With the recent premiere of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s lauded musical, Dear Evan Hansen, we at Musicroom have put our heads together to bring you our favourite picks of the Musicals currently on in the West End. And so, in no particular order…
1. School of Rock
Based on the successful 2003 film of the same name, School of Rock received its stage premiere in 2015 with its original music intact and extra songs from the celebrated musical mind of Andrew Lloyd Webber, of Phantom of the Opera and Cats fame, with much else besides.
The story follows Dewey Finn, a struggling wannabe rock star who is ejected from his band and takes up his friend Ned’s posting as a substitute teacher at Horace Green Preparatory School. Having realised the children are musically talented, he teaches them about rock and enlists them to be part of his group at a battle of the bands.
The musical came to the West End in late 2016 and experienced great success, and for good reason: with David Fynn at the helm as Dewey, and a cast of talented kids performing and playing their own instruments, School of Rock is not a show to be missed!
Voice & Piano – Easy Piano Selections
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2. Les Misérables
Perhaps one of the most beloved musicals in the world, Les Misérables derives its brilliant story from Victor Hugo’s 1862 tome of the same name, all brought resoundingly to life by the timeless compositions of Claude-Michel Schönberg.
Hugo’s expansive tale concerns the plight of Jean Valjean who, having been released from prison after 19 years, takes in an orphaned girl and attempts to escape his criminal past, all on the cusp of a bubbling uprising against the monarchy among the people.
The musical, which has been running in the West End since 1985, is due to return to the Sondheim Theatre on the 18th of December after a four-month stint at Gielgud Theatre. It cannot be stressed enough: Les Misérables is essential musical-viewing, with its music and fantastic sets combined it is one of the greatest epics to hit the stage.
PVG – Piano Solo
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3. Matilda the Musical
Tim Minchin’s musical take on Matilda, originally written by beloved children’s author Roald Dahl, has been making waves since its Stratford-upon-Avon premiere under the RSC. Minchin’s score brings new life to the story, and elements of comedy and fun appealing to the whole family!
The story of Matilda revolves around a young girl-genius and her life growing up. From living with her nasty adoptive family, the Wormwoods, to attending a school run by the evil Agatha Trunchbull, Matilda finds solace in her class, specifically her teacher Ms Honey.
Matilda first came officially to the West End in 2011 and has been running strong ever since thanks to the strength and whimsy of its story alongside a brilliant cast. Besides providing a nostalgia trip for fans of the 1988 novel and 1996 film, Tim Minchin’s Matilda: The Musical is guaranteed to make any and all smile and cheer.
Vocal Selections – Easy Piano
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Based on the 1995 revisionist fiction novel, by Gregory Maguire, the musical was premiered in 2003 and over time blasted into the musical stratosphere, becoming one of the best-earning and beloved shows on Broadway. Be it the songs, the story or the set, Wicked is a magnificent musical with magic in every detail.
The tale covers the events leading up to The Wizard of Oz (link), specifically the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, and her friendship with Glinda the Good Witch. As part of the show’s perspective on good and bad, it might mean that there is much more to the Wicked Witch than one might think.
Wicked opened in the West End in 2006 and has since been stunning audiences with every performance. For those who enjoyed Dorothy’s foray in Oz, anyone that enjoys fantasy in the least, and generally everyone, this is a show that cannot be missed.
Vocal Selections – Piano Solo
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5. Dear Evan Hansen
Well, of course this was going to be here. Having won six Tony’s in 2017, including for Best Musical and Best Original Score, Dear Evan Hansen has proven itself to be a brilliant production of truly modern Broadway, with both music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, of La La Land fame.
The story concerns Evan Hansen, a high school student with social anxiety looking for something to connect him with his peers. Naturally, he takes it too far and fabricates a relationship with another student, recently deceased, to get closer to the boy’s family, though unaware of the consequences of such a lie.
Dear Evan Hansen started running at the Noël Coward Theatre in November. With a timeless story and brilliant cast, there’s a little of all of us to be found behind the day-to-day worries of Hansen, minus the lies, perhaps.
Browse Dear Evan Hansen sheet music >
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First 50 West End Songs You Should Play On The Piano: Easy Piano
50 great West End hits for beginning pianists to learn, arranged for easy piano with chord symbols and full lyrics. Includes songs from: Blood Brothers, The Phantom of the Opera, Matilda the Musical, and many more top West End Shows!
Contains: Bring Him Home (Les Misérables), Can You Feel The Love Tonight (The Lion King), Consider Yourself (Oliver!), Defying Gravity (Wicked), Mamma Mia (Mamma Mia!), Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (Evita), and much more!