Saturday, 21 June 2014

What to expect at West End Live

(Saturday 21st June 2014) Having returned home from almost 10 hours of standing in the basking sun at West End Live, I feel that I’ve learnt a lot more about West End musicals today than I had in the last 20 years of going to the theatre. It's often the case that there isn’t enough time nor cash to see all West End shows, but how about a large event where you can explore musicals by seeing – more or less- twenty of the best West End shows performing their most popular numbers, for free? The solution is none other than West End Live.

The man behind West End Live is Councillor Robert Davis aka ‘The Boss’ and Cabinet Member of Westminster City Council. With partnerships from the Society of London Theatre, the Mayor of London and MasterCard, West End Live has managed to become a massive success that has attracted up to 500,000 people from London and abroad. Throughout Saturday, Davis was walking around Trafalgar Square taking selfies with the audience as part of a twitter competition to win £100,000.  

Roberto, Robert Davies and Lisa Vickery
In an interview, Davis said:

I wanted to create an event that celebrated the magic of London’s West End – the fantastic retail, nightlife, restaurants, cinemas and of course the West End shows.

This year’s event will be no exception however it celebrates its 10-year anniversary making it a special occasion. There is an additional Theatre Emporium in Leicester square for those you want more insight into the inner workings of a theatre production as well.

Health Advice & Event Information:

For those who want to attend West End Live tomorrow (Sunday 22nd June) or West End Live 2015

  • This event was advertised as starting at 11am however people began queueing from as early as the 4am but don’t let this discourage you. I arrived at 9am and still managed to get to the front by 2pm as some people decided to leave after their favourite West End show had performed. With this in mind, staff members –actually- let people into the square at 10.30am, so if you want to get to the front (and take nice photos) I would highly advice you to get there early.
  • Be sure to bring enough water so that you don’t dehydrate.
  • Have some snacks in your bag as you will get hungry.
  • Check the weather: West End Live usually takes place in mid-June and is bound to be hot and sunny so dress appropriately.
  • Ensure to lotion up with sun cream which has good SPF and keep it with you for all day usage.
  • It will be sunny so don’t forget your sunglasses (and possibly a hat.)
  • Be mindful of the fact that you won't be able to return to the same spot you were in if you leave the square. Due to the crowd size and demand for West End Live, you may have to accept that you won’t be able to go to the bathroom if you want to see the entire event.
  • Be ahead of the game and check for the schedule

Today’s hosts were from Heart FM radio, which included Lisa Vickery, Jamie Theakston, Lucy Horobin, Jenni Falconer, Roberto and Katy Federman who kept us entertained with selfie photo-taking and West End Live ‘wave’ making. The schedule for Saturday was jammed packed and it was no surprise to hear that some members of the audience had queued up since 4.30am. Now, that is what you call commitment.

 The line up (for Saturday) included:
·      The Commitments
       Once the Musicals

·      Wicked

·      Billy Eliot: The Musical

·      Les Miséables

·      Phantom of the Opera

·      Miss Saigon

·      The Pajama Game

·      Matilda: The Musical

·      Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

·      Dirty Rotten Scoundrels 
·      Jersey Boys

·      Mamma Mia

·      The Bodyguard

·      Forbidden Broadway

·      Thriller Live

·      The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

·      Let It Be

·      Groove on Down the Road: Zoonation

·      Sylvia Young Theatre

·      Big Dance

·      Kasia Howley

·      The West End Gospel Choir

·      Nathan Amzi and Louise Dearman

·      In the Heights

·      Stomp

And last but not least, the Royal Opera House chorus conducted by

Plácido Domingo

As I have an interest in opera, Plácido Domingo and the Royal Opera House chorus' performance was the main driver for attending West End Live; however there were many West End shows that I had always wanted to see which performed today. 

There were so much talent on the stage with many songs to sing along to and a multitude of numbers to get the crowd dancing.  With such a variety it reminds people why we love the West End. It’s a combination of strong voices, a creative stage, moving music, dance choreographies and a well-thought-out story line, which touches us and - some how - makes us find a way to relate to the show. Enjoy your time at West End Live!

Photos of the performances Unfortunately, not all.
(Click to enlarge)
In the Heights
Plácido Domingo and Royal Opera House Chorus
Kasia Howley
Plácido Domingo and Royal Opera House Chorus
Groove on Down the Road
Louise Dearman & Nathan Amzi

Miss Saigon
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Let It Be
The Bodyguard

Roald Dahl's Matilda: The Musical
Mamma Mia!
Jersey Boys

Porgy and Bess

Forbidden Broadway
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Thriller Live