Looking for the best West End shows in London right now? Don’t miss this handy guide to all the unmissable shows in 2023.
Fancy a night out at the theatre? London’s West End is rather legendary, and catching a show is a magical way to spend an evening in London. There’s always plenty of shows to go and see, but how do you pick the best one for you?
From famous book adaptations, award-winning musicals and re-telling of stories you’ve always loved, we’re certain this guide has just what you’re looking for.
These are the best West End shows in London right now.
The Best West End Shows in London in 2023
The Woman in Black
Are you brave enough to watch the most terrifying West End show? The Woman in Black is based on Susan Hill’s 1983 book of the same name.
This spooktacular show is captivating with a minimal stage featuring just a few props and eerie sound effects – this one isn’t for the faint hearted.
The chilling atmosphere is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and we’re certain you won’t be taking any bathroom breaks during the show… The Woman in Black might be lurking.
West End’s longest-running musical, Les Miserables, is one of the most unmissable West End shows in London.
Even if you’ve seen the show, the rotating cast and breathtaking staging means that you should see it multiple times. It’s that good.
The immersive show is performed to the backdrop of paintings by Victor Hugo, Les Miserables author. The highly emotive performances from each and every single actor is phenomenal, they truly bring the story to life.
Victoria Palace Theatre
Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is the winner of 11 Tony Awards, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical theatre Album.
The award winning musical blends jazz, hip hop, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway whilst telling the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers and George Washington’s right hand man.
Catch the show at West End’s Victoria Palace Theatre– it’s one of the best West End shows in London right now. Trust us – you want to be in the room where it happens.
Matilda The Musical
If you’re a Roald Dahl fan, make sure you catch Matilda The Musical showing at the Cambridge Theatre. The much-loved children’s book has been adapted for the West End and it is a show that all the family will enjoy.
The live-stage adaptation will have you hanging on the edge of your seat as Matilda Wormwood follows her dreams of escaping her neglectful parents through her love of literature– but will she get her happy ever after?
Apollo Victoria Theatre
Wicked is the prequel to the Wizard of Oz and it tells the story of Elphaba (the future Wicked Witch of The West) and her friendship with Glinda (the Good Witch of the South).
Showing at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, the popular show has been nominated for six Tony Awards and has been described as being one of the best musicals of our time. It’s a truly magical show brimming with imagination and emotion that will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Calling all Witches and Wizards! You need to watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child– muggles need not attend.
We’re sure that this iconic franchise needs no introduction, but this two part play follows Harry, Ron and Herminone 19 years after they saved the wizarding world. They’ve joined a new generation of wizards and witches to expelliarmus mysterious evil forces once and for all.
The Lion King
A long-time favourite on the London theatre scene, The Lion King is one of the most outstanding shows in London. Not sure which one to watch? This is our top pick.
It’s one of the most riveting London West End shows and is based on the 1994 Walt Disney movie – and the West End musical show features music from Elton John. The Lion King is entertaining from start to finish with outlandish animal costumes and giant hollow puppets.
The show has been singing Hakuna Matata in the Lyceum Theatre since 1999 and with 7,500 shows, it’s safe to say that this is a must see West End show.
The greatest love story of all time has been given a new and modern twist, & Juliet redefines what Juliet’s life could have been like if the well-known Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet didn’t end in tragedy.
From the writer of Schitt’s Creek, this comedic musical is packed with laughter, and takes a contemporary view of retelling the famous story from Juliet’s perspective. We follow Juliet’s heartbreak as she is ready to leave Verona, bags packed, as she dances the night away and rediscovers herself.
The Playhouse Theatre
This classic musical takes over the stage at the Playhouse Theatre to tell the tale of a relationship between an American writer and a British cabaret singer.
It’s set to the backdrop of Berlin’s decline during the Weimar Republic, and the rise of Facism in 1930s Germany, the big point being that in a world where everything is becoming scarily authoritarian, a cabaret club is the last bastion of freedom.
Of course, jazz-age Germany and the cabaret club make the perfect setting for a good musical number or two, and some very dramatic storytelling. No surprise the play goes down in the history books as one of the best selling ever.
