Get tickets to popular West End shows now adapted into movie musicals
Instead of watching the film adaptations, enjoy the full theatre experience by seeing the musical come to life on stage. Watch movie musicals in the West End.
Musical theatre fans are in raptures over the sneak peeks we’re getting of the upcoming Wicked movie. Or I should say movies: the iconic musical will be split into two films (because you can’t just carry on after “Defying Gravity”), with Wicked: Part One coming out in November 2024 and Wicked: Part Two in December 2025.
The long-anticipated Hollywood adaptation stars Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba, Ariana Grande as Glinda, Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero, Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard, and Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible — plus Keala Settle as a new character, Miss Coddle. That latter, among other hints, suggests that the films will go beyond the scope of the stage show: an exciting prospect for superfans.
Wicked comes hot on the heels of a movie-musical resurgence, with numerous Broadway and West End hits transferring to become cinematic masterpieces. Here’s a round-up of some current London shows that have enjoyed the big-screen treatment. See both versions and decide which is your favourite!
The beloved Tim Minchin and David Kelly adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel opened in the West End in 2011. But, Matilda actually became a movie before that, with Danny DeVito transporting the action to America in his 1996 version. So, how would audiences react to a film adaptation of the Matilda musical?
Original director Matthew Warchus delivered a cinematic take on his hit stage show, starring Alisha Weir as Matilda, Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey, and Emma Thompson as the terrifying Trunchbull. Happily, the film is coming to UK Netflix this June — and in the meantime, you can catch the show in all its naughty glory in the West End.
Book Matilda tickets on London Theatre.
Many directors and adaptors have retold Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel for stage and screen. So, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood immortalised the world-famous musical theatre version we see in London. In 2012, Tom Hooper unveiled his movie, in which he aimed to get a grittier version of the drama, and allow his performers more creative freedom by recording them singing live on set.
Anne Hathaway won an Oscar for her Fantine, and Hugh Jackman, Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne both starred. Still, it’s a very different experience to the London stage show, playing at the Sondheim Theatre. You can hear the people sing there and decide which revolution works for you.
Book Les Misérables tickets on London Theatre.
We just can’t get enough of the ABBA musical. Later this year, ITV will unveil its new reality competition to cast the next Sophie and Sky. The stage musical has been a West End favourite since 1999 (it’ll be 25 next year!) and is currently led by the fantastic Mazz Murray and Meg Hateley (daughter of a former Donna, Linzi Hateley).
Of course, we’ve also had not one but two big-screen versions inspired by the musical: Mamma Mia! in 2008, starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried, and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, with a returning Seyfried, plus Lily James as a young Donna and — icon alert — Cher as Donna’s mother. Both stage and screen incarnations are glorious, sun-kissed, ABBA-packed escapism.
Book Mamma Mia! tickets on London Theatre.
Instead of a stage-to-screen transfer, Newsies began as a movie — and a poorly received one at that. Starring a young Christian Bale, and directed by Kenny Ortega (who would go on to helm the High School Musical franchise), the 1992 film dramatising the real-life Newsboys’ Strike was a strange misfire.
Happily, it was reborn as a triumphant Broadway musical, winning Tony Awards for Best Choreography and Best Original Score. It made a similarly thrilling UK debut at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. In fact, it’s now hard to imagine it any other way, but if you want to see newsies carrying the banner on film after your London theatre trip, you can still seize the day.
Book Newsies tickets on London Theatre.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s landmark musical premiered on Broadway in 1943 and helped to establish a new genre: the “book musical,” with the songs firmly integrated into the story. It became a lush Hollywood movie in 1955, led by Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, and that dreamy aesthetic helped to establish its place in the popular imagination.
However, director Daniel Fish now gives us an explosive new take on Oklahoma! in his Tony and Olivier Award-winning revival, which continues to the West End by storm. It’s a much darker, sexier reading of the material, plus it features exciting new musical arrangements. If you’ve seen the movie, try experiencing this very different version of the surrey with the fringe on top.
Book Oklahoma! tickets on London Theatre.
Guys and Dolls
Damon Runyon’s stories of New York gangsters, gamblers, and showgirls became a smash-hit stage musical in 1950, teeming with incredible songs by Frank Loesser like “Adelaide’s Lament,” “Luck Be a Lady,” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blane then starred in the 1955 Hollywood adaptation.
Now, London has a thrillingly immersive version at the Bridge Theatre, where you can wander among the actors and really feel like you’re walking the streets of Runyon’s New York, or heading down to Havana for a hot date. The show stars Daniel Mays, Marisha Wallace, Andrew Richardson, and Celinde Schoenmaker. In gambling terms, it’s the safest bet in town.
Book Guys & Dolls seated tickets on London Theatre.
Book Guys & Dolls standing tickets on London Theatre.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s indelible musical opened in the West End in 1986. The lush show follows the sewer-dwelling musical genius beneath the Paris Opera House who becomes obsessed with a young soprano. It’s just finished its long run on Broadway — but surely the Phantom will soon return, and that chandelier will crash down once more.
Though it’s an inherently theatrical (or operatic) work, The Phantom of the Opera has also been turned into a movie musical. Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson, and Minnie Driver starred in the 2004 film adaptation, which made some deviations from the original. Choose your ideal music of the night by sampling both.
Book The Phantom of the Opera tickets on London Theatre.
Another Rodgers and Hammerstein favourite, The King and I premiered on Broadway in 1951 and in the West End in 1953. The 1946 film, Anna and the King of Siam, previously told the story. But, given the huge success of the musical, it was a no-brainer to turn that into a movie too — as indeed happened in 1956. The film won five Oscars, including Best Actor for Yul Brynner.
If you’re a fan of The King and I, then good news: you can revisit that gorgeous movie-musical whenever you like and see the show back in the West End soon. The UK touring production is coming into London’s Dominion Theatre in spring 2024, where you can get to know Call the Midwife’s Helen George as Anna. Shall we dance?
Book The King and I tickets on London Theatre.
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