Following our post on the Top 10 West End Flops, we thought we would restore the balance and find out which 10 West End musicals have been the longest running, and therefore very, very successful!
We countdown to the number one longest running show ever!
Without looking can you guess which is Number 1?
The Lion King, which opened in 1999 at the Lyceum Theatre, London, is still running today – and in the same theatre. The musical offers something completely original, withamazing set and costume design, as well as music by Elton John, we expect this production to run on and on.
Mamma Mia’s West End premiere was in 1999 at the Prince Edward Theatre. Using the m
usic of Swedish band, ABBA, the musical has gone on to inspire a very successful film adaptation starring Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep and Colin Firth. It currently plays at the Prince of Wales Theatre but will move to the Novello Theatre after the London Olympics.
8. Chicago 1997 – present (15 years)
Although the West End production did originally open in 1979, the first run only played for a few years. Its second run, opened at the Adelphi Theatre in 1997 and transferred to the Cambridge Theatre in 2006. It currently stars ‘Ugly Betty’s’ America Ferrera as Roxie Hart at the Garrick Theatre.
7. Starlight Express 1984 -2002 (18 years)
Lloyd-Webber strikes again! This musical on skates was extremely popular with audiences and Strictly Come Dancing’s own Arlene Phillips was the magician behind the wonderful choreography. The show opened and closed at the Apollo Victoria Theatre after 7406 performances.
6. Cats 1981 – 2002 (21 years)
Cats, another Andrew Lloyd Webber creation opened at the New London Theatre in 1981. The musical closed on its 21st birthday but there have been unconfirmed rumours that it may return to the stage very soon…
The play has moved about quite a bit, but has been running for 23 years! It opened at the Lyric Hammersmith in January 1989, then moved to the Strand Theatre in February, transferred to the Playhouse in April and finally to the Fortune Theatre in August! Phew! It has been so successful, and of course the film adaptation has opened it up to an even wider audience.
4. Blood Brothers 1988 – present (24 years)
24 successful years and this show is still as popular as ever and is in top 10 sellers! Based on the very awkward situation that is twin brothers falling in love with the same girl, Blood Brothers is an emotional roller coaster!
The show opened in the West End in 1985 at the Palace Theatre but moved in 2004 to the smaller Queen’s theatre where it still plays today. In January 2010, the show celebrated it’s 10,000th performance.
Nothing can match The Mousetrap! Now in it’s 60th year, it is undeniably the longest running West End show of all time! The show, a murder-mystery play written by AgathaChristie, opened at the New Ambassadors theatre (now known as the Ambassador Theatre). It stayed there until 1974 when it immediately transferred to the St. Martin’s Theatre next door, and it has been played there ever since.