Only Fools and Horses
This London-based TV comedy taking to the stage produced nothing but solid reviews from the citrics.Only Fools and Horses is pretty much everything you’d expect it to be.
Rodney, Dell Boy and Grandpa get up to no good in the search for riches and fortune. They do so through a morally questionable set of dodgy deals that could land them in a spot of trouble.
Scraping by with a good bit of London charm, the introduction of musical elements to the much-loved British TV classic doesn’t do any harm at all. In fact, it totally works.
Lovers of West End musicals will not be disappointed.
Moulin Rouge needs no introduction. The five Drama Desk Awards, fourteen TonyNominations, and eleven Outer Critics Circle Awards pretty much say it all.
This classic musical shoots its audience back into Paris’ seedy nightclubs at the turn of the last century with songs and love stories abound.
The play is a stage adaptation of the equally-classic Baz Luhrmann film of the same name and features all the glitz, glam, and musical flare of the movie.
Henry the 8th is known for his womanising, and for the grizzly end his wives often met. For a play about the perspectives of those unlucky women, Six is surprisingly uplifting.
The six women of his life turn back the clocks and recount their stories of love and loss through the form of song and dance, digging on the ex they all have in common.
The result is a sass-fueled few hours of hilarity. It’s cleaned up a couple of Tony awards, including Best Score, so you can be sure you’re in for a hell of a ride with this one.
The Book of Mormon
Prince of Wales Theatre
Watch The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre for a truly remarkable West End production.
From the creators of South Park (warning: the comedy is very on-the-nose), comes this hilarious musical about two Latter-Day Missionaries who have been posted to a remote Ugandan village.
Whilst there, the Missionaries are supposed to preach about faith to the church and convert the villagers to Mormonism. This doesn’t exactly go to plan as the imminent threat from HIV, FGM and opression from their warlord precedes.
Back to The Future: The Musical
If you’ve ever seen the film (and if not, why not?), you’ll already know that Back to The Future has a truly imaginative storyline that is gripping from the get go.
To crank it up a notch, Back to The Future: The Musical takes us on an electrifying journey back in time when Marty McFly finds himself transported back to 1955.
He accidentally changes the course of history, but can he fix the present, escape the past and send himself back to the present day in time?
Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical
Jim Steinman’s award winning musical, Bat Out Of Hell-The Musical is centred around a tricky love affair when Strat, the immortal leader of The Lost, falls madly and deeply in love with Raven, the daughter of the oppressive ruler, Falco.
This electrifying musical has entertained audiences across the globe, and that comes as no surprise with an impressive Meat Loaf soundtrack including I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), Paradise By The Dashboard Light and Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad. You can watch this powerful musical at Peacock Theatre in Holborn.
Phantom Of The Opera
Her Majesty’s Theatre
The West End’s most haunting love story, Phantom of the Opera returns to Her Majesty’s Theatre. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sensational long-running musical stars double Olivier Award nominee Killian Donnely at The Phantom, Lucy St Louis as Christine Daae and Thys Whitfield as Raoul.
The Phantom awaits in this masterpiece with outlandish costumes and some of the West End’s best theatrical performances.
Standing at Sky’s Edge
The National Theatre
The National Theatre’s latest musical production, Standing at Sky’s Edge, tells the story of several lives on a council estate in Sheffield, across several generations.
Some want to get as far away from the place they were born as possible, seeking fortune and fame in the big city of London. Others want to stay close to home and raise families.
What you’ll see is a touching, at times light hearted, at times deep, musical that questions the nature of home, and what the place we’re from means about us.
It left Sheffield stages to wide acclaim, and has come to London with a similar reception.
The Theatre Royal
It was probably just a matter of time until the Disney movie that grabbed the hearts of every child in the country was turned into a musical for the West End. Well, here it is.
The stage version follows the same story as the 2013 film as Elsa and Anna run away from home and encounter a menagerie of strange friends who help them understand the big wide world.
