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

Andrew Lloyd Webber.

“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.” – a spokesperson for the research

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical The Phantom of the Opera has been running for more than 30 years and has had over 12,000 performances at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London to date. And of those polled, one quarter believe the play – which has box office revenues bigger than any other film or stage play in history – is an absolute showstopper.

But although the show is a tough act to follow, global phenomenon Les Misérables isn’t far behind, with 23 per cent of adults voting it into second place. 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.

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 Misérables’ ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ featuring on the play list.

And of those who have ventured to the West End, they will attend an average of two shows a year, with almost half wishing they could see more. For 53 per cent of Brits, dinner and a West End show is their idea of the perfect date night, and eight in 10 would be thrilled if someone bought them tickets as a gift.

Two thirds of adults wouldn’t think twice about visiting London just to see a performance, and when they do, one fifth will even dress up to match the theme of the show. 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’s 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 brilliant lead (41 per cent) and incredible scenery (39 per cent). But 16 per cent are impressed with a show which has a deeper message, while 13 per cent like watching real-life adaptations based on interesting historical people.

However, not all shows end up being box office hits, with Moby Dick! The Musical, Viva Forever and Behind the Iron Mask named the top of the flops. While Oscar Wilde: The Musical and Hunting of the Snark also failed to impress audiences.

“Not all musicals do well in front of critics, and some fail to pull in the box office figures – some of those in the top 10 didn’t even last more than a few weeks. Fields of Ambrosia had one of the shortest ever West End runs, while Moby Dick! The Musical was loved by audiences but absolutely panned by critics. One thing is for sure, more often than not you will go to see a show in London and watch a triumph, which is why the past time is so loved by Brits.” – spokesman for BuyaGift.co.uk

In response to the findings, BuyaGift.co.uk have launched an interactive quiz to test the nation on their knowledge of well-known musical song lyrics.

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