Musicals Extend: Cabaret, Fifth Birthday Rock YouDate: 25 April 2007
Two more West End musicals – this year’s two-time Olivier Award-winning revival of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret and, on the eve of its fifth birthday, We Will Rock You, the Queen jukebox hit which defied the critics - have announced extensions to their booking periods.
We Will Rock You - which will celebrate its fifth birthday on 14 May 2007 - has added another full year to its stay at the Dominion Theatre, where bookings are now being taken through to October 2008, more than six years after it opened to largely damning reviews.
Set in the future, We Will Rock You tells the story of a world in which globalisation has meant the death of real music in favour of computer-produced cyber stars, a status quo which the rebel Bohemians, harking back to the Golden Age of rock (embodied by Queen), are trying to overthrow so that they can write and perform their own music. An unintentional hero ends up saving the kids of Planet Mall from the tyrannical Killer Queen and discovers the place of living rock.
We Will Rock You has a book by Ben Elton and features 32 of Queen’s greatest hits including "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "Under Pressure", "Radio Gaga" and, of course, "We Will Rock You". It’s directed by Elton, choreographed by Arlene Phillips and designed by Mark Fisher and Willie Williams.
The show’s fifth birthday will be marked on 14 May with a special performance involving Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor and other “special guests”. Previous stars who’ve put in guest appearances in We Will Rock You have included Britney Spears, Beyonce, Pink and McFly.
At the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, Cabaret has added a further five months to its booking period. Rufus Norris’ revival of the Kander and Ebb classic opened on 10 October 2006 (previews from 23 September) and had previously been booking through to 29 September 2007. It’s now taking bookings until 1 March 2008.
At a special gala performance tonight (25 April 2007), production celebrates the arrival of three new cast members, who joined the company on 2 April (See News, 9 Mar 2007): Kim Medcalf (who’s taken over from Anna Maxwell-Martin as Sally Bowles), Honor Blackman (succeeding Olivier Award winner Sheila Hancock as landlady Fraulein Schneider) and Francis Matthews (replacing Geoffrey Hutchings as her love interest Herr Schultz).
Norris’ production turns Weimar Berlin into a dark and sexually charged haven of decadence, its morally ambiguous inhabitants determined to keep up appearances as the real world - outside the sanctuary of the cabaret - prepares for the chaos of war. In addition to original cast member Sheila Hancock’s prize for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical, Cabaret won this year’s Laurence Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer (Javier de Frutos). The production is designed by Katrina Lindsay and presented by Bill Kenwright.
Based on the stories of Christopher Isherwood and the play by John Van Druten, has a book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Cabaret premiered on Broadway on 1966 and in 1972 was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles, Michael York as Cliff and Joel Grey as the Emcee.
- by Terri Paddock