We Will Rock You opened at the Dominion Theatre on 14 May 2002 (previews from 22 April) and, despite generally poor reviews, went on to become the West End's biggest blockbuster. To date, it's grossed nearly £25 million at the box office and plans are now under way for productions in Australia and Spain this year and in Moscow, Italy and the US in 2004.
The musical - written by Ben Elton and featuring 32 of Queen's greatest hits - swept the board in this year's Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards, winning all five categories in which it was nominated, including Best Actor, Actress and Supporting Actress in a Musical and Best New Musical. At this evening's performance, the winners will be presented with copies of their awards certificates in front of the 2,000-strong capacity audience.
Following the success of the planned Whatsonstage.com Outing - in which our thrice-increased allocation sold out within 24 hours of being announced at the beginning of May 2003 - producers appointed tonight as the show's official first anniversary celebration. The gala performance also coincides with the installation of an eight-meter high statue of Queen's late lead singer Freddie Mercury (to be erected on the front canopy of the Dominion Theatre) and the return to London of the Freddie Mercury Photographic Exhibition (which will be displayed in the theatre's foyer until January 2004). Kashmira Cooke, Mercury's sister, will also be in attendance.
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.
We Will Rock You stars Tony Vincent and Hannah Jane Fox, as rebel lovers Galileo and Scaramouche, with Sharon D Clarke as the evil Killer Queen, Clive Carter as her lackey Kashoggi and Nigel Planer as a hippy librarian. The show also 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".
- by Terri Paddock