The stage version features more songs (including a few new ones written just for this production) and deeper characters – though that latter point doesn’t make it any less enjoyable for kids, just maybe slightly more enjoyable for adults.
The Trafalgar Theatre
This classic bit of musical theatre follows the rise and fall of The Four Seasons. No, not the swanky hotel, a musical group from the 60s that shot Frankie Valli, among others, to super-star fame.
That fame comes with all the trappings of a good band story, from can’t-believe-we-made-it early days to the arguments, fall outs, and eventual separation.
Jersey Boys is almost as classic as some of the songs The Four Seasons put out in their time. It’s juicy. It’s gripping. It’s full of great songs.
Join in on the Mamma Mia fun at the Novello Theatre and watch the live adaptation of the
world’s sunniest smash-hit musical.
Mamma Mia follows a mother, a daughter and three potential dads as they take an unforgettable trip down the aisle. Since premiering in London over 23 years ago, this well-loved feel good musical has transported us to the sunny Greek island with a soundtrack of ABBA’s timeless songs.
Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
At the Aldwych Theatre, discover Tina Turner’s life story in the Grammy Award-Winning musical: Tina – The Tina Turner Musical.
The jukebox musical, featuring the music of Tina Turner showcases her life from her humble beginnings to rock n’ roll star.
Her inspiring journey to becoming one of the most successful recording artists of all time is a riveting watch. The musical is not just about Tina Turner’s fame but the trials and tribulations she faced in order to succeed.
Celebrate the 30 year anniversary of one of the most romantic films of all time, Pretty Woman.
This West End hit is showing at the Savoy Theatre, and follows the successful businessman Edward and sex worker Vivian as they fall head over heels for eachother.
The musical features original music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallence, whilst not straying too far from the movie classic.
Guys and Dolls
From 27th February – 2nd September 2023
Frank Loesser’s serious classic of a musical is coming to the London stage very soon.
They’ve decided to do this one in a semi-immersive style meaning that, although you can choose to sit and watch theatre in the round, the good old-fashioned way, you can also join the actors on stage and soak the action in as part of the musical itself.
Guys and Dolls needs no introduction. The classic tale of gangs in prohibition-era New York and the romances that form in spite of their bloody divides is a tale as old as time.
With Nicholas Hytner at the helm, it’s almost certain this production will keep the legacy going strong.
The Great British Bake Off Musical
The Noël Coward Theatre
From 25th February – 13th May 2023
Bringing reality TV to the stage is no easy task. We’ve seen it tried, and failed. This modest shot at stardom seems like it might have all the pieces to make a great little show – and probably the fan base to go with it.
It follows the colourful range of contestants that take part in the nation’s best-loved TV show – The Great British Bake Off – focusing on a love story between two of them.
It’s a pure feelgood show that’s been five years in the making, and has come to London hot off the back of a sold out summer season in Cheltenham. It may be small, but it’s set to be mighty.
Bonnie and Clyde
The Garrick Theatre
From 4th March – 20th May
In London on a flying eleven week run is this musical adaption of the story of the classic cop-killing couple Bonnie and Clyde.
It was actually originally a broadway show many many years ago, but didn’t do so well. The UK version has had a bit of tinkering with and – fingers crossed – will be better than its New York progenitor.
The story is not without its fair share of drama and romance. Let’s see if it translates well to the West End.
Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Prince Edward Theatre
From 31st March – 1st October 2023
As subject matter for a musical goes, you couldn’t think of a much better setting than Detroit in the Motown era. The music of the era captures a time and a place, and is at the same time, ultimately timeless.
Ain’t Too Proud, fresh off the stages of Broadway, is about to get its London debut and comes to the English capital with no small amount of praise.
The vehicle that drives the story is the classic band the Temptations who wrote many of the songs that define the era – My Girl included. Which ones they’ll keep in the play was no doubt a tough question for the director to answer.
Needless to say, the play will be full of hits regardless.
From 12th May 2023 – 13th January 2024
This stage adaptation of Robin Williams’ classic 1993 film, Mrs. Doubtfire, got a rough run on Broadway before beginning plans to come to the UK.
