Queen Musical Readies to Rock Dominion, 14 MayDate: 9 October 2001
The long-awaited musical based on the story of rock group Queen will open at London's Dominion Theatre on 14 May 2002. Entitled We Will Rock You, the production is scripted by Ben Elton and features music from the band's hugely successful career.
Chris Renshaw will direct the show, with choreography from Arlene Phillips. The surviving Queen members are known to have taken an active part in the proceedings to date, with guitarist Brian May closely involved. The plot is reportedly set in a future time, with a use of original storyline and songs similar to that of the Abba show Mamma Mia. One leading character is the sidekick to a wicked queen who hates rock music. However, the assistant is secretly a big music fan with his own plans for world domination.
Queen began life as a college glam rock unit in 1972. After signing to EMI, their fusion of glam and heavy rock, allied to heavy touring, resulted in their first hit Seven Seas of Rhye. However, the band’s major break came in 1975, when Bohemian Rhapsody stayed at number 1 in the UK single charts for nine weeks. Future highlights came with the movie soundtrack Flash Gordon, the band’s appearance at Live Aid, various collaborative works and further hits such as Radio Gaga. Lead singer Freddie Mercury’s death in November 1991 effectively signalled the end of one of the most successful British groups of all time.
Ben Elton recently collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber on the acclaimed musical The Beautiful Game. Elton started his career as a stand-up comedian but has gone on to great success as a novelist, scriptwriter and playwright. He created the Blackadder television series and his plays include Blast From the Past and the Olivier Award-winning Popcorn, both based on his own comic novels.
Chris Renshaw’s award-winning production of The King and I opened on Broadway in 1996. After touring across America, it opened at London’s Palladium in May 2000. After studying at Oxford, Renshaw worked with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera before becoming resident director at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. He has directed numerous operas worldwide, including Falstaff in Monte Carlo, and Luisa Miller (with Luciano Pavarotti) in Philadelphia.
Arlene Phillips has worked in film, video, television and theatre. She has choreographed such films as Annie and The Meaning of Life, and worked with such artists as Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Tina Turner and AC/DC. Her theatre credits include Starlight Express, Masquerade, Time and Clockwork Orange. - by Gareth Thompson