Classic shows to see in London's West End

From long-running classics like The Mousetrap and Les Misérables, to modern classics such as Wicked and The Lion King, find out which shows you can see in London with our guide.

Marianka Swain
Marianka Swain

If you’re eager to revisit a classic show this autumn, then you’re in luck. London has a wide range of fantastic productions right now, from those honouring such work in fabulously faithful revivals, through to bold reinterpretations that make you look at them in a completely new way.

Of course, the West End also has its classic long-runners, which are still wowing audiences thanks to their spectacular staging, stirring stories and unforgettable musical scores. If you haven’t seen a show like Wicked, or you haven’t gone in a while, now is a great time to catch up with it.

Here are all the wonderful classic shows in London that you can book for now.

Wicked - 1200 - LT

Wicked

Let’s start with those famous witches, in a show that is itself a clever spin on a classic: The Wizard of Oz. Wicked takes that story’s characters and changes our perspective. What if the so-called Wicked Witch was actually a misunderstood green girl called Elphaba, and what if the Good Witch was her best friend?

Stephen Schwartz’s heartfelt musical is still hugely topical in its themes, around prejudice and propaganda, and that central friendship is still one of the best in theatre. With a starry big-screen version coming soon, make sure you catch the original stage wonder.

Book Wicked tickets on London Theatre.

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Crazy For You - LT - 1200

Crazy For You

Nothing makes you happier than a talented company tap dancing their socks off, and that’s exactly what you get with Susan Stroman’s incredible revival of the Gershwin classic Crazy For You. It’s the most utterly joyful night out in London.

Stroman’s production stars the astonishing Charlie Stemp as the wannabe performer Bobby, who falls for Carly Anderson’s feisty Polly, while pretending to be the impresario Bela Zangler. A riotously entertaining romp with glorious songs and dances, who could ask for anything more?

Book Crazy For You tickets on London Theatre.

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Sunset Boulevard Rehearsals - LT - 1200x600

Sunset Boulevard

The theatre world is waiting with bated breath for this season’s most talked-about revival of a classic show. The revolutionary director Jamie Lloyd is putting his stamp on Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black, and Christopher Hampton’s Hollywood fable.

This will be Sunset Boulevard as you’ve never seen it before, particularly with the fascinating central casting of former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger as Norma Desmond (Rachel Tucker also plays the part on selected dates). She’s ready for her close-up!

Book Sunset Boulevard tickets on London Theatre.

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The Lion King - 1200 - LT - 270422

The Lion King

Julie Taymor’s Tony-winning theatre version of Disney’s big-screen animation The Lion King remains the gold standard. Through incredible stagecraft, including jaw-dropping puppetry, Taylor really immerses you in this world, making it an unforgettable first theatre trip for young audiences.

The brilliant songs by Elton John and Tim Rice are still fantastic earworms too, from “Circle of Life” to “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. Whether it’s your first time or your 100th, this classic show is still a roar-some outing.

Book The Lion King tickets on London Theatre.

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The Book of Mormon - 1200 - LT

The Book of Mormon

Nothing has really topped the sheer comic daring of this musical satire by South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and the Tony- and Oscar-winning composer Robert Lopez. It’s by far the most gloriously outrageous night out in the West End.

The story follows two mismatched Mormon missionaries who are sent on a doomed expedition to Uganda. The gleefully foul-mouthed script and hilarious songs spoof pretty much everyone, but with affection too – especially that central friendship.

Book The Book of Mormon tickets on London Theatre.

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Guys & Dolls - LT - 1200

Guys & Dolls

The 1950 Frank Loesser musical gets a new lease of life thanks to Nicholas Hytner’s incredible immersive staging at the Bridge Theatre. You can buy a standing ticket, so you’re right in the middle of the action, but wherever you watch from, you’ll feel like you’re a part of this thrill ride.

However, Hytner’s clever production also honours what is so delightful about this classic show, from its whip-smart, mile-a-minute script to the joyful energy and specific characterisation of its indelible songs – like “Adelaide’s Lament” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat”. Absolute bliss.

Book Guys & Dolls tickets on London Theatre.

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Les Mis - 1200 - LT

Les Misérables

The French Revolutionary musical is still one of the most dramatic and shattering experiences in the West End, telling a huge historical story through intimate relationships between parents and children, lovers and comrades.

It also has a towering score from Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil that has taken on a life outside of the show. But nothing beats hearing these songs in context: “I Dreamed A Dream”, “On My Own”, “One Day More”, “Bring Him Home”, “Do You Hear the People Sing?”. Vive la revolution!

Book Les Misérables tickets on London Theatre.

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The Mousetrap - 1200 - NYTG

The Mousetrap

Agatha Christie’s fiendish whodunit has been bamboozling audiences since 1952: it’s the world’s longest-running play of all time. That means you’re joining a grand theatrical tradition when you go to see this legendary classic show.

But it’s also a thrill, seeing if you can match your wits against the Queen of Crime, and solve her murder mystery. A group of strangers are trapped together during a storm – but who is the killer, and will they strike again?

Book The Mousetrap tickets on London Theatre.

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Private Lives - LT - 1200

Private Lives

Noel Coward’s delightfully witty marital comedy has long been a classic show, revived frequently thanks to its irresistible lead roles – originally played by Coward himself and his best friend Gertrude Lawrence.

Now you can see Nigel Havers and Patricia Hodge, both in their seventies, putting a rather different, but very effective, twist on that central pair of warring exes, who accidentally reunite while each is on honeymoon with their new spouse.

Book Private Lives tickets on London Theatre.

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Cabaret -3 1200 LT

Cabaret

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome! Kander and Ebb’s landmark musical, set in Weimar-era Berlin, was first seen in 1966 and became a movie sensation starring Liza Minnelli in 1972. But this classic show has been reborn once again in Rebecca Frecknall’s riveting West End revival.

Her production turns the whole Playhouse Theatre into the Kit Kat Club, making the audience decadent participants in the action. The show is constantly refreshed too by its exciting cast updates – the latest of which is the pop duo of Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears and Rebecca Lucy Taylor aka Self Esteem – so it’s always worth a return trip.

Book Cabaret tickets on London Theatre.

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