Opening bang in the middle of the pandemic, it was forced to shut, and eventually received bad reviews from its American critics for being insensitive.
It’s now on its way to the West End and an arguably less-sensitive British audience. Four-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks is on the direction, so it’s in good hands, but time will tell if it’s a story no longer relevant to today’s audiences.
Aspects of Love
From 12th May – 11th November 2023
This old school(ish) number was a hit musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This production comes from director of much acclaim, Jonathan Kent, and stars Michael Ball who was actually in the original Aspects of Love production back in the 80s.
Word’s not out yet what role he’ll play in this production, though it’s safe to assume it won’t be the same one as last time.
This production of a story of a group of friends and all their complicated romantic endeavours gets a bit of a revamp to bring it into the 21st century.
Judging by how complicated dating is becoming in the current technological climate, we’ll be on for some laughs.
From 20th May – 12th August 2023
You’ve probably seen the Bill Murray film that inspired this musical number – it’s an old classic now. You may not have seen the excellent adaptation that Tim Minchin made of it for the West End stage – it’s been on a seven year hiatus.
In what might be the most exciting revival of a play in a hell of a long time, Groundhog Day The Musical is coming back to the Old Vic for a brief Spring/Summer run.
The Tim Minchin that wrote the thing is the same guy who had a big hand in the Matilda musical that’s one of the most popular shows in pretty much ever. They’ve even got Danny Rubin, the writer of the original movie, in to help keep things on track.
We’re excited to see this back on the stage. We expect half of London is too.
We Will Rock You
From 2nd June – 27th August 2023
You’ll probably get the subject of this returning West End musical from the title. You may just already know it from the roaring success it had last time it was on the London stages before it closed in 2014.
Ben Elton’s We Will Rock You charts a period in the lives of a group of bohemians that exist very much on the outside of a society in the distant future where everyone thinks, looks, and does the same.
The tale of individualism in the face of opposition is obviously laden with classic Queen tracks, and has gone down in history as one of the most popular musicals of all time.
The Dominion Theatre
From 2nd June – 28th October 2023
We all know Grease for the ever-memorable John Travolta film. It doesn’t take long to realise that said film is near perfect for stage adaptation – few of us could have predicted that the adaptation would pass Travolta’s role off to Peter Andre, though.
The film has been dragged to the stage more than once, this edition gently brings the old story to 21st century life. We’re not talking about teenagers on tinder or identity politics though – this iteration recognises Grease’s 50’s backdrop as an important part of its identity.
You will find however, a thoughtful take on an old classic, with all the best tunes still going strong.
From 7th June – 2nd July 2023
Another classic musical to be hitting the London stage this summer, 42nd Street is adapted from an equally-classic film that’s also full of quality show tunes.
Jonathan Church of Singin’ In The Rain and The Drifters Girl fame directs this iteration, landing at Sadler’s Wells in June. It’s choreographed by Olivier Award winners Bill Dreamer and Rob Jones, so not lacking in star studded production.
The story? A classic tale of a country girl arriving wide-eyed in NYC in search of fame. In her case on Broadway. The production is as glitzy and glamorous as the city it’s set in.
The Wizard of Oz
The London Palladium
23rd June – 3rd September 2023
Here’s another story that needs no introduction: The Wizard of Oz. It’s also another one that’s had major success on the big screen before being transposed to the stage. Noticing a theme here?
This adaptation was a huge success when Andrew Lloyd Webber opened it back in 2011, adding a few of his own musical numbers here and there.
The current version, set to open in the summer, takes that idea and passes the directorial batton on to Nikolai Foster.
Practical Tips for Booking West End Theatre Tickets in London
- It’s usually best to book your ticket online before you go, you’re more likely to get the best deals. Though, you can chance it and head to the box office on the day, where you might get a huge discount.
- Be careful not to book tickets on any websites that are not credible. London Theatre Direct and Ticketmaster are two of the best sites to book theatre tickets.
- If you don’t want to purchase your tickets online, then head to the London TKTS booth in Leicester Square for last minute tickets that are sometimes shelf price or discounted up to a week in advance.