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West End Christmas musicals that celebrate the season

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The Christmas season is nearly here, bringing a time when we all want our days to be “merry and bright”. It’s a time of music, singing, colourful lights and even more colourful clothing – things that can also be found in abundance in the numerous Christmas shows in London. Perhaps this is why the time of Christmas is so synonymous with musicals. Nothing can impart the cheer of the festive season better than a trip to the theatre, which is why we have put together this list of West End Christmas musicals that truly celebrate the season.

Elf! the Musical

Elf! the Musical production banner

Is it on in London in 2022? Yes!
Where: The Dominion Theatre
Recommended for: Families with children aged 5+

The film is now a Christmas staple for families all over the world, beloved for Will Ferrell’s winning mix of innocence and comedy as overgrown “elf”, Buddy. The musical version has enough charm, laughs and feel-good vibes to make any humbug believe that “There is a Santa Claus.” This is a fabulously hilarious night out in the West End.

Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol

Production artwork for Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol

Is it on in London in 2022? Yes, for its UK premiere!
Where: The Queen Elizabeth Hall
Recommended for: Families with pre-teens, recommended for ages 8+

The rhinestoned Queen of Country, Dolly Parton, presents this wholesome bluegrass take on A Christmas Carol. This new musical takes the well-trodden Dickens tale out of the gas-lit streets of Victorian London and drops it in a mining town on the verge of a snowstorm in 1930s Tennessee. This is a feel-good musical for those who like a little bourbon in their eggnog.

White Christmas

Production artwork for White Christmas at the Liverpool Empire with Jay McGuinness and Lorna Luft

Is it on in London in 2022? Unfortunately not, but you can catch the UK tour in Liverpool
Where: The Liverpool Empire
Recommended for: Families with children aged 5+

This timeless classic featuring the songs of Irving Berlin is a moving tale of love and friendship, served with an enormous helping of Broadway razzamatazz. This is a musical in the truest sense, with spectacular chorus choreography and dazzling costumes that bring to mind Golden Age film and stage sing-a-longs. Pure entertainment and unbridled festive joy. Experience the magic in Liverpool this Christmas.

The Snowman

Production artwork for The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre, London

Is it on in London in 2022? Yes, it’s an essential part of London Christmas
Where: Sadler’s Wells
Recommended for: All ages. Children aged 2+ must have their own ticket

This one isn’t a ‘musical’ in the strictest sense…but the only words heard throughout the entire show are the haunting and uplifting lyrics of “I’m Walking in the Air.” This spellbinding theatrical experience is the perfect introduction to theatre for any child during their earliest festive seasons. Its enduring popularity has kept it returning to London every Christmas since 1997.

Nativity! The Musical

Production artwork for Nativity! the Musical

Is it on in London in 2022? No, but it is playing in its original home of Birmingham
Where: The Birmingham Rep.
Recommended for: Families with children aged 6+

This quintessentially British family musical has become a recent favourite for its side-splitting jokes, uplifting story and the host of guest stars that have joined the cast: Danny & Dani Dyer, Rylan Clarke-Neal and Sharon Osborne are just some of the names to grace the ensemble. It enjoyed successful runs at the Eventim Apollo after annual UK tours from 2017-2019. While the film series remains a Christmas TV staple, we hope this musical will be back on the London stage some Christmas soon.

A Christmas Carol

Is it on in London in 2022? No
Where: Last played at the Dominion Theatre in 2020
Recommended for: Families with children aged 5+

While the Old Vic production of A Christmas Carol has become an annual London tradition, this musical version of the Dickens classic almost achieved the same status, with a concert production performing multiple runs at the Lyceum Theatre from 2016-2018 and at the Dominion Theatre in 2020. The Dominion production, starring Brian Conley, Matt Willis and Lucie Jones, was forced to close early due to the Christmas 2020 lockdown. We think it deserves a London comeback!

Annie

Production artwork for Annie UK tour with Craig Revel Horwood

Is it on in London in 2022? No, but it is on a UK tour next year
Where: Multiple venues across the county
Recommended for: All ages

While this one isn’t strictly a “Christmas” musical, it certainly has the feel-good vibes of the season along with a fantastic festive number. The finale of the show takes place at Christmas, with a whole new life unfolding for Annie. The song “A New Deal for Christmas” is a celebration of the season as well as all the exciting new opportunities ahead for Annie and her orphan friends. Catch Annie on tour next year.

What is your favourite Christmas musical?

Did we miss any festive treats that you feel truly represent the spirit of Christmas in the West End? We would love to hear what musicals you love to see at Christmas and which ones you want to see back in London. Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.

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