From West End favourites to brand new productions, there are a host of top musicals in London to see this month.
We’ve picked our favourites and divided them into five distinct London areas to help you make your decision.
Top musicals in London: West End
Annie (Piccadilly Theatre) – From 23 May
Everyone’s favourite musical theatre orphan (after, maybe, Oliver Twist) returns to the London stage. While Annie tries to find her family with the help of rich Daddy Warbucks, Miss Hannigan will attempt to thwart her. Comedian Miranda Hart makes her West End debut as the untrustworthy orphanage owner. BOOK NOW
Judy! (Arts Theatre) – From 16 May
Ray Rackham’s musical explores the life of Judy Garland in a way that’s not been done before. He splits it into three segments. There’s Young Judy, on the brink of life-changing success. There’s Palace Theatre Judy at the pinnacle of her career. And there’s the wiser CBS Judy trying to recreate her glory days. It is, as you’d expect, packed with Judy Garland songs, both well known and less famous. BOOK NOW
Roller Diner (Soho Theatre) – From 26 May
This new musical comedy won the Verity Bargate Award for new writing, so it promises much. It’s set in a rundown American-style diner… in Birmingham. When a new waitress with a distinctly foreign look begins work, lives are flipped like charred burgers as love and jealousy mix like ketchup and mustard on the hot dog of life.
The Phantom Of The Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre)
The classic gothic tale of spooky goings on at the Paris Opera House continues to be one of London’s most popular shows. It’s been running for more than 30 years and is still going strong. Amid the murderous happenings, there’s a touching tale of unrequited love and some of musical theatre’s most enduring songs. BOOK NOW
Carousel (London Coliseum) – Until 13 May
Following the success of Sweeney Todd and Sunset Boulevard in previous years, the London Coliseum hosts another semi-staged production of a classic musical. This time it’s the Rodgers and Hammerstein favourite about a carousel barker who gets a second change to put right the wrongs of his life. Music stars Katherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe lead the cast of the show that features the timeless song You’ll Never Walk Alone. BOOK NOW
The Braille Legacy (Charing Cross Theatre) – From 10 April
A new musical comes to the hotbed of tuneful creativity, Charing Cross Theatre. The acclaimed Thom Southerland directs the production that tells the true story of Louis Braille, a blind boy in 19th-century France who wanted the same opportunities as everyone else and ended up giving that opportunity to millions. West End star Jérôme Pradon leads the cast.
Top musicals in London: North London
Paper Hearts (Upstairs At The Gatehouse) – From 2 to 20 May
A cast of actor/musicians star in this musical set in a bookshop. Wannabe writer Atticus Smith lives through his characters until a new arrival draws him into the real world. Paper Hearts comes to Upstairs At The Gatehouse with its pop-folk songs following five-star reviews during runs at the Waterloo East Theatre and Edinburgh Fringe.
tick, tick… BOOM! (Park Theatre) – From 3 to 27 May
Before Jonathan Larson wrote the global cult hit Rent, he wrote tick, tick… BOOM!. The autobiographical tale follows a composer struggling to balance life while trying to get his big break. While his best friend is making money and his girlfriend wants to get married, he has his heart set on writing a great musical. BOOK NOW
Urinetown (Pleasance Theatre) – From 11 to 20 May
The final-year students of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts stage this hit musical about a town with tight water control. When private loos are banned and one man owns all the public toilets, he can put a high price on spending a penny. Who will stand up for the people’s right to pee?
On The Town (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) – From 19 May
Star choreographer/director Drew McOnie brings this musical classic to the beautiful surroundings of Regent’s Park. The 1944 musical features Danny Mac, Jeremy Taylor and Fred Haig as three US sailors on 24 hours’ leave in New York City. They’re looking for a good time and a chance to let their hair down. BOOK NOW
Top musicals in London: East London
The Drowsy Chaperone (Bridewell Theatre) – From 3 to 13 May
Leading amateur theatre company Sedos return this hilarious comedy to the London stage. The musical about a musical begins with a man listening to a record at home. As the songs play, the characters come to life and he finds himself in the middle of the show.
