets the Bishop of Digne who gives him a chance to start again. However, Police Inspector Javert cannot let this man slip away.

As Valjean starts a new life, due to the kindness of the Bishop of Digne, under a new name, Javert is looming around the corner. In the meantime, revolution is in the air in Paris.

Les Misérables is at the Sondheim Theatre and is booking until October.

Piper's thoughts: "This is a family favourite. Not only is the music absolutely breathtaking, but the whole production of the show is impressive. Who doesn't love "I Dreamed a Dream?" Though it is based on French history, the message still seems relevant in 2022. It's about banding together as a community, perseverance and standing up for what you believe in."

& Juliet

Thinking of dipping into Shakespeare but don't fancy sitting through a play?

& Juliet, playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre, is the answer.

Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare's wife - not to be confused with the actress, suggests an alternate ending to his most famous tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. What if Juliet doesn't end her life over a man? What if she lives on? Chooses herself, writes her own story?

This jukebox musical pays homage to pop icons to tell its story of emancipation.

Riotously funny, & Juliet is bursting with dozens of pop anthems you already know and love by legendary songwriter Max Martin, including …Baby One More Time, Since U Been Gone, Roar, It’s My Life, I Want It That Way, and Can’t Stop the Feeling!

& Juliet is playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre and is booking until March 2023.

Piper's thoughts: "Hilarious, lively and empowering, this modern alternative sequel to such a well-known piece of literature is very brave. The songs are poppy and extremely catchy. Not only that, but the company are just so energetic. Such an enjoyable experience."

My Fair Lady

The critically-acclaimed Lincoln Center Theatre production of My Fair Lady comes to London for a limited 16 week run from May. You shouldn't miss this sorely-anticipated revival.

Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young cockney flower peddler who meets by chance Henry Higgins. Higgins, a linguistics professor, is determined to teach someone to speak in such a way that they will be accepted by High Society.

While a bet is made on whether or not the professor can change Eliza’s speech, and consequently her prospects in life... but, who will be changing as the story progresses?

My Fair Lady returns to the West End in May and runs until August.

Piper's thoughts: "You don't want to miss this revival. My Fair Lady hasn't had a proper revival in over 20 years. This is a successful Broadway revival transfer - so, you know it's fabulous. I'm particularly keen to see Amara Okereke in the role of Eliza Doolittle."

Come From Away

Come From Away is a moving tale that captures the spirit of true events that transpired in the wake of 9/11! Following critical acclaim across North America, Come From Away landed in the UK at the Phoenix Theatre, sweeping the Olivier Awards - including Best New Musical.

On September 11, 2001, 38 planes had to make unexpected landings in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. Come From Away tells the story of what happened when the residents of this small community struggle to accommodate nearly 7,000 passengers.

Many of the characters are based on real-life people, too.

Come From Away is at the Phoenix Theatre, booking through October.

Piper's Thoughts: "Alice Fearn is currently starring in this amazing show. I saw her knock Elphaba out of the park in London's "Wicked", so I'm always excited about where she lands. Come From Away is a remarkable and moving story. Get your hands on some tickets."

Wicked

Speaking of Elphaba, Wicked is a show you should be booking.

Wicked is back for its 16th year in London.

With music and lyrics by the legendary Stephen Schwartz and based on the franchise by L. Frank Baum, Wicked tells the story of Elphaba and gives her a beguiling backstory.

Wicked reveals the decisions and events that shape the destinies of two unlikely friends on their journey to becoming Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Wicked is at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and booking through May.

Piper's thoughts: "Lucie Jones has just been cast as Elphaba. What an amazing decision! I saw this show back in 2017 and it has stuck with me ever since. The fact that it's still going strong after 16 years, tells you everything. Who doesn't love Defying Gravity?"

The Lion King

Disney’s award-winning musical has been stunning West End audiences for 22 years.

That's so impressive!

Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains and to the evocative rhythms of Africa, Disney's award-winning musical The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre will redefine your expectations of theatre. At its heart is the powerful and moving story of Simba - the epic adventure of his journey from wide-eyed cub to his destined role as King of the Pridelands.

The Lion King is playing at the Lyceum Theatre, booking until February.

Piper's Thoughts: "Breath-taking. Everything is sensational. From the costuming to the music, to the colours. This show has been on the West End for 22 years. That says everything."

Mary Poppins

Disney's Mary Poppins has flown in at the Prince Edward Theatre! Yay!

Mary Poppins is practically perfect! Everyone's original favourite nanny arrives at the Banks household just in time to set things straight with wisdom, a bit of magic, and a song or two.

You'll hear many of your favourite songs from the 1964 film, including 'Chim Chim Cher-ee’, ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’, fan-favourite ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’, and ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite'.

Mary Poppins has landed at the Price Edward Theatre, booking until December.

Piper's thoughts: "Gosh, this is my childhood in a musical. Zizi Strallen was born to play this role, too. I want to see this really bad. Anyone fancy coming with me?"

Grease

One of the world’s most popular musicals is back - this time even grittier and more glamorous than before! The beloved film and classic show are full to the top of sing-a-long songs that will inspire you to have some Summer Lovin’ this holiday!

After a summer romance between leather-clad greaser Danny and goodie-two-shoes Sandy, the holidays come to an end and so does their love affair. Until the pair are expectedly reunited when Sandy transfers to Rydell High for senior year.

Will their summer romance survive the tribulations of teenage life?

Find out at the Dominion Theatre where Grease is rocking until October.

Piper's thoughts: "This revival of Grease is promising grit and glamour. That is everything I want from a production of Grease. I'm loving Peter Andre's starring role, too."

Matilda: The Musical

Inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl, with original songs from comedian Tim Minchin and book by Dennis Kelly, Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre is the captivating new musical masterpiece from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Matilda feels very alone. She's nothing like her parents - and they just don't get her.

At school, life is not much better. Beastly headmistress Miss Trunchbull terrifies students and teachers alike. However, one day, Matilda discovers that she possesses a very unique and special ability. She decides it's time for the grown-ups in her life to be taught a lesson.

Winner of over 99 international awards, including 24 for Best Musical, and a whole host of five-star reviews, Matilda The Musical continues to delight audiences of all ages.

Matilda: the Musical is on at the Cambridge Theatre, booking until May 2023.

Plus - Netflix has just released the trailer for the film adaptation of this smash-hit. Get ready!

Piper's thoughts: "The 90s film is one of my favourites. Roald Dahl's writing is witty and universal. Plus, Tim Minchin's score is really fab. A great night out for the family."

The Drifters Girl

This is the second Beverly Knight show on this list! Isn't she busy?

The Drifters were certainly one of the world’s greatest vocal groups. and Faye Treadwell was their manager. Determined, she was giving her all until they were a global sensation.

In The Drifters Girl, Beverley Knight brings the true story of the first-ever African American female music manager out of the shadows. Featuring some of the catchiest songs in history, this musical follows Faye on her long, 3-decade fight to keep this band on the top.

Now is your chance to learn about The Drifters Girl.

The Drifters Girl is at the Garrick Theatre, booking until February 2023.

Piper's thoughts: "If you love a jukebox musical full of 70s and 80s tunes... well, this musical is perfect. It has great reviews and Beverly Knight is a force to be reckoned with."

South Pacific

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific is to have a strictly limited Summer season in London at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. The critically acclaimed production is heading to the West End following its sold-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre. Awesome!

Set on a South Pacific Island during World War ll, this powerful and dazzling love story is brought to life with a remarkable cast of over thirty and a full orchestra.

South Pacific is coming to Sadler's Wells from July 27th to August 28th.

Piper's thoughts: "This looks amazing. Great casting choices, too. This is a must!"

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