See all the West End musicals for millennials taking over London
This summer, The Other Palace’s studio space is home to brand-new musical Millennials - which, as the title suggests, is all about that much-discussed generation. The stage is shaped like an avocado (naturally) and the production is chock-full of millennials’ biggest concerns.
But you don’t need to actually have Millennials in your show title, or an avocado in your staging, to be a fantastic musical for Millennials. Also known as Gen Y, Millennials are defined as those born between the early 1980s and mid 1990s - sandwiched between Gen X and the current culture drivers, Gen Z.
If you’re a Millennial, you were born without the internet or social media but that technology gradually became a huge part of your life. Other tech changes were afoot too, as we went from CDs and VHS tapes to Discmans, DVDs, Blu-ray and finally through to the all-conquering Apple products like iPods.
Millennials also got hit with the economic crash as they entered the job market, and are likely worse off than their Boomer parents or grandparents. No wonder they have so much angst.
Thankfully, London theatre is full of shows to reflect that emotional turmoil and help you work through it, or to give you a much-needed respite from your generational woes. Here are some of the best musicals for Millennials that you can book for now.
Now bear with me. Yes, the original movie Heathers was pure 80s, so didn’t quite hit our millennials when they were adolescents. But it became a cult classic watch on video, meaning many Gen Y teens got their fill of rebel Winona Ryder and moody bad boy Christian Slater, plus the terrifying Heathers cabal. They also got their own version of this clique-busting high school movie format with Mean Girls.
The Heathers musical is the movie reborn for a new generation. It retains the film’s pitch-black comedy, but also deals seriously with pervasive problems like bullying, sexual assault and suicide - a clever tonal balancing act that is very Millennial. Opening up about such issues is definitely a newer phenomenon, and many of the show’s tougher moments should chime with a Gen Y audience.
But they can also have fun with the kitsch nostalgia of it all - dressing up as the Heathers clique, or adopting the show’s catchphrases. Angsty drama and fashionable cosplaying? That’s the Millennial musical sweet spot.
Book Heathers tickets on London Theatre.
No list of millennial musicals would be complete without Wicked. The epic show, which was first seen in the West End in 2006, was the entry point to musical theatre for many Gen Y fans, who felt like their teenage or early-twentysomething gloom was writ large in this emotional production.
So-called “wicked witch” Elphaba is the ultimate outsider, judged for her appearance and misunderstood by a callous society, but still determined to fight her corner. Power ballad “Defying Gravity” could be the millennial anthem. The show’s astute portrayal of women - from the complexity of competitive female friendships to the weaponising of femininity and the world’s nervousness about girls finding their strength - also rings true to this wave of feminists.
So, whether you want to wallow in the injustice, weep at the doomed love story, or share this paean to friendship with one of your lifelong besties, Wicked is the ultimate millennial musical: deeply felt, powerfully expressed, and with a good dash of defiance too. Don’t mock our avocado-eating - we will come for you.
Book Wicked tickets on London Theatre.
Photo credit: Millennials (Photo courtesy of production)
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