List of the longest-running West End shows

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This is a list of the longest-running shows (3,000 performances or more) in the West End, a well known professional theatre district in London. Eight currently running shows (two plays, six musicals) have more than 3,000 performances: The Mousetrap, Les Misérables, The Phantom Of The Opera, The Woman in Black, Mamma Mia!, The Lion King, Wicked, as well as Matilda.

List[edit]

Unless otherwise stated, the number of performances listed is for the original West End production of the show. M denotes a musical, P denotes a straight play, R denotes a revue, D denotes a dance musical, and S denotes a special case. An asterisk indicates an announced closing date for a currently-running show. All shows that were planned to run currently but were discontinued due to the COVID-19 pandemic are bolded.

# Title Genre Opening
date
Closing
date
Performances Comment
1 The Mousetrap P 25 November 1952 28,000[note 1] Currently running at the St. Martin's Theatre
  • 6 October 1952 – Production premiere at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham
  • 25 November 1952 – Opened in the West End at the New Ambassadors Theatre
  • 13 September 1957 – Longest-running West End play
  • 12 April 1958 – Longest-running West End show overall, 2239 performances
  • 9 December 1964 – 5,000 performances
  • 23 March 1974 – Closed for 2 days to transfer to the St. Martin's Theatre, retaining initial run status
  • 17 December 1976 – 10,000 performances
  • 16 December 2000 – 20,000 performances
  • 18 November 2012 - 25,000 performances
  • 1965 & 1999 – Sets, costumes and props replaced
2 Les Misérables M 8 October 1985 13,964 Currently running at the Sondheim Theatre (formally the Queen's Theatre)
  • Opened at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Barbican Centre
  • Transferred to the Palace Theatre on the West End on 5 December 1985
  • Transferred to the Queen's Theatre in April 2004
  • The longest-running West End musical
  • The original production closed on 13 July 2019. It was replaced by a concert version at the Gielgud Theatre from 10 August 2019 until 2 December 2019 and subsequently a new staging at the refurbished Queen's Theatre (now Sondheim Theatre) from 16 January 2020
3 The Phantom of the Opera M 9 October 1986 13,629 Currently running at Her Majesty's Theatre
4 The Woman in Black P 7 June 1989 12,326 Currently running at Fortune Theatre
5 Blood Brothers (revival) M 28 July 1988 10 November 2012 10,013 Opened at the Albery Theatre (now the Noël Coward Theatre)
  • Transferred to the Phoenix Theatre on 21 November 1991
  • The longest-running West End revival
  • Originally due to close on 27 October, its run was extended by 2 weeks before closing on 10 November 2012
6 Cats M 11 May 1981 11 May 2002 8,949 Opened in London at the New London Theatre (now the Gillian Lynne Theatre)
  • The show closed on its 21st anniversary, when it was broadcast in Covent Garden for those who could not acquire a ticket
  • It held the record for longest-running West End musical for 17 years before it was overtaken by Les Misérables, the current record holder.
7 Mamma Mia! M 6 April 1999 8,498 Currently running at Novello Theatre
8 The Lion King M 19 October 1999 8,258 Currently running at Lyceum Theatre
9 Starlight Express M 27 March 1984 12 January 2002 7,406
10 No Sex Please, We're British P 3 June 1971 16 January 1987 6,761
11 Stomp D 25 September 2002 7 January 2018 6,512 Opened at the Vaudeville Theatre
12 Chicago (revival) M 18 October 1997 1 September 2012 6,187
13 Wicked M 27 September 2006 5,500[note 2] Currently running at Apollo Victoria Theatre
14 Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story M 12 October 1989 3 March 2002 5,140 Opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre
15 We Will Rock You M 25 September 2002 31 May 2014 4,659
16 Thriller - Live R 26 January 2009 15 March 2020 4,657
17 Billy Elliot the Musical M 11 May 2005 9 April 2016 4,566
18 Miss Saigon M 20 September 1989 30 October 1999 4,264
19 Oh! Calcutta! R 30 September 1970 2 February 1980[1] 3,918[2]
20 Jersey Boys M 18 March 2008 26 March 2017 3,787
21 The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) P 7 March 1996 3 April 2005 3,744
22 The 39 Steps P 14 September 2006 5 September 2015 3,731 [note 3]
23 Jesus Christ Superstar M 9 August 1972 23 August 1980 3,357
  • It held the record for longest-running West End musical before it was overtaken by Cats in 1989[note 4]
24 Me and My Girl M 12 February 1985 16 January 1993 3,303 This is a revival of the 1937 musical.
25 Matilda M 24 November 2011 3,228 Currently running at Cambridge Theatre
26 Evita M 21 June 1978 18 February 1986 3,182 [note 5]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As of 12 October 2019, per the show's official Facebook page.
  2. ^ As of 14 October 2019, per BroadwayWorld UK.
  3. ^ According to the show's official Facebook. Source
  4. ^ Sternfeld, Jessica (2006). The Megamusical. Indiana University Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-0-253-34793-0.
  5. ^ Exact number came from musicalheaven.com and This Is Theatre; 2900 given by Society of London Theatre is an estimate.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Duchess Theatre, London", Thisistheatre.com, accessed 2 May 2020
  2. ^ Tynan, Kenneth, The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan, A&C Black (2002), p. 76, footnote 1