|James Blunt is one of the UK's new music
One of the many theatres in London's West End
people the highlight of a visit to London is the chance to see
a West End show.
The West End of London, situated a stone’s throw
from Piccadilly Circus and Chinatown, is home to dozens of beautiful
London’s West End theatres are currently enjoying a
boom in popularity and ticket sales. According to the Society of London
Theatres, nearly 12 million people attended a West End show last year, whilst
audience numbers in 2005 look set to outstrip that impressive
One possible reason for the success of contemporary theatrical
productions is the casting of A-list Hollywood
actors in lead roles . Val Kilmer, star of films like Top Gun
and Batman Forever, is currently appearing in The Postman Always Rings Twice.
And he is not alone - other American movie stars performing in
London include Oscar winner, Kevin Spacey, and David Schwimmer, who found
international fame in the hit TV sitcom , Friends.
British screen stars are also treading the
boards in West End shows. Scottish actor, Ewan McGregor, is appearing
in the classic 1950s musical Guys and Dolls – an experience
very different to making movies. McGregor says ‘The actual process of making
films is extraordinarily tedious . It is very difficult to keep
your energy and focus. Whereas what is wonderful about this is we have to create
Ironically, it is not just that film stars are
acting in plays nowadays but films themselves are being adapted for the stage.
Amongst the films that can now be seen as plays or musicals are
The Lion King, A Few Good Men, and Billy Elliot.
The longest-running shows in the West End are
usually musicals. The Andrew Lloyd Webber show, Cats, ran for 21 years and 7000
performances, making its composer a multi-millionaire.
However, not all musicals do so well. Oscar Wilde: The Musical
ran for only one night, closing after terrible reviews and poor
bookings. It was quite possibly the biggest
flop in London theatrical history.