List of the longest-running West End shows

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This is a list of long running shows (3,000 performances or more) in the West End, a well known professional theatre district in London.

List[edit]

Unless otherwise states, 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 currently-running shows are updated as of 8 January 2018, unless otherwise stated.

# Title Genre Opening
date
Closing
date
Performances Comment
1 The Mousetrap P 25 November 1952 27,174 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 13,341 Currently running at the Queen's Theatre
  • Opened at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Barbican Theatre.
  • Transferred to the Palace Theatre on the West End on 5 December 1985.
  • Transferred to the Queen's Theatre in April 2004, where it is still running.
3 The Phantom of the Opera M 9 October 1986 13,008 Currently running at Her Majesty's Theatre
4 The Woman in Black P 7 June 1989 11,704 Currently running at Fortune Theatre
5 Blood Brothers M 28 July 1988 10 November 2012 10,013
6 Cats M 11 May 1981 11 May 2002 8,949 Opened in London at the New London Theatre
  • The show closed on its 21st anniversary, where it was broadcast in Covent Garden for those who couldn't acquire a ticket
  • It held the record for longest running West End Musical for four years before it was overtaken by Les Misérables, the current record holder.
7 Mamma Mia! M 6 April 1999 7,871 Currently running at Novello Theatre
8 The Lion King M 19 October 1999 7,634 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
  • Moved to the Ambassadors Theatre on 27 September 2007
12 Chicago M 18 October 1997 1 September 2012 6,187 This is the longest running revival
13 Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story M 12 October 1989 3 March 2002 5,140 Opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre
14 Wicked M 27 September 2006 4,746 Currently running at Apollo Victoria Theatre
15 We Will Rock You M 25 September 2002 31 May 2014 4,659
16 Billy Elliot the Musical M 11 May 2005 9 April 2016 4,566
17 Miss Saigon M 20 September 1989 30 October 1999 4,264
18 Thriller - Live R 26 January 2009 4,000[note 1] Currently running at Lyric Theatre
19 Jersey Boys M 18 March 2008 26 March 2017 3,787
20 The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) P 7 March 1996 3 April 2005 3,744
21 The 39 Steps P 14 September 2006 5 September 2015 3,731 [note 2]
22 Jesus Christ Superstar M 9 August 1972 23 August 1980 3,357
23 Me and My Girl M 12 February 1985 16 January 1993 3,303 This is a revival of the 1937 musical.
24 Evita M 21 June 1978 18 February 1986 3,176 [note 3]

Oh! Calcutta! which opened in the West End on 30 September 1970 and closed in either January or February 1980, would have approximately 3,800 performances, but no closing date is known, so proper ranking cannot be made.[note 4]

The next longest running play is There's a Girl in My Soup (1966–1973). The next longest running musical is Oliver! (1960–1966).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As of 13 September 2018, according to this review.
  2. ^ According to the show's official Facebook. Source
  3. ^ Exact number came from musicalheaven.com and This Is Theatre; 2900 given by Society of London Theatre is an estimate.
  4. ^ The Duchess Theatre's next production was Private Lives, which was reviewed in The Times on 8 March 1980; therefore Oh! Calcutta! must have closed in the first two months of 1980.

References[edit]