Great West End Musicals

jomilo21
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Great West End Musicals#1
Posted: 2/9/19 at 6:18pm
Just curious, aside from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Matilda, what are some GREAT or even GOOD musicals to come out of the West End?
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JoseLee_
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Great West End Musicals#2
Posted: 2/9/19 at 7:31pm
Billy Elliot
Les Miserables
The Phantom of the Opera
Sunset Boulevard
Cats
Blood Brothers
Matilda
Oliver
Mamma Mia
We Will Rock You
Evita
Ghost
Honk
Jerry Springer
Kiss of the Spider Woman


"Great"..is up to debate. These are just from the top of my head.
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HereAndThere2
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Great West End Musicals#3
Posted: 2/9/19 at 8:45pm

Sandy Wilson's 1953 "The Boy Friend," starring Anne Rogers.  When it opened on Broadway the following year, it starred Julie Andrews in her American stage debut.  Ken Russell's 1971 film version starred Twiggy.   Talented ladies, all.

 

 

Deena Jones
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Great West End Musicals#4
Posted: 2/9/19 at 11:07pm
Me and My Girl
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Wick3
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Great West End Musicals#5
Posted: 2/9/19 at 11:14pm

miss saigon

A0326T
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Great West End Musicals#6
Posted: 2/10/19 at 12:21am
Chess
Starlight Express
Al Jolson musical
Martin Guerre
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GavestonPS
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Great West End Musicals#7
Posted: 2/10/19 at 4:41am

So basically OLIVER! and THE BOYFRIEND.

STOP THE WORLD I WANT TO GET OFF and THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT, THE SMELL OF THE CROWD both fall in the good-not-great category.

And, of course, pretty much anything by Gilbert & Sullivan, but their shows were called "operas" in their day.

Noel Coward and Ivor Novello wrote some lovely individual songs, but I haven't encountered a show by either that I would call "good", much less "great".

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Dave28282
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Great West End Musicals#8
Posted: 2/10/19 at 4:43am

Miss Saigon

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devonian.t
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Great West End Musicals#9
Posted: 2/10/19 at 4:49am

Oliver! has a horrible book.  It is far from great.

If you like The Boyfriend, try Valmouth by the same writer- just as tuneful but with a wonderfully saucy and subversive book.

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qolbinau
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Great West End Musicals#10
Posted: 2/10/19 at 7:16am
I know it may technically be true but Spider Woman is not what I think of when I hear West End musical. Famed Broadway director, writers, star. Spider Woman was a Broadway Musial paying rent in and presented to west end audiences, thatís all.
"Itís the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
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Great West End Musicals#11
Posted: 2/10/19 at 9:00am

devonian.t said: "Oliver! has a horrible book. It is far from great.

If you like The Boyfriend, try Valmouth by the same writer- just as tuneful but with a wonderfully saucy and subversive book.
"

I've only seen OLIVER! once on stage, in London in 1979 (IIRC) with a couple of the stars from the film. I agree the book is problematic. As somebody pointed out in another thread recently, it doesn't always juggle the two moods (cute/light and dark) of the show successfully.

But we are talking musical books here. There are only a handful of great ones and mere dozens of good ones. I don't agree that the book to OLIVER! is "horrible". Especially not compared to almost every other attempt to musicalize Dickens.

I could say as much about THE BOY FRIEND, but it does have a nice sense of style along with catchy tunes. I'll check out VALMONT if it comes around...

In general and despite some strides in the past few decades, I don't think the "British musical" is one of the island's great contributions to world culture. For most of the 20th century, they had the gays, but lacked the Jews and African Americans.

Updated On: 2/10/19 at 09:00 AM
bowtie7
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Great West End Musicals#12
Posted: 2/10/19 at 9:45am

I have a soft spot for Grab Me a Gondola, a 1956 West End hit that ran 673 performances but is now largely forgotten. Not necessarily a great musical but so much fun. How can you not love a production number extolling the virtues of mink bikinis or the shapely film starlet who's "Cravin for the Avon".  

MikeK3
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Great West End Musicals#13
Posted: 2/10/19 at 10:17am

I have to put in a vote for Valmouth, as well. Brilliant campy fun, and unexpectedly moving...there is nothing like it. Both recordings are good, though I would opt for the Chichester revival. It has several of the original leading ladies, but caught 25 years later, when they have aged into their roles beautifully. And as much as I love Cleo Laine on the first recording, Bertice Reading is amazing on the newer one. There was also a BBC radio version floating around, which has a generous helping of the wicked dialogue.

My other serious contender for great West End musical is Robert and Elizabeth. Great story, and beautiful lush music, which is served beautifully by the original cast recording (in this case, avoid the Chichester revival recording...there are some fine things on it, but it doesn't outdo the original).

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Great West End Musicals#14
Posted: 2/10/19 at 10:55am

I agree!  The Chichester revival captures the brilliant Bertice and unique Fenella Fielding as Lady Parvula.

In recent times, I think Billy Elliot is our best musical of the past 20+ years.

Jarethan
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Great West End Musicals#15
Posted: 2/10/19 at 1:53pm

Agree with most of the suggestions so far, although i will never  understand why The Boy Friend achieved such success, although I do admit to enjoying Ken Russell's movie in the early 70's, especially Glenda Jackson's hilarious almost-cameo as the injured star.

I would also add Half a Sixpence.  Fifty-two years later, it remains one of the most joyous shows I have ever seen, in some part due to Tommy Steele's incredibly charismatic performance as Arthur Kipps.  I have never understood why they eliminated the best number from the original production, The Party's on the  House, when the revived it a few years back.

