What’s Doing in London’s West End
London’s West End, which, despite its name, is in Central London, is home to numerous tourist attractions, shops, businesses, and of course theaters. Indeed, the term “West End” is as synonymous to theater as is “Broadway,” and the two theater districts are considered to be home to the most important English-language theaters in the world.
While theater in London dates back to the late 1500s, the first West End playhouse, Theatre Royal in Bridges Street, opened in 1663. It was destroyed by a fire nine years later and was rebuilt as the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, which still exists (albeit in a more modern structure built in 1812) today.
It was in the 19th century that the West End theater district started to evolve, as many new theaters opened their doors including the Old Vic (1818), the Criterion (1874), and the Savoy, which, when it opened in 1881, was the first theater and the first public building in the world to be lighted entirely by electricity.
In recent years we’ve seen numerous shows in the West End, such as My Fair Lady, Avenue Q, Mamma Mia, and Copenhagen. Today, Miss Saigon, Cats, and the Lion King, not to mention Book of Mormon, are some of the most popular shows in the city’s theaters.
Here’s a look at a few outstanding productions we’ve recently seen.