London is famous around the world for being one of the best places to see plays, musicals and West End shows. So without further ado, here’s our rundown of 20 of the best London theatre shows to watch throughout the rest of 2023:
Return to Hawkins with a whole new story from the Duffer Brothers that’s set to hit West End stages later this year. Written by Kate Trefry, the play promises an insight into Hawkins in 1959 – “Before the world turned upside down”. Stranger Things: The First Shadow promises to unravel the mysteries at the heart of the TV show, by taking us all the way back to the beginning with a prequel story about Joyce, Hopper, and the origins of Henry Creel (aka Vecna).
📍 Stranger Things: The First Shadow will run at the Phoenix Theatre from November 17, 2023 – August 25, 2024. Book your tickets here.
2. Disney’s The Lion King
A tale we all know and love and one of the best shows in London, this West End musical follows Simba and Nala’s adventures as they explore the ‘Circle of Life’ in Sub-Saharan Africa. Featuring incredible music from Elton John, stunning effects, spectacular colours, ingenious puppetry and all our favourite characters, this is guaranteed to be a pretty fantastic night at the theatre. Can you feel the love tonight? We’re pretty sure you will at Disney’s The Lion King!
📍 Disney’s The Lion King is playing at The Lyceum Theatre indefinitely. You can grab your tickets here.
3. Jersey Boys: The Musical
Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony and Olivier Award-winning, true-life phenomenon, Jersey Boys: The Musical. Legends on stage, they soon found themselves in both personal and professional binds and became victims of several mafia threats, gambling debts and family disasters…
📍 Jersey Boys: The Musical is playing at the Trafalgar Theatre indefinitely. You can get your tickets here.
4. My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Centre
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of My Neighbor Totoro was an absolute runaway success when it landed in London back in 2022. It was so popular, in fact, that when it was first announced, it broke the Barbican’s record for most tickets sold in one day. Be sure not to miss out on the next run of the adaptation of the beloved Hayao Miyazaki cult classic.
📍 Performances of My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Centre will start this November. Grab your ticket here.
5. Operation Mincemeat
A ripping yarn and hysterical musical comedy set during World War Two in 1943, Operation Mincemeat tells the unbelievable true story of the twisted secret mission that won us World War II. The question is, how did a well-dressed corpse wrong-foot Hitler? With five-star reviews across the board, this is one London theatre show you really can’t miss in 2023.
📍 Operation Mincemeat is playing at the Fortune Theatre until February 2024.
6. Mrs Doubtfire
After a critically-acclaimed run in Manchester, the hilariously funny new musical Mrs Doubtfire has made its way to the West End in 2023. Out-of-work actor Daniel will do anything for his kids. After losing custody in a messy divorce, he creates the alter-ego of Scottish nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire in a desperate attempt to stay in their lives. But he’ll end up learning far more about parenting through her than he could have ever thought…
📍 Mrs Doubtfire is playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre until January 13 2024.
7. Grease the Musical
Now, when it comes to London theatre shows playing right now, it’s impossible to ignore this one. “Grease is the word”! Too bloody right it is. Everyone’s favourite rip-roaring musical has hit the London stage and is running until October 28. Grease: The Musical is one hell of a fun show which features all the hits we all know and love. “Is it the one that you want”? Well – it damn well should be!
📍 Grease the Musical is playing at the Dominion Theatre until October 28 2023. You can grab your tickets here.
8. The Time Traveller’s Wife
What happens when you combine a best-selling novel, Grammy-award-winning musicians (Joss Stone and Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart), and a powerhouse production team? You get the newest musical to hit London’s West End: The Time Traveller’s Wife. Following the story of the time travelling Henry and his love, Clare, the musical takes us along on their unusual, and non-linear journey as they try to stay together despite everything.
📍 The Time Traveller’s Wife will play at the Apollo Theatre from October 7.
9. Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
In a time when the world is changing forever, there is one place where everyone can be free. Welcome to the Kit Kat Club, home to an intimate and electrifying new production of Cabaret starring Fra Fee and Amy Lennox. One of the most successful musicals of all time, Cabaret features music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and is based on the play by John Van Druten. This is Berlin. Relax. Loosen up. Be yourself. Enjoy!
📍 Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club will be at the Playhouse Theatre indefinitely. Get your tickets here.
The multi-award-winning West End production of Hamilton brings the global musical hit to London’s Victoria Palace Theatre. The story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War, Hamilton helped shape the very foundations of the America that the world knows today. The score blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway – the story of America then, told now.
📍 Hamilton is playing at the Victoria Palace Theatre indefinitely. Get your tickets here.
11. Mamma Mia!
See the world’s sunniest, most exhilarating smash-hit musical in 2023! Since premiering in London’s West End over 23 years ago, this feel-good show has thrilled over 65 million people around the world. Fall in love with the irresistibly funny tale of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads on a Greek island idyll, all unfolding to the magic of ABBA’s timeless songs. Whatever age you are, you can’t help but have the time of your life at Mamma Mia! Voulez-vous – aha!
