The Gold Medalist
The BBC has reported that West End theatres have seen a slight uplift despite the Olympics. “Overall sales increased by 0.27% to £529.7m, with audiences up 0.56% to 13.99 million on 2011’s totals. These were due in part to the start of the Michael Grandage season at the Noel Coward theatre and the continued popularity of such West End transfers as One Man, Two Guvnors and Matilda the Musical.” But what was there to see during the summer? What’s new that would drive people into London? The answer is not a lot.
Shows that were running during Beijing 2008 include:
Jersey Boys at Prince Edward (2008)
Stomp at Ambassador’s Theatre (2007)
Wicked at Apollo Victoria Theatre (2006)
The 39 Steps at Criterion Theatre (2006)
Billy Elliot at Victoria Palace Theatre (2005)
Shows that were running during Athens 2004 include:
Les Misérables at Queen’s Theatre (2004)
We Will Rock You at Dominion Theatre (2002)
Shows that were running during Sydney 2000 include:
The Lion King at Lyceum Theatre (1999)
Taking home the bronze is The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre (1989). With the silver, it’s Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre (1986) and winning the gold its Mousetrap at St. Martin’s Theatre (1974), seeing the Summer Olympics in Montreal Canada and nine games after that.
The BBC notes that “Plays had a strong year, with audiences up 9% on 2011, though musicals saw attendances drop by 3% over the corresponding period.” This pleases the drama student in me that snubs and dislikes jukebox musicals. Plays tend to have shorter runs, despite gold and bronze medals going to plays. And these are just the plays and musicals that have been around for more than four years. War Horse and Thriller are close to entering my ‘You’re Still Here’ Olympics. Looking at this list, I realise I’ve only seen four of the shows (Lion King, Wicked, We Will Rock You and Woman in Black). It might be worth spending 2013 seeing the rest in case they’re not here come Rio de Janeiro 2016!