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West End Word: Musical Madness, Panto Season, and WhatsOnStage Nominations

It's been a busy autumn as the West End welcomes new shows and looks ahead to a fun-filled festive period.

Rosanna Hyland as Hope Cladwell and Matthew Seadon-Young as Bobby Strong in Urinetown at London's Apollo Theatre.
(© Johan Persson)

Two themes are dominating the theater agenda in London currently. One is the rich array of musicals that have hit the West End this autumn (sorry — fall!), the other is the conspicuous number of high quality plays transferring into town in the coming months.

Of the musicals, we've been really spoiled for choice recently following the opening of Urinetown, Here Lies Love, The Scottsboro Boys, Memphis, Sunny Afternoon and Made in Dagenham in quick succession. They could hardly be more different as a collection, but all are shows of the highest caliber that seem set to pack in the punters over the festive period.

As for the plays, theatergoers have no shortage of options in the coming weeks and months, from current big-hitters King Charles III, Great Britain and Neville's Island to the upcoming Di and Viv and Rose, Taken at Midnight, A View from the Bridge and My Night with Reg, all of which are transferring early in the new year. There's truly something for everyone.

In the meantime we're gearing up for pantomime season, that most British of institutions that sees theaters everywhere taken over by men in frocks, celebrities brandishing sweet buckets, and audience singalongs. Confused by it all? Then look no further than our (hilarious) ultimate guide to panto, which runs through the basics. And check out our dedicated panto page for full listings and further information on this year's seasonal offerings — including our annual pick of the pantos.

Elsewhere on the site recently, we've been testing readers' theater knowledge with our weekly quizzes and rounding up 119 Twitter accounts that every (UK) theatergoer should follow. We've also found out the favorite things of White Christmas star Aled Jones and Forbidden Broadway's Christina Bianco, and put 20 questions to East Is East author Ayub Khan-Din and composer Georgia Stitt. And you won't want to miss this amazing video of Benedict Cumberbatch doing impressions of everyone from Tom Hiddleston to Taylor Swift.

Finally, a polite reminder that the nominations phase of the 15th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards is now open. The original audience-voted theater prize, the WOS Awards celebrate popular productions in the West End and further afield, across 20 carefully chosen categories. So which were your favorites? Let us know by nominating now!

The company of The Scottsboro Boys.
(© Johan Persson)
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