london-theatre

a list of deals for cheap west end tickets
  • billy elliot - side of dress circle/front row day seats for £20.70 (credit or debit card required)! go to the box office at 10 am on the day of the performance you want, there’ll be a queue so get there early! the stage is quite high so you can’t see the dancers’ footwork in the front row seats. (a tip i found: be friendly with the person in front or behind you in the queue for day seats, ask them to save your place, and go and ask at the box office if they have any cheap return tickets, you can often get a better view for the same price or a little more)
  • the bodyguard - approx 22 of £25 FRONT ROW day seats available from 10 am the box office on the day of the show! 
  • the book of mormon - a lottery for the chance to by £20 FRONT ROW seats! lottery barrell opens 2 ½ hours before the performance you’re going for starts, winners drawn 2 hours before (so at 12:30 for matinees and 5:30 for evening shows). this is excellent, but is super popular so go for a matinee or earlier in the week if you can for a better chance - also, taking a friend doubles your chances, as you can both circle 2 on the ballot card so each of you is going for two tickets, so only one of you needs to win to see it
  • coriolanus - 20 £7.50 rear standing tickets (all performances except press night). this is a sold-out run of the show (with tom hiddleston in, so) so the waiting time for standing tickets is very competitive, with people camping out overnight for them. i’ve seen people suggest getting there about 5-6 am for a reasonable shot at getting them. if you want to see it i suggest going FAST because it closes on the 13th of february 2014 (and i am unsure if they will be selling standing tickets from the 10th onwards. if you’re unsure best to email/phone the box office and ask).
  • dirty dancing - 8 £20 day seats (maximum two per person) of what is available that day
  • henry v - approx 20 £10 day seats (maximum two per person) of what is available that day, very popular show so get there at least two hours before box office opens, more for peak times. apparently has quite a rowdy queue so be prepared for that
  • les miserables - standing tickets for £10 (or £12.50 on fridays and saturdays). this is an amazing deal i do it a lot you stand at the back and watch a for only a tenner and its beautiful, theres a slight restricted view in that u cant see the very top of the barricade (or u can see over it if ur in the upper circle) but its really not that bad and if u get there early u can stand right in the middle (and you can be the first out of the theatre if you want to stagedoor!). just go to the box office at any time on the day of the show you want to see, i believe they sell them up until the show actually starts so you dont even have to get up early! 
  • the lion king - £10 tickets for standing at the back. sold after the theatre is full (so on most days, avoid early in the week to be sure), so you don’t have to get up early
  • matilda - £5 tickets for 16-25 year-olds! this is such a good the tickets are FIVE POUNDS i mean. thats the price of a good sandwich. you show up at 10 am (once again, there’s a line, so go for matinees or earlier in the week to be certain you’ll get a ticket) at the box office with photo ID (though they didnt ask when i went), and they’ll sell you one ticket per head. the seats are in rows J and K of the upper circle, but - FIVE POUNDS. exciting stuff
  • mojo - 19 £10 FRONT ROW day seats (this is the one with rupert grint, colin morgan, and ben whishaw in. ben whishaw gets shirtless and colin morgan takes of his trousers. idk if that helps). very very popular, get there are early as is physically possible to get tickets!
  • once - FRONT ROW/front stalls day seats at £25!!!!!!  available from the box office, no time is listed on the website but the earlier the better
  • stomp - front row (which is row b, which is confusing) day seats at £20, buy at box office at 10 am
  • strangers on a train - 16 £25 FRONT ROW day seats(maximum two per person), sold from box office at 10 am. this is not a particularly popular production, so depending on the time of week, you don’t have to get there very early.
  • war horse - 16 £15 FRONT ROW seats, this is also pretty popular depending on the time of week - great view from the front row, though
  • we will rock you - £33.25, placement is what is available that day, sold from 10 am to noon
  • wicked - £29.50 FRONT ROW seats (maximum two per person) from 10 am at the box office on the day of the performance. wicked is pretty popular (ha) so there’s quite a queue, get there early!

i’ve only done some of these (planning to do more now that i have a list, though), so if you’re unsure and the deal isn’t listed on the website of the production, i would advise emailing or calling the box office to double-check. feel free to add any others you know of or message me? idk BUT YEAH I HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE. HAVE FUN

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Trailer for the current West End production of Miss Saigon.

