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TOP 3 Must-see Musicals in the West End

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ICU (Japan) chapter.

Over my first summer vacation as a college student, I decided to spend two weeks in London with my mother, who was on a business trip. If you ask anyone who knows me, they can tell you that I am a hundred percent a theater kid. So, with that being said, it is no surprise that I splurged and spent my whole bank account on West End musical tickets. (I have zero regrets about that, by the way.)

To me, if you are in London, whether you are a theater kid or not, your trip is not complete without seeing at least one West End musical. So, without further ado, here are my top 3 must-see West End musicals for anyone visiting London. Let’s start with my top pick:

Moulin Rouge

I’ve watched numerous musicals, through movies and on-stage, but never have I seen one that made me feel the same way Moulin Rouge did. It surpassed everything I had in my top 5 list, holding the place of top 1 in my heart.

Moulin Rouge the Musical, based on the 2001 Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman movie of the same name, is a musical about freedom, beauty, truth, and love. Meant to take you on an emotional rollercoaster (in a good way) with the bittersweet love story of Christian and Satine, its jukebox-musical soundtrack that will get you dancing in your seat, and the comedy and humor within the lines of the script, Moulin Rouge captures the hearts of any person who watches is it, leaving them with, really, a night to remember.

Songs for a taste of musical magic:

  • “Welcome to the Moulin Rouge”
  • “Backstage Romance”
  • “Shut Up and Raise Your Glass”

You can never go wrong with Les Miserables. It is the longest-running musical of the West End, and watching it, you’ll know exactly why. The heroic story of Jean Valjean, the heart-wrenching love triangle of Marius, Eponine, Cosette, and so many more, Les Miserables is a show that will keep you on your toes. The back-to-back song numbers, the stage effects, and the production as a whole are all jaw-dropping. All the big names in musical theater history have played a part in this iconic musical: Colm Wilkinson, Patti LuPone, Lea Salonga, and Ramin Karimloo. You would be surprised, but even popstar Nick Jonas and Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo performed in this unbelievably spectacular musical. 

I’m pretty sure some have only seen the movie adaptation with Hugh Jackman, so, if you liked that one, then believe me when I say that you’ll love the stage production.

Songs for a taste of musical magic:

  • Who Am I?
  • Do You Hear The People Sing?

We all know this Disney movie and its iconic song “Let It Go,” but did you know that they turned it into a stage musical? My mother and I bought tickets on a whim because it was our last day in London, and it did not disappoint. There’s something different about seeing one of your favorite Disney movies performed on stage. (I thought Disney On Ice was enough?) This musical’s cast and production team bring out the Disney magic we all adore. I felt like I was eight years old again! 

The biggest things about Frozen the Musical are its stage production and soundtrack. So much whimsical, magical fun fills the room, and you even get stunned with a few new songs and renditions you will not hear in the movie.
The best part about it is that…It’s Disney! When I went to watch, there were at least a hundred little girls dressed as Elsa, children with Olaf or Sven plushies, and families all going to watch this spectacular show together. It is definitely a “must-watch” in my book.

So, for Disney fans and theater babies or even people who are just getting into musicals, if you want to ease your way into the musical theater fandom, Frozen is the way to go.

Songs for a taste of musical magic:

  • Let it Go
  • Hygge

Although there are so many more musicals I would like to share with you all, I’ll keep it to these three for now. This is only half of the musicals I watched in London, so feel free to explore and find out what kind of musicals you are into! Don’t worry; none of them will disappoint you.

Maya Momono

ICU (Japan) '27

Hi I'm Maya from ICU Japan! I'm a girl with way too many hobbies, interests and random thoughts so don't be surprised if my article topics are all over the place. I may seem really girly and dainty but I'm a huge fan of the San Fransisco 49ers so you'll see some football-related articles here and there. Some other things I love are music, dancing, guitar, shopping, musical theater and Starbucks.