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MichelleCraig
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Great West End Musicals#16
Posted: 2/10/19 at 2:20pm

I really enjoyed Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE BEAUTIFUL GAME when I saw it in London. It had some great melodies (some of which ended up in other ALW shows or programs). I think the show was too UK-centric to catch on over here.

I also enjoyed SPEND SPEND SPEND (1999) with Barbara Dickson. It was a lot of fun, but the subject matter was too British; true story of Viv Nicholson...who won the pools. Nobody here knows about the pools...sort of a British lottery.

In 1994, a big, bombastic telling of the NAPOLEON story opened in Toronto and I thought the cast album was fantastic. In 2000, it opened in the West End but, to me, there was just no spark. Listening to the Toronto cast recording was a better experience than watching the London production of the show. Some truly gorgeous ballads...

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Great West End Musicals#17
Posted: 2/10/19 at 2:48pm
Lord of the Rings
Zorro
Everybody's Talking About Jamie
Buddy
Mrs. Henderson Presents
The Hired Man
Moby Dick
Soho Cinders
Calendar Girls
Mary Poppins
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our House
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
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Great West End Musicals#18
Posted: 2/10/19 at 2:50pm

qolbinau said: "I know it may technically be true but Spider Woman is not what I think of when I hear West End musical. Famed Broadway director, writers, star. Spider Woman was a Broadway Musial paying rent in and presented to west end audiences, that’s all."

I mean, if you were to count Spider Woman as a West End Musical, you also say it is a great Canadian musical by having its major first production in Toronto.

"The 54th Street[theatre] had a rep as. . .where old musicals went to die." -Smaxie
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Great West End Musicals#19
Posted: 2/10/19 at 9:55pm
^I was thinking exactly the same thing!
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
Gizmo6
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Great West End Musicals#20
Posted: 2/13/19 at 6:59pm

HereAndThere2 said: "Sandy Wilson's 1953 "The Boy Friend," starring Anne Rogers. When it opened on Broadway the following year, it starred Julie Andrews in her American stage debut. Ken Russell's 1971 film version starred Twiggy. Talented ladies, all.
 

 

" aww I love The Boyfriend but sadly I think it’s often overlooked because of the meta style of the film. 

Theres a great version of Nicer in Nice oh Hey Mr Producer. I’d love to see a big revival. 

 

Gizmo6
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Great West End Musicals#21
Posted: 2/13/19 at 7:02pm

MichelleCraig said: "I really enjoyed Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE BEAUTIFUL GAME when I saw it in London. It had some great melodies (some of which ended up in other ALW shows or programs). I think the show was too UK-centric to catch on over here.

I also enjoyed SPEND SPEND SPEND (1999) with Barbara Dickson. It was a lot of fun, but the subject matter was too British; true story of Viv Nicholson...who won the pools. Nobody here knows about the pools...sort of a British lottery.

In 1994, a big, bombastic telling of the NAPOLEON story opened in Toronto and I thought the cast album was fantastic. In 2000, it opened in the West End but, to me, there was just no spark. Listening to the Toronto cast recording was a better experience than watching theLondon production of the show. Some truly gorgeous ballads...
"

The Beautiful Game was about ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland and given Bill Clinton’s involvement in the peace process and the Irish diaspora I thought people would know about the war in Ireland. 

Gizmo6
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Great West End Musicals#22
Posted: 2/13/19 at 7:06pm
A new musical Iím hoping will be good with a very important subject matter

https://sohotheatre.com/shows/the-view-upstairs/

A provocative new musical, The View UpStairs is inspired by the true story of the 1973 arson attack that the largest single attack against the LGBTQ+ community until the Pulse Nightclub shootings in Florida in 2016. Filled with a collection of beautiful love songs and power rock ballads, this is a musical about friendship, community, how far weíve come and how far we still have yet to go. It is a story of hope; and itís a rainbow rollercoaster you do not want to miss.

Donít know if I should start a new thread or if you have any interest.
Gizmo6
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Great West End Musicals#23
Posted: 2/13/19 at 7:17pm
Also SIX: The Musical of the Six wives is one of the best nights at the theatre I have had in years and I go to a lot of theatre across the world.

It was a rollercoaster of emotions and while sometimes corny the feminist revision of Ďherstoryí Was so uplifting. I loved it and the crowd ate it up!!!
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Great West End Musicals#24
Posted: 2/13/19 at 8:23pm

Gizmo6 said: "Also SIX: The Musical of the Six wives is one of the best nights at the theatre I have had in years and I go to a lot of theatre across the world.

It was a rollercoaster of emotions and while sometimes corny the feminist revision of ‘herstory’ Was so uplifting. I loved it and the crowd ate it up!!!
"

Agreed, it's just amazing and so wonderfully British!

Already booked to go back twice in the next 2 months.

Gizmo6
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Great West End Musicals#25
Posted: 2/14/19 at 3:44am

Impossible2 said: "Gizmo6 said: "Also SIX: The Musical of the Six wives is one of the best nights at the theatre I have had in years and I go to a lot of theatre across the world.

It was a rollercoaster of emotions and while sometimes corny the feminist revision of ?herstory’ Was so uplifting. I loved it and the crowd ate it up!!!
"

Agreed, it's just amazing and so wonderfully British!

Already booked to go back twice in the next 2 months.
"

Brilliant. Planning on booking soon again too. I see some of the cast are leaving for Oops I did it again writer musical &Juliet. 

So that’ll be interesting. I just hope Anne of Cleaves will be still there she was amazing.