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We will rock you the musical

Your Guide to We Will Rock You The Musical by Queen and Ben Elton

Learn all about ‘We Will Rock You’, the musical sensation that intertwines Queen’s iconic music with a tale of futuristic rebellion.

In this article, we explore how the “We Will Rock You Musical” has rocked the stages of the West End and beyond, leaving audiences stomping and clapping for more.

The Birth of a Musical Phenomenon

The band’s manager, Jim Beach, proposed the idea for a jukebox musical using Queen’s songs in the mid-1990s. The original concept revolved around the life of Freddie Mercury, a key figure in rock music and musical theatre history. However, this biographical storyline posed challenges, which led Robert De Niro’s production company, Tribeca Productions, to reconsider.

Enter Director Ben Elton in 2000. Known for his work on musical spectacular plays, Elton shifted the musical’s vision from a biography to an original story. As Ben Elton returns to the scene, he drew thematic inspiration from the futuristic and dystopian elements of ‘The Matrix’.

The script, finalized by mid-2001, signalled the beginning of a production poised to shake the musical world, featuring talents like Brenda Edwards.

we will rock you musical tour

The West End and Beyond

Despite initial criticisms, the musical, which premiered at the London Dominion Theatre on 14th May 2002, rapidly captivated audiences. Its popularity saw it become the longest-running musical at the Dominion Theatre, celebrating a decade mark in 2012. However, the musical’s journey was just beginning.

In 2009, the inaugural UK tour kicked off at Manchester’s Palace Theatre, followed by additional tours in subsequent years. The musical even made a special return to the West End in 2023, taking the same iconic stage where it all began at the London Coliseum.

The musical spectacular was now not only a part of musical theatre history but also a cherished piece of West End legend.

Global Conquest

As of December 2022, the global impact of “We Will Rock You” is evident with performances spanning six continents and an audience of 20 million people in 28 countries. The musical’s first international production was in Melbourne, Australia, and included unique regional adaptations, such as retaining English lyrics in Madrid and a Russian production, despite closure due to disagreements.

In Toronto, Canada, the production underwent significant rework, including a gender-swapped role for the character Khashoggi. With an international tour starting in the Philippines, the musical was set to conquer the world, with plans to travel to South Korea, Singapore, and South Africa.

we will rock you musical cast

The Story That Shook the World

“We Will Rock You” is set in a dystopian future on iPlanet, where rock music is banned, musical instruments are non-existent, and conformity is enforced. This society is under the control of the Globalsoft Corporation, which enforces the ban on musical instruments.

Yet, amidst the monotony of conformity, a group of Bohemians emerges, seeking to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion, and live music.

Act One: Rebellion Ignites

The story introduces us to Galileo, a young non-conformist student who dreams of rock music’s return and Scaramouche, a goth outsider. Deemed social deviations by the Globalsoft police, both are persecuted and detained by society.

Upon escaping capture, they come across the Bohemians, who believe in a prophecy that ‘The Dreamer’ will find the hidden instruments and spark a musical revolution. Embracing Galileo as the fulfilment of their prophecy, the Bohemians, as rock-and-roll rebels led by their rebel leader, seek to break free from the repression of the Killer Queen and Globalsoft Corporation.

Act Two: The Quest for Freedom

In Act Two:

  • Galileo and Scaramouche commit to the quest
  • They disengage their tracking devices
  • They develop romantic feelings for each other
  • Despite the Bohemians enduring torture at the hands of the Globalsoft police, they refuse to divulge details surrounding the mystical prophecy.

The protagonists’ search leads them to Wembley Stadium, where they find an electric guitar, symbolizing the potential return of rock music. With Pop’s assistance in hacking the Globalsoft network, rock music is broadcasted worldwide, leading to the fall of the Killer Queen and a revival of the music genre on iPlanet.

we will rock you musical tour

A Star-Studded Cast

A talented cast breathed life into the musical’s characters. Tony Vincent was cast as Galileo Figaro, the dreamer who embodies the spirit of Freddie Mercury. Hannah Jane Fox played Scaramouche, a sarcastic and cynical outsider who becomes Galileo’s love interest.

Sharon D. Clarke was nominated for a 2003 Olivier Award for her role as Killer Queen in the queen musical, the antagonist ruling over the iPlanet. Other characters like Commander Khashoggi, the Bohemians including Brit and Meat, and Pop, the older ‘hippie librarian’, added depth to the narrative.

Over the years, the cast of ‘We Will Rock You’ at the Dominion Theatre experienced several changes, with key roles being recast multiple times, ensuring fresh performances for the audience.

we will rock you musical cast

A Symphony of Queen’s Greatest Hits

Showcasing a broad selection of Queen’s cherished songs, the musical pays tribute to the legacy of the iconic rock band. Each queen song, like:

  • ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
  • ‘We Are the Champions’
  • ‘We Will Rock You’
  • ‘Somebody to Love’
  • ‘Killer Queen’
  • ‘I Want It All’

are tailored to the musical’s context, maintaining the spirit of Queen while driving the narrative forward.

Album Releases

Captured at the Dominion Theatre in 2003, the original 2002 London cast recording offers listeners a taste of the theatrical experience. For Spanish-speaking audiences, the Madrid cast recording includes Spanish versions of Queen’s songs.

The Cologne production’s cast album presents translated lyrics and cultural references, adapting the songs for German audiences.

we will rock you musical london

Reception and Legacy

London critics initially dismissed the concept and direction of ‘We Will Rock You,’ which faced severe criticism following its 2002 debut. Critics characterized the musical as:

  • ‘ruthlessly packaged and manufactured’
  • lacking originality
  • having weak character development
  • relying too heavily on Queen’s music

They were scathing in their reviews.

Nevertheless, despite early criticism, ‘We Will Rock You’ evolved into a massive success, reaching 20 million people across 28 countries by December 2022.

Special Performances with Queen

Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor have often shared the stage with the cast of ‘We Will Rock You’, a musical created by Queen and Ben Elton, during premieres and special events. Notable performances include celebrating Freddie Mercury’s 60th birthday in 2006 and the fifth anniversary of the London show in 2007, where they performed ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘The Show Must Go On’.

we will rock you musical london

Final Thoughts

From its inception to its global conquest, “We Will Rock You” has made a significant impact on musical theatre history. It has carved a niche for itself amidst musical spectacular plays, thanks to its unique storyline, star-studded cast, and a symphony of Queen’s greatest hits.

Though initially met with criticism, “We Will Rock You” proved that it’s not just fantasy, but a real-life tale of rebellion and revolution set to the beat of Queen’s music. With a legacy that extends to school editions and special performances, it continues to inspire a new generation of audiences and performers alike.

Holly Smith

I Love Musical Theatre and made the West End World Website To Share My Experiences, Reviews & Theatre News.