Does the sight of Austrian hills fill your heart with the sound of music? Does life in Berlin sound like a cabaret? Then you’re in luck. Many of the world’s best musicals are not only set in Europe, but now have dedicated tours, museums and guides just waiting for traveling show tune fanatics to come find out more and share in the musical experience themselves.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of five musicals that visitors to Europe can fit into their tourist itineraries. Better start practicing your do-re-mis now…
1. The Sound of Music – Salzburg, Austria
What list of musicals is complete without The Sound of Music? Set in Austria as World War Two begins, this classic musical is an adaptation of the real-life Von Trapp family’s experiences – a novice nun sent to the family to work as a governess ends up marrying the widowed father before they have to flee the Nazis. Filmed on location in Salzburg, the Alpine countryside jumps off the screen, and nowadays you can enjoy official Sound of Music tours – meaning that you can visit the family home, Maria’s convent, and even the hills where we zoom in on Maria in the opening sequence. All together now: “The hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiils are aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive….”
2. Moulin Rouge! – Paris, France
The Moulin Rouge is an iconic Parisian landmark – like the Eiffel Tower, but with a salubrious edge. Since the 19th Century, this infamous red windmill has been the home of courtesans, can-can dancers and cabarets. Today, the Moulin Rouge is home to packed-out dinners and shows, so be sure to book seats well in advance. Sadly we cannot promise either a smitten Ewan McGregor or Henri Toulouse-Lautrec waiting in the wings, but feat not – it promises to be spectacular! Spectacular!
3. Oliver! – London, UK
This musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ tale of the trials and tribulations of young orphan Oliver Twist gives us a sweeping view of what life was like for the lower classes in Victorian London. Now modern day visitors to the city can take a step back in time and explore Oliver’s world further with the help of walking tours, audio guides and, of course, the Charles Dickens Museum. Please, sir, can I have some more?
4. Mamma Mia! – Skopelos, Greece
If Pierce Brosnan’s valiant attempts to sing didn’t win you over, the stunning island of Skopelos sure will. Since the release of the award-winning movie in 2008, tourism on the island has skyrocketed. Now, you can cruise round the beaches where the men in flippers did their dance, visit the small church where the wedding plans went awry, and pretend you’re one of Sophie’s three fathers on a picnic. Doesn’t take your fancy? Hey, if you change your mind, I’m the first in line!
5. Cabaret – Berlin, Germany
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome! This musical has everything: Songs. Sex. “Screw Maximillian!” And of course the fantastic Liza Minnelli. The movie follows sparky American cabaret performer Sally Bowles and reserved English teacher Brian Roberts as they fall in and out of love in 1930s Germany – a time when the Nazis are beginning to gain power and infringe on the liberal world these expat bohemians occupy. Based on a book written by Christopher Isherwood and based loosely on his friend Jean Ross, interested visitors can learn more about Isherwood’s time in Berlin and the glory days of the Weimar Republic on a walking tour.
Have you been on a musical tour before, of these shows or otherwise? Please share your experiences below.