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The 'We Will Rock You' musical was written by Ben Elton and is set to the music of Queen, with many lyrics being changed to reflect the characters and plot. The music is performed live each night by a band, hidden behind scaffolding at the sides of the stage. It was produced jointly by Queen Theatrical Productions, Phil McIntyre, and Tribeca Theatrical Productions (co-owned by the actor Robert De Niro).
The musical first opened on 24 April 2002, at the Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road, London. The world premiere was held on 14 May 2002, and a live cast recording was released on 11 November 2002. The first anniversary show was held on 18th June 2003, attended by Brian and Roger and many other celebrities, which also marked the official opening of the Freddie Mercury Photographic Exhibition and the unveiling of an 8 metre high statue of Freddie on the canopy of the theatre. By September 2013, the production had been seen by over 15 million people in 17 countries, with 6.5 million in the UK alone.
The musical closed at the Dominion, to allow the theatre to be renovated, on 31 May 2014, after twelve years and 4,600 performances, with Brian and Roger perfoming at both the afternoon and evening shows. It was the theatre's longest running musical, and the ninth longest running in the West End.
Brian and Roger have made many appearances at the various worldwide productions, and a full list of all performances is available on the Queen Concertography 1992-2006 and Queen Concertography 2007-2022 pages, while a full list of all tracks recorded with the various casts and individual members can be found on the We Will Rock You - The Music page.
Some footage of the original London musical can be found as a bonus feature on the 2003 'Made In Heaven - The Films' DVD reissue, while a few very short clips were also included on the Dutch 2002 Heineken 'Queen's Day' CD-Rom.
To date, the musical has been performed in the following countries: (dates of performances are shown in brackets, where known)
The show also toured arenas from 25 February to 15 June 2013, visiting Finland, Denmark, England, Ireland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Turkey, Bulgaria, Croatia and Northern Ireland. Further dates were expected in Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
A tour of South Africa, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel was due to be staged from August 2020 to September 2021, but this was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Worldwide productions have the same plot and generally have the same setlist, though there are occasional differences. One other change is character names, these include Britney changing to Paris (Hilton), (Hilary) Duff, Vic (Victoria Beckham), or JB (Jeanette Biedermann), Meat changing to Ozzy or Oz (Osbourne), and Pop changing to Polo, Bap or DJ. The names of the other Bohemians also change to reflect current or local celebrities.
Please note that performances in some countries were not full productions but part of a tour, hence the shorter performance times. These included a tour of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and one of New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. Other planned productions include Portugal, Chile and Argentina, plus countless others.
Ben Elton (writer), Robert De Niro (producer), Brian May and Roger Taylor (Musical supervisors/producers) at the 'We Will Rock You' press conference, between March and May 2002.
The Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road, London, home of the London production, with Freddie's statue on the canopy
Brian, Roger and Ben Elton at a press conference at the Paris Theatre, Las Vegas, USA, in 2004.