Despite premiering to generally poor reviews on 14 May 2002 (previews from 22 April), We Will Rock You has become one of the West End's biggest blockbusters and has proved a hit with audiences. 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 New Musical.
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. Can Galileo lead the Bohemians?
The show's original star, American singer Tony Vincent, who won this year's Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Galileo, leaves at the end of his contract this weekend. He will be replaced by his understand Mig Ayesha.
The current cast of We Will Rock You also Hannah Jane Fox (as Scaramouche), Sharon D Clarke (Killer Queen), Clive Carter (Kashoggi) and Nigel Planer (Pop). Amongst the Queen greatest hits performed are "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "Under Pressure", "Radio Gaga" and, of course, "We Will Rock You".
Meanwhile, at the West End's Queen's Theatre, another futuristic musical of a show, Cyberjam, has added another fortnight to its season and is now taking bookings up to 4 January 2004. The new show from the American troupe behind the Tony Award-winning hit Blast! (which premiered in London in 1999), is billed as a "spectacular fusion of music, dance and technology" that aims to push "the boundaries of music performance into the 21st century".
And finally, at the West End's Fortune Theatre, long-running thriller The Woman in Black has acquired a new cast in the form of Hugh Ross and Dominic Rickhards. It's hard to keep up, but we think this is the two-hander's 25th cast. Stephen Mallatratt's adaptation of Susan Hill's ghost story, directed by Robin Herford, was originally produced at Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre in December 1987. Since opening in London two years later, it's been seen by over two million theatregoers and is currently booking up to 7 August 2004.
- by Terri Paddock