Director Jewels: Starlight Theatre presents We Will Rock You: June 17-22 {Review}

Friday, June 20, 2014

Starlight Theatre presents We Will Rock You: June 17-22 {Review}

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this production at Starlight Theatre. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own.

This has been a summer filled with exciting adventures already, so I was excited to be asked back to Starlight Theatre for their second show of the 2014 Season: We Will Rock You. This show is a completely different experience than the season opener, The Wizard of Oz, which we saw last week.

I had not even heard of this production until I saw it on Starlight's list for this season, so I was curious to know what it is all about. Starlight Theatre has welcomed the first North American tour of the show (now through June 22), which features the iconic sounds of the British rock back Queen, with a theatrical twist. This musical by Queen and Ben Elton played a 12-year run in London's West End, performed in 28 countries and entertained more than 16 million people worldwide.

The cast of the national tour of We Will Rock You. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

I didn't think I was very familiar with the music of Queen, but I did recognize a fair number of the 24 songs included in this story about a "dreamer" who finds himself in the middle of a revolution in a post-apocalyptic world. We Will Rock You is set 300 years in the future on a planet once called Earth, now known as iPlanet, that is controlled by a large corporation. Globalization and conformity are everywhere. Individuality and creativity are taboo. Everyone watches the same movies, wears the same clothes, and thinks the same thoughts. Music is generated by the corporation’s computers. Musical instruments and rock music are banned. The world is being controlled, and there is only
one group that can stop it – the rebel Bohemians. This alliance of rebels awaits a hero to lead the battle to bring rock music back to the people.

The story is hard to believe in places and cheesy sometimes, but I recognize that writing a show with entirely pre-existing music must have been an incredible challenge! The songs I most enjoyed were those I knew - Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Who Wants to Live Forever, and Bohemian Rhapsody. The show is labeled as "suitable for most audiences," but I felt it deserved a PG-13 rating. The script contains a lot of innuendo and some adult references, plus I would not feel comfortable bringing children or even young teens because of some of the costume and choreography choices. All that aside, the music was definitely the carrying force of the show - and it was executed magnificently by the band. The musicians performed spot-on renditions of these classic rock songs and seemed to have a blast while playing.

Ruby Lewis in the national tour of We Will Rock You. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

The entire cast took on the songs of Queen without blinking an eye. Because of the complexity of
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” the entire song had never before been staged live by Queen or anyone else - but it does appear in its entirety in the show. I was impressed!

By far, though, the most show-stopping moment was early in Act I, when "Scaramouche" - played by Ruby Lewis - brought down the house with her incredible powerhouse rendition of Somebody to Love. It was truly breathtaking!

If you're interested in Starlight's history, you can arrive early and get a behind-the-scenes peek! Tours begin before each performance at 6:30, 6:45, and 7:00pm. Just head to the top of the theatre behind Terrace Section 1 to begin the tour. I'm hoping to check out this free extra at a show later this summer.

Thanks to Starlight Theatre for providing my tickets to the show. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

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