The West End has long been home to wonderful dancing and intricate choreography. In the last twenty years, the choreography has continued to dazzle, even managing to impress critics and audiences used to the technical wizardry of the West End. Here are a few shows with noteworthy choreography.
Spend Spend Spend
This musical, which first premiered in 1998, follows the story of a Yorkshire housewife who wins a fortune in football pools. The choreography, done by Craig Revel Horwood, was stylish and effervescent: the perfect accompaniment to this charming rags to riches tale. For his work on the show, Horwood was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Choreography.
Matilda is the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel, and it’s as delightful as the book that inspired it. It was choreographed by Peter Darling, who won an Olivier Award for his work on the show. The show’s dancing makes excellent use of the children in the cast, and the fantastical footwork certainly suits the whimsical nature of the story. This memorable choreography is a vivid way to demonstrate the caricature-like quality of the show’s characters.
The Book of Mormon
Choreography Casey Nicholaw brought a zany sense of movement to this beloved comic musical. The Book of Mormon, which follows a young Mormon missionary as he attempts to bring the word of God to an African village, is a delight from start to finish. Nicholaw worked hard to find a movement vocabulary that would suit the show and its characters, and devised a “cheesy” dance style that gets laughs at every performance.
In the Heights
In the Heights was the first musical written by Broadway favorite Lin Manuel Miranda, and it lost none of its luster when it arrived on the West End in 2015. It was choreographed by Drew McOnie, and he won a Laurence Olivier award for his efforts. The show, which is about a Dominican-American neighborhood in New York, features rousing musical numbers that draw on a range of musical traditions, from rap to Dominican songs. McOnie choreographed dances to match these varied songs, using Latin dance styles to great effect.
These musicals all offer audiences great songs, charming stories, and dazzling dance sequences. Next time you’re taking a trip to the West End, consider musicals with choreography to match its music. It’s a great way to make the most of your musical experience.