Forever Dusty (Brookside Theatre) – From 3 to 6 May
The UK premiere of a new musical featuring the life and songs of Dusty Springfield. The story of struggle, sacrifice and leading the way for those who would follow her, it features songs including Son Of A Preacher Man and You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.
Footloose (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch) – From 22 to 27 May
In the small town of Bomont something terrible has happened. Dance has been banned. In walks city boy Ren. He soon becomes intent on bringing hip-swivelling back for the teens of rural West Virginia. The hit 1980s movie comes to the stage with songs including Holding Out For A Hero and a cast led by Gareth Gates.
Oliver! (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch) – From 31 May
Charles Dickens’s tale of an orphan who falls in with a gang of pickpockets is a classic musical. With songs like Where Is Love?, Consider Yourself and I’d Do Anything, it blends crime and grime with brilliant musical numbers.
Top musicals in London: South London
Miss Nightingale (The Vaults) – Until 20 May
A cast of six actor musicians perform this 1942-set show, which comes to The Vaults after a string of successful tours. Its story is one of liberation. Two men struggle with the truth of their love and a female singer tries to make herself heard in a man’s world. Find out more in our interview with creator Matthew Bugg and hear songs from the show.
When Harry Met Barry (Above The Stag) – From 3 May
A romantic musical comedy with a difference, When Harry Met Barry finds the two title characters bumping into each other in a cab. Both are in their own relationships, but there’s nothing like a taxi ride for rekindling an old friendship.
Buddy (Churchill Theatre) – From 9 to 13 May
More than 22 million people worldwide have seen Buddy. If you’re not one of them, you have your chance at Churchill Theatre. In just two hours, it tells Buddy Holly’s brief but exceptional story. Packed with hits, from Peggy Sue to That’ll Be The Day.
Ballroom (Waterloo East Theatre) – From 12 May
The European premiere of a musical first staged in the US in the 1970s. After her husband’s death, Bea needs a new lease of life. She finds it at the Stardust Ballroom, where she meets mailman Alfred. But he’s not being as truthful as she thinks he is about his own life.
Priscilla Queen Of The Desert (Churchill Theatre) – From 16 to 20 May
West Wickham Operatic Society takes a trip into the Australian outback for this disco-filled stage adaptation of the hit film. A tale of accepting yourself and others, its score features hits including I Will Survive and It’s Raining Men.
Top musicals in London: West London
Pinot! The Musical (New Wimbledon Studio) – From 2 to 6 May
One for younger audiences, Pinot! is about a young cyclist dreaming of winning the Tour De France. His adventures are full of songs performed in French about, for example, the days of the week or numbers. Beaucoup de learning, avec much fun.
Birds Of Paradise (Drayton Arms) – From 5 to 20 May
Follow a group of amateur actors as they try to stage a musical version of Chekhov’s The Seagull. Lessons are learned, in addition to lines, as rehearsals go on and life begins to imitate art.
Pete ’N’ Keely (Tristan Bates Theatre) – From 2 to 20 May
Already an off-Broadway hit, this 1960s-set musical receives its European premiere at the West London venue. Pete and Keely used to be America’s sweethearts. But that was years ago. They’re now divorced and haven’t spoken in years. When a TV show brings them back together, it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out.
The Addams Family (New Wimbledon Theatre) – From 16 to 20 May
They’re creepy and they’re kooky. And they’re in London for a week on their UK tour. Samantha Womack, Les Dennis and Carrie Hope Fletcher lead the cast of Andrew Lippa’s musical in which Wednesday Addams has a terrible secret – she’s fallen for a respectable young man. Horrific!
Annie Get Your Gun (Union Theatre) – From 24 May
Annie Oakley rides back into town in one of the all-time great musicals. With songs such as There’s No Business Like Show Business, Irving Berlin’s classic tells the story of tomboy Oakley and her romance with sharpshooter Frank Butler.
La Strada (The Other Palace) – From 30 May
Based on Fellini’s film, this is a journey musical. Gelsomina is sold to a strongman by her penniless mother. Together they travel through Italy, performing to survive, until they find a travelling circus and meet tightrope walker Il Matto.