📍 Mamma Mia! is playing at the Novello Theatre indefinitely. Get your tickets here.
12. Guys & Dolls: The Immersive Show
Immerse yourself in the streets of Manhattan in Guys and Dolls directed by Nicholas Hytner. Expect to hear all the classic numbers from the hit Broadway show including ‘Luck Be a Lady’, ‘Sit Down You Are Rocking The Boat’, ‘Adelaide’s Lament’, ‘Guys & Dolls’ and more, as you move freely around the stage and interact with the characters too in this fully-immersive experience.
📍Guys & Dolls: The Immersive Show is playing at The Bridge Theatre until February 2024. Grab your tickets here.
13. Les Misérables
Come on. You know Les Misérables – it’s only one of the most famous London theatre shows. Perhaps even one of the most famous theatre shows of all time! In fact, it’s the longest-running musical the West End has ever seen. And now the story of Jean Valjean and the French revolutionaries is given an exciting overhaul with a new production and case including Luke Kempner, Katie Hall, Will Callan and more.
📍 This run of Les Misérables will kick off at the Sondheim Theatre on September 25. Secure your tickets here.
14. The Choir of Man
Welcome to The Choir of Man—the best night in your local you’ve ever had. It’s a party, it’s a concert, it’s a lock-in like no other. Featuring breathtaking reinventions of chart-topping hits from artists including Guns’N’Roses, Fun!, Adele, Avicii, Paul Simon, Sia and many more, this musical has something for everyone. Get ready to get your rock god on.
📍 The Choir of Man is playing at the Arts Theatre London until February 2024. Get a hold of your tickets here.
15. Dear England
Dear England traces the turbulent story of the England men’s football team under the management of Gareth Southgate. Based on extensive research and interviews, the show presents a fictionalised account of the struggles faced by the team. Following an extremely successful run at the National Theatre, the show is set to join the ranks of other London theatre shows on the West End.
📍 Dear England will run at the Prince Edward Theatre from October 9 – January 13.
16. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
The much-praised adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel previously enjoyed a sell-out run at The National Theatre. Now it’s back in London for even more theatre-goers to be dazzled by the adventure and visual spectacle. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane finds its main character thrown back in time to his 12th birthday. As his friend tries to convince him that a farmhouse pond is in fact an ocean, they must reckon with magical forces that threaten to destroy everything around them.
📍 The Ocean At The End Of The Lane will run at the Noël Coward Theatre from October 11 – November 25.
17. Moulin Rouge! The Musical
“Where’s all my soul sistas? Lemme hear ya’ll flow, sistas...” Enter a world of splendour and romance, of eye-popping excess, of glitz, grandeur, and glory! It’s one of London’s most glamorous theatre shows, set in a world where bohemians and aristocrats rub elbows and revel in electrifying enchantment. Pop the champagne and prepare for a theatrical celebration of truth, freedom, beauty and love… Moulin Rouge! is more than a musical— it is a state of mind.
📍 Moulin Rouge! The Musical is playing at the Piccadilly Theatre until December 2 2023. Grab your tickets here.
18. Frank & Percy
Two legends of the stage and screen, Sir Ian McKellen and Roger Allam, star in this poignant comedy that traces an unexpected relationship blossoming between two men. Frank & Percy lets the audience into their world of park-bench conversations as they discuss the weather, their dogs, and more. Will they make a life-changing decision, or is it simply too late?
📍 Frank & Percy will run at The Other Palace Theatre from September 8 – December 3.
19. Back To The Future: The Musical
Head off on a journey back to 1955 with Marty McFly and Doc Brown in this award-winning adaptation of the iconic movie. You’ll be tapping your feet along to new music alongside the iconic tracks from the film itself. It’s an 88mph thrill ride – but let’s hope you don’t get stuck in the past and manage to return Back To The Future.
📍 Back To The Future: The Musical is running at the Adelphi Theatre with performances through to mid-February. Get yourself a ticket here.
20. TINA – The Tina Turner Musical
Our final addition to this London theatre shows roundup is a real humdinger. From humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into the global Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner didn’t just break the rules, she rewrote them. This fantastic stage musical, presented in association with Tina Turner herself, reveals the untold story of a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender and race. Featuring her much-loved songs, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is written by Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall and directed by the internationally acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd. You’ll get to celebrate the late and great legend herself as you get to sing along to all the hits. After all – she’s Simply the Best!
📍 TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is playing at the Aldwych Theatre, 49 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4DF. Get hold of your tickets here.
So there you have it – the best London theatre shows to see for the remainder of 2023. From musical classics to heartwarming tales – there’s something for everyone here!