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Which West End shows transferred to Broadway?

We take a look at some of the greatest West End productions to find a home in the West End and on Broadway.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

When a West End premiere opens to critical acclaim and five stars across the board, the odds of that show transferring to Broadway are high. While some West End shows solely stay on this side of the pond, many West End musicals and West End plays go on to entertain Broadway audiences too.

We take a look at some of the greatest West End productions to find its feet in the West End and on Broadway. Some of these shows continue to run in London and in New York today. Not every show that transferred from the West End to Broadway is listed below, so we’ve highlighted the main Broadway transfers that have changed the Great White Way forevermore.

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The Phantom of the Opera - 750 - LT - 030322

The Phantom of the Opera

After opening at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London in October 1986, The Phantom of the Opera transferred to Broadway two years later. The original Phantom lead cast starred in the Broadway production, with Michael Crawford as the Phantom and Sarah Brightman as Christine Daae.

To date, The Phantom of the Opera has entertained audiences in London and on Broadway for over 30 years each. It’s even the longest-running musical on Broadway, proving that British shows can hold their own away from home.

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Les Miserables - 750 - 180821

Les Misérables

Just because Les Misérables didn’t entertain the critics at first, doesn’t mean it can’t be successful. Les Misérables transferred to Broadway in 1987, bringing the epic story of Jean Valjean to Broadway for the first time. New York audiences were ecstatic at the news of Les Misérables on Broadway; over $4 million of tickets had been sold prior to opening. And with West End actor Colm Wilkinson reprising his original role as Jean Valjean, Les Misérables became a must-see Broadway musical of the 20th century.

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Matilda - 750 - LT - 290422

Matilda

Following performances in Stratford-upon-Avon and in the West End, the Roald Dahl story Matilda set its sights on Broadway. Matilda then opened at the Shubert Theatre on 11th April 2013, winning a Tony Award for best book. The tales of Matilda Wormwood were told on Broadway for over three years, closing in 2017. But it ushered in a new era of Roald Dahl stories on stage, followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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Mary Poppins - 750 - LT - 030322

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins soared into the skies on her umbrella for a flight from the West End to Broadway. Gavin Lee reprised the role of Bert in Mary Poppins on Broadway, with audiences loving the quintessential Disney show based in London. Mary Poppins played over 2,500 performances at the New Amsterdam Theatre, before making way for the new Disney musical, Aladdin.

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Mamma Mia - 750 - LT - 030322

Mamma Mia!

It’s not just the West End that loves ABBA. Broadway does too! The ABBA jukebox musical Mamma Mia! Made its Broadway premiere in 2001, with hits like “Dancing Queen” and “Super Trouper” having Broadway audiences grooving in the aisles for 14 years.

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Six - 750 - LT - 200522

Six

From the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to Broadway in just four years, Six’s rise through the ranks is definitely one for the history books. Six began its open-ended West End run at the Arts Theatre in 2019, receiving five Olivier nominations including best new musical. Since then, it’s moved to larger West End theatres such as the Lyric Theatre and the Vaudeville Theatre. Six was due to open in March 2020, but its opening night was cancelled due to the shutdown of Broadway theatres. Here’s hoping the reign will finally kick off in 2021.

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Girl From the North Country (Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy)

Girl from the North Country

The Bob Dylan jukebox musical Girl from the North Country received a world premiere at London’s Old Vic in 2017. Immediately after, the musical then opened at the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre for 12 weeks, and has since been revived again in 2019. The sounds of Bob Dylan then came to New York, with an off-Broadway premiere at the Public Theater in 2018. Like its London predecessor transferring to the West End, the New York production has found its way to Broadway.

Company (Photo Credit: Brinkhoff/Mogenburg)

Company

Okay, we know that the original version of Company premiered on Broadway. But the gender-swapped version, led by a female Bobbie was first staged at London’s Gielgud Theatre in 2018. This new adaptation of Company, which was approved by Stephen Sondheim himself, headed to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in March 2020, but was cancelled due to the pandemic. Thankfully, Company is returning to Broadway, with Patti LuPone reprising her Olivier Award-winning role as Joanne. We’ll drink to that!

One-Man-Two-Guvnors

One Man, Two Guvnors

James Corden made a big impression on American audiences when he reprised his West End performance of Francis Henshall at One Man, Two Guvnors. The play was nominated for seven Tony Awards, with Corden going on to win a Tony for best actor in a play. Broadway audiences loved the crude nature of One Man, Two Guvnors, flocking to a play that was depicted as typically British.

War-Horse

War Horse

The World War One trenches came to Broadway in 2011 as War Horse trotted into the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. War Horse won five Tony Awards, including best play and best direction, with audiences loving the unique puppetry throughout the production. The title-referred war horse Albert galloped on Broadway for 18 months.

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