Musicals Chart for Theatre Breaks
The stats are in for October and we can reveal which shows have been most popular with our theatre breaks customers on coach trips to London.
The musical which comes out on top is………. The Lion King, a long running family musical with fabulous costumes and big sound original musical rhythms. Set in the jungle with a cast of animals in human form the uplifting moral tale unfolds in regal splendour thrilling audiences from all over the UK. Disney’s The Lion King with a score by Elton John at the Lyceum Theatre is booking until at least 13th April 2013.
Secondly, in complete contrast we have another long running musical with an original score and spectacular big cast in the form of Les Miserables recreating revolutionary France on stage. Some of the songs written for Les Mis are already known to audiences from the TV performances of Susan Boyle and others, it’s such a must-see show.
Next is yet another well established show in London, so maybe some people are coming back to see the same favourite musicals again and again, or perhaps it’s the power of word of mouth from friends and relations who went to see Billy Elliot a few years ago and can throughly recommend the show as one of the best choices in the West End. It’s also a story that’s close to the hearts of many people from Yorkshire, set in the coal mining areas during the 1980s. Again, we have original music composed specially for the musical, in this case also by Elton John.
The Jersey Boys
The next two shows on my list however, are based on already well known songs from the back catalogue of two supergroups, one from Great Britain and one from the USA decades earlier. The Jersey Boys is a classic Juke Box style musical taking all the best songs from the hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and using them to tell the story of the band’s rise to fame, troubles and fortunes. Sounds a bit corny perhaps, but it’s just a great night out for guys and girls, whether you were around for the original scene or not.
We Will Rock You
We Will Rock You similarly takes a large number of the hits from one band, Queen, but this isn’t the story of Queen – that would be rather dull as it happens, they went to school in Cornwall, went to University, formed a band, finished their degrees then went on the road with Freddie Mercury. Not much to weave a plot around there – no, it’s a completely made up fantastical story set in a dystopian world where live music has been banned and people wear their underwear on the outside. Lead characters are named after lyrics such as Scaramouche and Meat, Killer Queen and radio Gaga. We Will Rock You is a proper musical theatre show that also turns into a rock concert, so you leave the auditorium exhausted but delirious.
War Horse isn’t a musical is it? No, there’s music in it but it’s better described as a play. A play with puppetry, but not cartoons or little models, full sized horses that move and react in a way that makes you feel they are real and alive. I’ve seen them doing this in the street at Covent Garden with one of the War Horses at West End Live and it’s really quite uncanny the way you feel the horse is dangerously not quite under the full control of its handler. War Horse the theatre show has been made into a musical film by Stephen Spielberg but it’s the original stage show you need to see. Oh yes, I just remembered – there was a War Horse puppet on top of the roof of the National Theatre when the Royal Barge went past during the Jubilee Pageant and they picked up on that part for the national news in the evening as the Queen and family pointed it out to each other. That was a very rainy day for the race.
At number seven, still going after vacating the Prince of Wales theatre to make way for Let It Be, and now in a new home along the Strand at the Novello is Mamma Mia! the musical that transports you to a sunny Greek Island.
The highest newcomer to our theatre breaks chart is The BodyGuard. The Bodyguard only just opened in London last week but some people wanted to be amongst the first to see it, being what we call “early adopters” who may well go back and tell all their friends that this is the one to watch, so long as they are fans of Whistney Houston songs the show is constructed around. You’ll know what it’s all about if you’ve seen the film version, since this is another adaptation to musical show from an original cinema story.
Next month could see some big changes in our charts with a number of new musicals for next year coming on stream, but will Spice Girls and Roald Dahl fans book ahead for as yet untested shows or will it be the old favourites again that dominate the top five? Bye for now.