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11 Broadway hits to see in the West End

Published 14 October 2015

You might have noticed that for a site with ‘London’ in its name, we’ve gone a bit New York, New York crazy recently and with good reason. Until 26 November we’re celebrating the incredible relationship between the West End and the Great White Way – are there any other two cities in the world so linked by their extraordinary artistic offerings? – and are offering one reader the chance to win an incredible trip to Broadway.

All you have to do is book tickets through us and you’ll be entered, so what could be a better good luck charm than to book for one of the shows that started life across the pond? Here’s our top 11 Broadway exports wowing the West End now for inspiration…

American Idiot

You’ve only got until 22 November to catch the limited run of the Green Day inspired rock and roll musical. Think darkness, drugs and (Broken) Dreams as this tale of three boyhood friends, lost and displaced in a post 9/11 world in this untraditional show. If you’re a fan of the legendary group, like the quote above Mamma Mia!’s theatre doors says, you already know you’re going to love it.

Book tickets to American Idiot here

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

From punk rock to folk pop, from the moment reviews came in for this delicate and moving musical’s Broadway debut, we were desperate for news of a West End transfer. The news came and along with it Olivier Award wins for its new English cast to match its Tony Award-winning success. Eight months on and it’s still wooing the West End with its tale of American sweetheart King’s journey from small town schoolgirl to Carnegie Hall superstar, and will continue to do so for at least another year.

Book tickets to Beautiful – The Carole King Musical here

The Book Of Mormon

Unless you were actually living in New York in 2013, you couldn’t have missed the hype around this colossally successful New York hit’s West End premiere: even the Mormon church got involved with buses around the city urging people to discover the real story of the title’s book and not just take South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s word for it. And yes, their show is every bit as offensive and twisted as you could possibly desire – Spooky Mormon Hell Dream and I Am Africa, Baptize Me are just two of the songs included – but it’s also surprisingly traditional and packed with insider jokes for classical musical theatre fanatics.

Book tickets to The Book Of Mormon here

Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined

Bacharach might not be for you but that doesn’t mean this show isn’t. Far from a crooner-fest, Broadway performer Kyle Riabko has taken the legendary musician’s songbook and put a completely fresh, modern spin on it. Why do birds suddenly appear every time Riabko is near? Oh no, they don’t sorry, they’ve been scared away by his electric guitar again. Innovation, songs you know every word to and Broadway magic, what more could you want?

Book tickets to Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined here

Disney’s The Lion King

This might be one of London’s best loved shows (it’s been a resident of the Lyceum Theatre for an amazing 16 years) but Disney’s most successful stage show started life in director Julie Taymor’s home country, the US. There it made the famous theatre maker the first ever female recipient of a Tony Award for Best Director. In the UK, the Olivier Awards saw fit to crown her that year’s Best Costume Designer for her work creating the show’s now iconic puppets that bring the animals of Pride Rock to life in London.

Book tickets to Disney’s The Lion King here

Elf

Candy cane! Spaghetti and maple sauce! Talking narwhals! Okay, we’re not 100% the latter made it into the stage adaptation, but there will be festive cheer aplenty from next week when the West End finally gets to witness the 21st century’s best Christmas film on stage in all its snow-covered, stripey sock wearing glory. Ben Forster and Kimberley Walsh star in the roles Sebastian Arcelus and Amy Spanger originated back in 2010 when the New York-set comedy musical premiered in its home city.

Book tickets to Elf here

In The Heights

From a cold Christmassy day in Elf’s Mid-Town to the hot, smouldering streets of In The Height’s Washington Heights, both may be Manhattan-set musicals but that’s where the similarities end. This energetic Tony Award-winning show has brought its tale of young love and social change all the way from Off Broadway to the King’s Cross Theatre. The score by Lin-Manuel Miranda has been buzzing through everyone in Theatreland’s minds since it premiered at the Southwark Playhouse in 2014 and now London cannot get enough.

Book tickets to In The Heights here

Jersey Boys

Who loves you baby? London and New York, that’s who! There’s a reason Jersey Boys is still playing on both sides of the Atlantic, and it’s not because a red jacket never dates (it really does, please think twice before committing to that purchase). It’s because fans of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons get to witness the band’s incredible story portrayed on stage by world class performers and because, even for those without any former love for the “four blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks”, the story is electrifying.

Book tickets to Jersey Boys here

Kinky Boots

This is the most recent Broadway export and one we would happily keep in the West End for years to come. After winning a staggering six Tony Awards, it arrived in London last month in a flurry of red glitter, high heeled platforms to die for and a troupe of drag queen Angels so fabulous we couldn’t stop talking about them. Did we mention Cyndi Lauper wrote the songs? Trust us, it’s not only girls who will have fun watching this colourful, hilarious and touching musical.

Book tickets to Kinky Boots here

Memphis

Before Killian Donnelly was strutting his stuff in Kinky Boots, he originated the role of real-life disc jockey Dewey Phillips in another Tony Award-winning musical, Memphis. You’ve now got until 31 October to catch the New York hit tale of Phillips’ determination to bring black singer Felicia’s music to the masses in a 1950s America divided by racial prejudice. X Factor star Matt Cardle leads.

Book tickets to Memphis here

Wicked

We might just have saved the most iconic Broadway export for last. We can’t imagine a day that Wicked won’t rule the West End and Great White Way, so loved is it by fans across the world. Whether it’s the soaring score, original star Idina Menzel’s cult following, its hugely relatable story of finding a way to fit in the world or just its overwhelmingly brilliant production values that makes it so adored, we don’t know, but we’d happily take a guess it’s a bit of all four.

Book tickets to Wicked now

PLUS: Book ahead now for Broadway’s hit magic show The Illusionists, which arrives in the West End next month, Tony Award-winning musical Motown (hits the West End in February) and watch this space for full details of February’s promised run for quirky puppet drama Hand To God.

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