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Venus and Adonis (Shakespeare’s Globe, 3 May 2013)

I love going to Globe productions. Their “groundling” tickets are among the cheapest in London, even though it means you will have to stand on your feet for three hours, possibly in the rain. 

Luckily, it didn’t rain during Venus and Adonis. The main draw for me was that this play was performed in six South African lanuages. I’ve loved everything South African since I spent a long holiday there almost eight years ago, and this production was definitely something special. 

The Isango Ensemble added joyously rhythmic songs to the original poem and there was so much expression in their performances that no translation was needed. A beautiful and soulful production. 

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Official trailer for the West End production of Shakespeare in Love.

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On April 30 1958, My Fair Lady, the hit Broadway musical that had taken America by storm, made its long-anticipated opening in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The build-up was intense with a torrent of media coverage and an atmosphere of breathless expectation that Kitty Carlisle-Hart, wife of director Moss Hart, described as “a fever of excitement” (cited in McHugh, 177). “The press was talking about the musical as the biggest, best, and most extraordinary ever to hit London,” recalls Julie (2008), “and we worried that we might be riding for a fall” (237).

Augmenting the frenzy was the fact that all four of the original British principals from Broadway–Julie, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, and Robert Coote–were ‘coming home’ to helm the London production. As Dominic McHugh (2012) notes: “it was almost unheard of for a major Broadway show to be brought to England with production and cast practically intact. Evidently, Harrison, Andrews, Holloway and Coote wanted to return home victorious after conquering Broadway” (177).

Tickets for the London production of My Fair Lady went on sale at the start of October the preceding year, with $15,000 worth sold in the first day alone (McHugh, 177). 10,000 first night orders had to be refused and, by the time of the opening, advance box office had surpassed a record $1million with some premium seats reserved two years ahead (“Britain is smitten”, 21-22). “Opening to the biggest advance in [the] history of British theatre and with unprecedented ballyhoo,” reported Variety, “the launching of My Fair Lady at Drury Lane was greeted with unrestrained enthusiasm and universal acclaim for its stars” (”3 Year London Run”, 12).

At each performance, a small number of gallery seats and standing room tickets were reserved for sale on a first-come first-served basis. So keen was demand for these tickets that eager fans would camp out overnight in line to snare one.

In her autobiography, Julie recalls a charming anecdote involving these pavement campers:

The night before we opened, Tony and I exited the stage door at the end of the evening well after midnight and were surprised to see a long line of people going all the way around the theater, with bedding and chairs on the pavement.
I asked, "What’s happening here?”
“We ’re queuing for the opening night gallery seats … ,” “They go on sale in the morning!”, “We have to queue now if we want a good seat,” they replied.
Tony and I stood and chatted with them for a while, and as we departed, I called out that I hoped they would enjoy the show.
The following evening, April 30, my dressing room was so full of flowers,
I could barely move…but the most endearing gift of all was a simple wooden Covent Garden flat tray, filled to the brim with bunches of dewy, fresh, sweet-smelling English violets—Eliza’s flowers. My lucky flowers.
When I opened the card it simply said, “With love from the opening night gallery queue.” They had apparently made a collection among themselves and purchased the violets from a Covent Garden vendor. That gesture meant more to me than I can possibly say (238).

Fifty seven years later, almost to the day, we recall that kindly gesture and Julie’s triumphant hometown return in My Fair Lady.
Lucky flowers, indeed! 

Sources:

“3 Year London Run for ‘Lady’.” Daily Variety. 1 May, 1958: 12.

Andrews, Julie. Home: A Memoir of My Early Years. New York: Hyperion, 2008.

“Britain is Smitten by ‘Fair Lady’.” Life. 44 (9), 12 May, 1958: 20-25.

McHugh, Dominic. Loverly: The Life and Times of My Fair Lady. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.