London is famous around the world for being one of the best places to see plays, musicals and West End shows. And with New Year just around the corner, we figured it was worth looking ahead to give you some insight on what you can watch in the coming year. So without further ado, here’s our rundown of 23 of the best London theatre shows to watch in 2023:
London theatre shows already playing
1. Disney’s The Lion King
A tale we all know and love and one of the best shows in London, this West End musical follows Simba and Nala’s adventures as they explore the ‘Circle of Life’ in Sub-Saharan Africa. Featuring incredible music from Elton John, stunning effects, spectacular colours, ingenious puppetry and characters we all know and love, this is guaranteed to be a pretty fantastic night at the theatre. Can you feel the love tonight? We’re pretty sure you will at Disney’s The Lion King!
Disney’s The Lion King is playing at The Lyceum Theatre indefinitely. You can grab your tickets here.
This is the most famous love story of all time with a real twist! You’ll join Juliet on a journey of self-discovery and second chances, and witness her as you have never seen here before. Throughout the course of &Juliet, you’ll be able to sing along to some of songwriter Max Martin’s most iconic pop anthems from the last three decades, with hits like Roar, Since U Been Gone, Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), Love Me Like You Do, and many more.
&Juliet is playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre until March 25 2023. You can grab your tickets here.
Another all-singing, all-dancing addition to this roundup of London theatre shows, Pretty Woman: The Musical tells the story of Edward, a rich entrepreneur, who hires Vivian, a prostitute, to accompany him to a few social events. The thing is, they then fall deeply in love… Made famous in the 1990 film by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, this musical is sure to lift your spirits. All together now – “pretty woman, walking down the street…”
Pretty Woman: The Musical is playing at the Savoy Theatre indefinitely. You can grab your tickets here.
Everyone’s favourite musical about witches, this all-singing, all-dancing show tells the incredible story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students. Their adventures in the magical Land of Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good, and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West.
Wicked plays at the Apollo Victoria Theatre indefinitely. You can grab your tickets here.
5. Jersey Boys: The Musical
Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony and Olivier Award-winning, true-life phenomenon, Jersey Boys. Legends on stage, they soon found themselves in both personal and professional binds and became victims of several mafia threats, gambling debts and family disasters… Jersey Boys: The Musical is playing at the Trafalgar Theatre which reopened its doors in the Summer of last year.
Jersey Boys: The Musical is playing at the Trafalgar Theatre indefinitely. You can get your tickets here.
6. Peaky Blinders: The Rise
If you’re looking for something immersive when it comes to your plays in London, then look no further than this one. Brought to you by the team behind ‘Doctor Who: Time Fracture’, this play will give you the chance to join forces with Thomas Shelby and the gang as they aim to take over Camden Town. Expect a bloody great night and potential cameos from Cillian Murphy et. al at Peaky Blinders: The Rise. Might prepare you for that upcoming Peaky Blinders movie, hey?
Peaky Blinders: The Rise shows at the Camden Garrison until Feb 12 2023.
A ‘revolutionary new musical that tells the story of Mandela the man and Mandela the movement’, Mandela is one of the most anticipated musicals in London this Autumn. Hitting the Young Vic in November, it’s infused with the rhythms and spirit of South Africa and will tell a story of determination, hope and ultimately of how the world rallied to free the revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela and his people.
Mandela plays at the Young Vic from November 29 to February 4 2023.
Rounding off this list of the best theatre shows in London is Disney’s NEWSIES, an award-winning Broadway musical set in New York City at the turn of the 19th century. Based on a true story, it tells the tale of a group of teenage newspaper sellers who dream of a better life. Expect great tunes, some pretty epic dancing and much more when this hit musical theatre show rolls into town in November.
Newsies plays at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre indefinitely.
Upcoming London theatre shows
9. Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons is an unconventional story, following a lawyer named Bernadette and a musician named Oliver. If falling in love at a pet cemetery wasn’t strange enough, the pair are then restricted by a Quietude Bill — a new law states every person can speak a maximum of 140 words a day. They then sign language, morse codes, charades, eye contact and play the drums to tell one another how they feel. Directed by the famous theatre director Josie Rourke, the play will star Poldark star Aidan Turner and Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman.
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons plays at the Harold Pinter Theatre from January 18 2023 to March 18 2023.
10. Dirty Dancing
After a year off, Dirty Dancing is back baby – and no-one puts her in a corner! On holiday in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents, Francis ‘Baby’ Houseman shows little interest in the resort activities, and instead discovers her own entertainment when she stumbles across an all-night dance party at the staff quarters. She catches sight of Johnny Castle, and the rest is history!
Dirty Dancing is playing at the Dominion Theatre from January 18 2023 to April 29 2023.
11. 2:22 A Ghost Story
Jenny believes her new home is haunted, but her husband Sam isn’t having any of it. They argue with their first dinner guests, old friend Lauren and new partner Ben. Can the dead really walk again? Cheryl will be starring in her West End debut, and she’ll be treading the boards in 2:22 A Ghost Story alongside Hugo Chegwin (People Just do Nothing) as ‘Ben’ and Scott Karim as ‘Sam’.
2:22 A Ghost Story is playing at the Lyric Theatre from January 21 2023 to April 23 2023.
12. The Lehman Trilogy
The legendary film and theatre director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall and 1917) is back in the West End with an adaptation of The Lehman Trilogy – the story of three Jewish immigrants who would come to define America. Michael Balogun, Hadley Fraser and Nigel Lindsay star in this fantastic story about the American dream.
