West End Musicals – How Long Each Performance Will Last
I thought I’d try and bring together all the information I can find about the duration of performances for the main West End musicals. I’ll look for length of show plus the name of the musical and possibly theatre to make sure I’ve got the right version, then put this useful data onto the appropriate page on the theatre wiki.
Why would the length of show be useful? Well for a number of reasons I can think of.
- You might need to be able to plan what time roughly you are likely to be leaving the theatre in in oder to plan travel or dinner times.
- You might want to see a good show but one that is not too long, because you can’t stand sitting still in a theatre seat for too long at a time, even for a great musical. Not everybody can fit into the classic theatre seats terribly comfortably, especially in some of the historic theatres with grade 2 listed interiors.
- You might want to compare ticket prices with length of show to help work out which is the best value for money, if you like to calculate such things in terms of cost per minute!
I expect there may be some other reasons as well why this information may be useful for other purposes but those are the three I can think of for now. I can always come back and edit in additions at a later date, even though this page isn’t a wiki itself.
So this is how the research is progressing so far:
Billy Elliot – the show lasts for three hours including Interval
I’ve found out that Billy Elliot, the fabulous musical about the Yorkshire miner’s son who wants to become a ballet dancer that has been playing at the Victoria Palace Theatre for many years now, has a duration of 3 hours including an interval.
Matilda A Musical
Matilda The Musical has a running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes including interval.
So there we are already, with a useful comparison that Billy is half an hour longer than Matilda. That could make all the difference when taking children of various ages out for a musical treat.
How long are the Shows?
Wicked seems longer but in fact it’s only two hours and fifty minutes including interval.
The Jersey Boys
Jersey Boys is only 2 hours and 30 minutes including an interval.
We Will Rock You 2 hours and forty minutes with interval.
Top Hat is 2 hours and 50 minutes – yes there’s an interval in this one as well.
Thriller Live is still going on for two and a half hours exactly including the interval.
A performance of Stomp will last for only One Hour and Forty minutes and there is no interval in this show. Hint: You can sometimes get really cheap theatre breaks to Stomp with travel and hotel included, then go and see something else as well!
Singin In The Rain at the Palace Theatre is two and a half hours long including interval.
Shrek is another one that comes in at 2hours 30 including interval.
Scrooge with Tommy Steele is slightly shorter at 2 hours twenty, interval included.
Rock of Ages 2:30 again, intermission understood.
The Phantom Of The Opera
Phantom of The Opera is yet another one with an interval plus performance time of two and a half hours.
Mamma Mia! at the new venue is two hours and thirty five minutes with interval.
Loserville the new British Musical about American geek teenagers is 2 hours and fifteen minutes long with the obligatory interval.
The Lion King
Disney’s Lion King is two hours and forty minutes, with interval.
Let it Be the new Beatles musical runs for two hours twenty, interval included.
Les Miserables is a revolutionary two hours and fifty minutes show with interval included.
Kiss Me Kate down at the Old Vic will only take up 1 hours and fifty minutes of your time, including an interval, so that’s a bit of a short one if you are in a hurry to get back to Waterloo Station.
The Jersey Boys runs for what is now beginning to appear to be a standard two and a half hours including interval.
Dreamboats and Petticoats back in the West End at Wyndham’s Theatre is still two hours and twenty minutes long with the interval in the course of that time.
A Chorus Line doesn’t open until next year so we’ve no idea how long that one will be.
Same goes for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s an adaptation of a long film, with extra songs added so it’s unlikely to come out as a shorter musical I wouldn’t have thought, but we shall have to see.
Cabaret with Will Young at the Savoy Theatre is two and a half hours with interval.
Blood Brothers is coming to the end of a very long run at the Phoenix Theatre, each performance having lasted two hours and forty minutes with interval.
So that’s the list in its current state, and I think we have learned one or two useful nuggets of information along the way.
The musical with the longest longest performance time is Billy Elliot at three hours, and the shortest is Stomp at 1:40 in a single stretch. Many musicals claim to run for exactly two and a half hours with an interval. Here is the full information again in an easy to reference tabular form, sorted from longest to shortest musicals:
Table of Musicals Performance Lengths
How Long is The Interval?
How long is the interval? Well that can vary a little bit from night to night, depending on various factors including the size of the audience and how thirsty they are. If there are any holdups with changing the set or costumes these could delay the start of the second act, but normally everything will run smoothly. Basically you have got time to stretch your legs, go the toilet, buy an ice cream and make your way back to your seat but if you want a drink from the bar you’d better be early in the queue or have your drinks already ordered because there may well not be time to serve everybody who tales a fancy to a large glass of red wine from that little bar area.
Interval Ice Cream
I hope this post about musical show lengths has been of some interest or use to you, and if it has been, please do share it with your musical theatre loving friends.