Queen Musical, We Will Rock You, Makes North American Debut in Vegas; Toronto Gets Canadian Bow

News   Queen Musical, We Will Rock You, Makes North American Debut in Vegas; Toronto Gets Canadian Bow It didn't take long for fans of the new Queen musical, We Will Rock You, to cry foul, after a Toronto producer announced March 22 that the show would have its North American premiere in Canada in 2005.
A scene from the London production of We Will Rock You
A scene from the London production of We Will Rock You

After all, fans knew a fall 2004 Las Vegas production of the London rock musical — which uses the music of Queen to tell a tale of a futuristic world where music is banned — had been announced a month earlier. The Toronto-based Mirvish family cheerfully clarified on March 24 that the show will have its Canadian premiere in spring 2005.

The North American premiere is at the Paris Las Vegas, in association with Tribeca Theatrical Productions (Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal, co-founders) and Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. DeNiro, Rosenthal, May and Taylor are four of the several producers, including the original UK production's producer, Phil McIntyre.

Running in London since May 2002, the show boasts 25 Queens hits, including "We Are the Champions," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."

The fall 2004 Nevada staging will play Paris Las Vegas' Theatre Des Arts, billed as "an intimate 1,450-seat venue which will provide an extraordinary setting for audiences...[including] complex laser light effects and six gigantic plasma screens."

We Will Rock You is expected to start in Vegas around Sept. 8, though tickets are not yet on sale and a box-office representative could not provide dates. Designers for the Las Vegas run are Mark Fisher (scenic) and Willie Williams (lighting).

Ben Elton, the screenwriter, librettist, comedian and novelist, penned the show's libretto and will adapt and direct the Las Vegas production. Elton was librettist of The Beautiful Game, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. He also wrote the West End play Popcorn.

When the show plays Toronto, however, Christopher Renshaw is billed as director.

Of the Las Vegas sitdown, co-producer Jane Rosenthal told Variety: "This doesn't preclude us from opening in any other city. There has been a definite question of whether to come to New York, and we [studied] the challenge of opening in New York. We wouldn't rule out any opportunity [down the road]."

To date, the musical has reportedly grossed over $75 million in London, and is being spunoff into international markets (Australia and Spain are already rocking to it).

Visit brianmay.com or mirvish.com for more information.

A scene from the London production of <i>We Will Rock You</i>
A scene from the London production of We Will Rock You
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