My first time in London, my parents took me and my brother to see the Lion King. (My parents still talk about seeing Joe Morton in Covent Garden before the show. Unrelated to Lion King, but I think that might have been their favorite part of our trip to London?) If you haven’t already seen it live, go. I’ve seen the Lion King in both New York and London, as a child and a slightly older child, and it’s such an incredible production. The costumes, the songs, the dancing — it’s spectacular. (It’s very tempting to see it again before my time in London comes to an end.) Seeing a favorite film come to life before my eyes was the beginnings of a beautiful journey with stage productions.
My mother introduced my brother and I to Shakespeare at a relatively young age, getting us season tickets to D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre. We would get dressed up on a random Sunday night and make the drive into the city. Some of the plays were frustratingly difficult to follow; others just made sense.
I had my time on stage during high school, but college meant moving away from my mother’s encouragement to see live theatre and to a smaller city with fewer performances on offer. This didn’t stop me from seeing the Butler Ballet‘s incredible productions of the Nutcracker all four of my undergraduate years (yes, I came back to campus and saw it even when I had been abroad all semester). Every few months I would see a performance, just because I was on a small campus where someone was always doing something.
When I got to London for my Master’s degree, I knew that I had to take advantage of London’s amazing theatre scene. Luckily, I had friends with similar interests. No, I wouldn’t be queueing for last-minute Harry Potter tickets, but I wanted to see what London had to offer. And I haven’t been let down yet.
It started with Dreamgirls with some friends, then Wicked. I watched Translation at the National Theatre and A Monster Calls at the Old Vic for some non-musical productions. A last-minute trip to Kinky Boots to celebrate resigning from my job rounded out my theatre trips so far. The production for all of these is incredible, with amazing costumes, great music, and attention to the tiniest of details, bringing every story uniquely to life.
While I still have a list of shows I would love to see before I go, I’m thinking that wherever I end up after London, I’ll be seeing quite a few shows. (First up: Hamilton in DC with my momma. She’s very excited.)