A Peek at London’s Vibrant West End

by   |  July 31, 2012

Piccadilly Circus Panorama

Piccadilly Circus Panorama, Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0


 
With all this media attention on London for the 2012 Olympic Games, it’s fitting to take a closer look at the music scene in London’s West End.   Located conveniently at the core of the city, the West End features some of the finest theater productions in the world.
 
You’ll find a good mix of classic and modern entertainment in the West End—from Shakespeare to nightclubs, cinemas to musical theater productions and more.   Many theaters are located in Leicester Square and the Piccadilly Circus, though many others are speckled throughout the city.   (This makes the term “West End” a little deceiving, since many productions associated with the term aren’t actually located in the geographic region of London.)
 
West End in London

You can find classic shows as well as new productions. The musical We Will Rock You, featuring music by Queen, opened in 2002.

The West End is on par with Broadway in New York in terms of the quality of musical theater shows.   Which is “better” depends greatly on the show and the cast.   (I tend to prefer the singing in New York shows and the acting in London shows, though again, this depends greatly on the show and the cast.)   For the price-conscious theater goers, there are many ways to get cheaper tickets to West End shows.
 
For instrumentalists, the West End is “the highest arena for orchestral pit playing in musical theater”.   Believe it or not, many people go to shows just to enjoy the orchestras.   In addition, the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and many others perform throughout the city.
 
For opera fans, The Royal Opera House at Covent Garden fits the bill, showcasing the classiest opera shows you’ll find anywhere.   As one of the most coveted opera companies in the world, the Royal Opera Company sets itself apart with its year-round opera season: September through July, taking just one month off in August!   The Royal Opera Company is appropriately titled because it’s partially subsidized by the British government.
 
Her Majesty’s Theater in Haymarket is one of the most famous theaters in the West End.   The Phantom of the Opera has been playing in this venue since its debut in 1986.   The modern theater is the third in its series, while the original Her Majesty’s Theater housed famous artists like Haydn before burning down in 1867.
 
London’s West End has something for everybody.   Whether you’re more inclined toward classical music or modern, you will likely find a superb performance to satisfy your personal tastes.

More on: Classical Music, Concerts, Culture, Musical Theater, Opera
About the Author:

Having achieved so many of her own dreams, Mimi West has devoted her career to paying it forward to the rising generation of musicians. You can follow her on Twitter @mydreamteacher.
Publshed: July 31, 2012  | 
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