Phantom of the Opera named best West End show of all time in poll

Respondents also asked to name the biggest theatre flops

Emma Elsworthy
Tuesday 28 January 2020 18:31
The Phantom of the Opera has been running at Her Majesty's Theatre in London for over 30 years
The Phantom of the Opera has been running at Her Majesty's Theatre in London for over 30 years

The Phantom of the Opera has been named the best West End show of all time in a survey.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical has been running for more than 30 years and has had over 12,000 performances at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London to date.

Of the 2,000 adults polled, one-quarter believed the play – which has box office revenues bigger than any other film or stage play in history – is the best production ever to run on the West End.

The similarly long-running Les Miserables comes in a close second, with 23 per cent of adults voting for it.

Disney’s The Lion King, Mamma Mia! and Cats completed the top five.

The most popular musical song, however, comes from Evita, with 24 per cent voting for “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”.

The Lion King’s "Can you Feel the Love Tonight?” is the second most popular song, closely followed by “Any Dream will Do” from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

In response to the findings, has launched an interactive quiz to test theatre fans on their knowledge of well-known musical song lyrics.

A spokesperson for the gift company said: “Dinner and a show in the West End is a world famous tradition, and one enjoyed by all ages.

“There is nothing more exciting than taking up your position in the stalls, and eagerly awaiting the curtains opening and the lights dimming.

“If you know the story and music well the lead up to the event can almost be as exciting as the drama of the night.”

The study also found more than half of adults will often listen to musicals in the car with favourites such as "You’re the One that I Want" from Grease and Les Miserables’ “I Dreamed a Dream” featuring on the play list.

Of those who have ventured to the West End, they will attend an average of two shows a year, with nearly half wishing they could see more.

More than one-third of those polled, via OnePoll, feel a musical can be more engaging than going to the cinema to watch a film, and 32 per cent feel it is an escape from reality.

Just over a quarter of adults like being part of an audience, and 32 per cent find the stage and sets fascinating.

According to fans, a hit musical consists of memorable songs (61 per cent), a strong lead (41 per cent) and engaging scenery (39 per cent).

But 16 per cent are impressed by a show which has a deeper message, while 13 per cent like watching real-life adaptations based on interesting historical people.

Not all shows end up being box office hits, with Moby Dick! The Musical, Viva Forever and Behind the Iron Mask named the biggest flops ever to run on the West End.

While Oscar Wilde: The Musical and Hunting of the Snark also failed to impress audiences.


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