West End Live 2017

Now in it’s 13th year, West End Live is a free two-day event in Trafalgar Square celebrating London’s musicals. Here is a brief roundup of Saturday’s offerings.

 

The Basic Info

West End Live took place on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June this year. The dates are always around the same weekend so be sure to check ready for next year’s event. The day starts at 11am, gates opened at 10.30am but it’s best to be prepared to join the queue early, especially if you want a prime location. This year I joined the line at 8.30am but the time soon passed and before you know it, you are in.

The event takes place in Trafalgar Square with entrances along the north terrace in front of the National Gallery. Previously, West End Live took place in Leicester Square but it soon became so popular it had to move.

 

Highlights of 2017

West End Live provides the chance to revisit some old favourites. This year, audiences were treated to Killian Donnelly singing Bring Him Home, having just opened as Jean Val Jean in Les Miserables. Continuing his run in Phantom of the Opera, Ben Forster sang the titular number along side Celinde Schoenmaker followed by Music of the Night.

These two shows have clocked up almost 62 years between them. More recent classics include Matilda, Mammia Mia and Wicked. Willemijn Verkaik delivered an outstanding rendition of Defying Gravity eliciting cheers from the thousands gathered in the Square.

West End Live is also a chance to see new arrivals in the West End and also some of the smaller productions. Among the new arrivals in town were Wind in the Willows which has just opened at the Palladium, Annie that recently opened at the Piccadilly Theatre and Hair which is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary with a transfer to the Vaults in the autumn.

 

What else is in the Square

As well as the performances on the main stage, around the edge of the Square there are lots of tents with different competitions, activities and freebies in. Disney Theatricals had their own tent for the first time with costumes from The Lion King and Aladdin. Glitter face paint was available from the Oxford Street tent while Everything’s Rosie were giving away free candy floss.

TKTS also had a pop up shop where you could purchase tickets for a show, either matinee or evening so if you loved what you saw on stage, you would get your hands on a ticket straight away and see the full production.

 

What to look forward to in 2018

Each year West End Live finds new ways to grow. For next year’s event, there was a hint that a much-anticipated musical might be making an appearance. Hamilton arrives in London in November so who knows, could it be making an appearance at next year’s West End Live?

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