The Lehman Trilogy is playing at the Gillian Lynne Theatre from January 24 2023 to May 20 2023.
Acclaimed actress Janet McTeer takes the title role in Simon Stone’s (Yerma, Young Vic) re-imagination of Seneca’s famous tragedy. It follows the story of Phaedra, who after spending years focusing on her political career, now turns attention to her personal life. The reappearance of her stepson shakes the foundations of her house and the beliefs that have underpinned her power. Assaad Bouab co-stars.
Phaedra is playing at the Lyttelton Theatre in the National Theatre from February 1 2023 to April 8 2023.
Academy Award-nominated actress Sophie Okonedo stars as the titular character in Dominic Cooke’s revival of Euripides’s Medea, which is taking over Soho’s newest theatre called *ahem* @sohoplace. Ben Daniels will co-star in this tragic tale, which follows Medea who kills her children in an act of shocking revenge.
Medea is playing @sohoplace from February 11 2023 to April 22 2o23.
15. Bat Out Of Hell
This rock ‘n’ roll romance roars into life on the London stage, returning for a six week run at the capital’s Peacock Theatre. In a post-apocalyptic world, the land of Obsidian is ruled by a tyrant named Falco. ‘The Lost’ are a rebellious gang of forever young teenagers and their Leader is Strat is constantly at odds with Obsidian’s tyrannical ruler. Things change forever when Strat falls in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of his nemesis. Featuring music by none other than Meatloaf (who else?), Bat Out Of Hell is one show you really can’t miss.
Bat Out Of Hell is playing at the Peacock Theatre from February 17 2023 to April 1 2023.
16. The Great British Bake Off Musical
If you’re looking for a slice of fun, then look no further than The Great British Bake Off Musical, which is playing at the Noël Coward Theatre for 12 weeks only. With sixteen songs written by acclaimed duo Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary and a spell in the Bake Off tent, this laugh-out-loud dose of escapism will leave you savouring every morsel.
The Great British Bake Off Musical will be playing at the Noël Coward Theatre from February 25 2023 to May 13 2023.
17. Guys and Dolls
Now running for over 70 years, Guys and Dolls is one of the world’s favourite musicals, and it’s now coming to the immerse Bridge Theatre for 2023 – following in the wake of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Julius Caesar. The seating is wrapped around the action while the immersive tickets transport you to the streets of the Big Apple and the bars of Havana in the unlikeliest of love stories. Sounds pretty good to us!
Guys and Dolls is playing at the Bridge Theatre from March 3 2023 to September 2 2023.
18. A Little Life
Legendary play director Ivo van Hove directs the English language premiere of Hanya Yanigahara’s A Little Life – which follows four college friends in New York City: aspiring actor Willem, successful architect Malcolm, struggling artist JB, and prodigious lawyer Jude. Starring James Norton (Happy Valley and Granchester), it promises to be a fantastic night.
A Little Life is playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre from March 25 2023 to June 18 2023.
19. Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical
Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical follows the true stories of 20th-century folk heroes Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Together, they were a pair of criminals who caused havoc across America during the Great Depression. Together, they evaded police capture on so many occasions that they became American heroes. But as they continued on the run, they had no choice but to put their friends and family in danger, and their end drew nearer. Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical explores why they turned to life of a crime, and how the world watched their every move.
Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical is playing at the Garrick Theatre from March 4 2023 to May 21 2o23.
20. Operation Mincemeat
A ripping yarn and hysterical musical comedy set during World War Two in 1943, Operation Mincemeat tells the unbelievable true story of the twisted secret mission that won us World War II. The question is, how did a well-dressed corpse wrong-foot Hitler? With five-star reviews across the board, this is one London theatre show you really can’t miss in 2023.
Operation Mincemeat is playing at the Fortune Theatre from March 29 2023 to July 8 2023.
21. Mrs Doubtfire
After a critically-acclaimed run in Manchester, the hilariously funny new musical Mrs Doubtfire is making its way to the West End in 2023. Out-of-work actor Daniel will do anything for his kids. After losing custody in a messy divorce, he creates the alter-ego of Scottish nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire in a desperate attempt to stay in their lives. But he’ll end up learning far more about parenting through her than he would
Mrs Doubtfire is playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre from May 12 2023 to January 13 2024.
22. Grease the Musical
We’re nearing the end of this roundup of the best London theatre shows playing right now, but we couldn’t exactly leave this one out now could we? “Grease is the word”! Too bloody right it is. Everyone’s favourite rip-roaring musical has hit the London stage and is running until October 28. With star acts including Peter Andre and Jason Donovan, Grease: The Musical is one hell of a fun show which features all the hits we all know and love. “Is it the one that you want”? Well – it damn well should be!
Grease the Musical is playing at the Dominion Theatre from June 2 2023 to October 28 2023.
23. The Pillowman
The Pillowman is a 2003 play by British-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh – the man who is also behind Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Banshees of Inisherin. It follows the story of Katurian, a fiction writer living in a police state, who is interrogated about the gruesome content of their short stories and their similarities to a number of bizarre child murders occurring in his town. Lily Allen will be starring as Katurian after a great run in 2:22 A Ghost Story.
The Pillowman will be at the Duke of York’s Theatre from June 10 2023 to September 2 2023.