I always meant to write a post about the shows I saw on the West End in London during my placement year as I think I racked up a total of 10 different shows in the space of 12 months.
I love the theater and thankfully I was able to see seven shows on Broadway during my year living in New York (pre-pandemic, of course). To be honest, there isn’t a huge difference between the quality of a show on the West End compared to those on Broadway.
Don’t get me wrong, the shows are amazing, but the West End is definitely just as good. The shows are expensive of course, that’s expected in New York but just like in London, I’ve learnt a few tips and tricks of how to get cheaper tickets and have been able to see a lot of Broadway shows without breaking the bank.
Here is a round-up of the seven shows I’ve seen on Broadway. West-End list pending.
1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
This was the first show I seen on Broadway and by God, was I blown away. I had always wanted to see this on the West End being the biggest Harry Potter nerd ever, but tickets were always either too hard to come by or too expensive.
Plus, the show is split into two parts so seeing both parts on one day or over two days is quite the commitment. However, I somehow managed to score tickets to the show at the beginning of December for $50 a part, which for Broadway prices is very, very good. Plus, the seats we had were about seven rows from the front in the orchestra section so our view was amazing.
The seats you purchase for the first part are the same for the second which is a pretty good deal. On the mouth of Christmas in New York, I don’t know how I managed to grab the tickets for so cheap a week before the show through the Harry Potter website.
Anyhow, I can’t recommend this show enough. There were certain times that I even started to question whether magic really was real. The staging and special effects are phenomenal and I’m still questioning how they managed to do half the things they did during the performance.
2. Come From Away
This was quite a poignant one as I actually had no clue what the play was about before stepping into the theater. But, being in New York and watching a musical about the events surrounding 9/11 was quite something.
I had no expectations going into the musical, but would definitely recommend it. You might think it would be a horribly sad and tragic play, but it really wasn’t.
Come From Away is based on true events that happened in a small town in Canada on the day of 9/11. Many flights were diverted to the small town of Gander that had a population of around 6,000 people at the time. But on that day around 11,000 people were flying into that small town that wasn’t going to be able to house them, feed them or accommodate them.
The story is truly uplifting about what people can do for each other in tragic events when we must come together. Of course, it touches on the tragedy in New York but you come out of the play feeling very positive and humbled.
3. Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge was definitely up there with the best shows I’ve ever seen on stage. The staging was probably my favourite part and like nothing I’d ever seen before. We were lucky that we were one of the first people in the theater so were able to get great photos with no one around.
I won the tickets for Moulin Rouge in the lottery, meaning I had amazing seats in the stalls for a very small price.
It’s a very cabaret-style show with the actors coming on to the wings and walking through the audience throughout, immersing you in the production. To top it off, Aaron Tveit was playing Christian who also plays Enjorlas in the movie production of Les Miserables (my favourite musical of all time).
4. The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is one of my favourite shows. I saw this in London a few months before moving to New York and had heard such great things. I loved the show and although I was just expecting it to be very funny, the music was also amazing.
I wanted to see it again on Broadway as I knew the person that I was planning to go with would really enjoy it. It’s definitely a show that would suit someone not really into musicals as it’s got a dark sense of humor to it and not all jazz hands and cheesy numbers.
I would definitely recommend The Book of Mormon for any theater-goer as it’s light-hearted, very funny, quite tongue-in-cheek, but a great show.
This was my third time seeing Wicked on the big stage. The first was in Dublin at the Bord Gais Energy Theater when I went with my school back in 2013. I was blown away then and I was as equally blown away the second and most recent third time that I saw it.
I didn’t see much difference between the London West-End production and New York’s Broadway performance. I think the theater is a lot nicer in London but the acting and singing is just as good in New York as it is in London.
The Broadway show that I went to last week was great and Elphaba was phenomenal. I couldn’t believe that Hannah Corneau who played Elphaba was making her Broadway debut in this role. Her voice is outstanding and at times I felt that she was holding back a little. I would love to hear the full range and capabilities of her voice.
We had a celebrity attend the performance as well but neither of the two of us that attended knew who he was. All the kids and teens in the audience were screaming and running up for photos – I think this is the first time I’ve ever felt old. But it turns out it was a huge Instagram famous makeup artist, Patrick Starr. For someone that worked with beauty influencers, it’s probably about time I learnt about the stars of the makeup world because they’re huge at the moment.
Another first for me, I had never seen Aladdin on the big stage before. Many moons ago when I was involved in amateur drama productions, I played Jafar (yes, I have that super-villain look, obviously).
Watching the play, I actually didn’t have the best memory of the story itself, so it was almost like seeing it again for the first time.
I wasn’t too fond of the show for a Broadway won but I had won the tickets in the online lottery – a great way to pay so much less for tickets. Our seats were amazing too – on the first balcony and second row – which we only paid $30 for.
Aladdin is very much geared towards kids as there were lots of kids in the audience. It’s a great family show and the Genie was brilliant. The Whole New World scene was very impressive and there were a lot of phones being pulled out for pictures with the ushers running around trying to tell everyone off at once which was a little distracting. However, I would go back again just to see this one scene as it was magical.
7. Mean Girls
I won’t lie, but Mean Girls wasn’t one of my favourite musicals that I’ve seen. Again, I won tickets in the online lottery and grabbed incredible seats right in the middle of the fifth/sixth row.
I would say it may be because the movie had never been intended for a musical version, but then again neither had Matilda and that was probably one of the best musicals I went to see in London.
Mean Girls was almost identical to the movie version, as expected, but I didn’t love the portrayal of Regina and didn’t love the music either. A nice show to go and see if you’re in New York, but it wouldn’t be top of my list.