We Will Rock You: Queen-Inspired Jukebox Musical Starts To Tour

We Will Rock You: Queen-Inspired Jukebox Musical Starts To Tour

Queen’s famous songs will be heard again on an incoming North American tour / Photo by Muhammad suryanto via Shutterstock.com


Last year, fans of one of the most famous bands in the world, Queen, enjoyed the movie titled ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ which tells the story of how Freddie Mercury started out before his rise to stardom. After its multiple Oscar wins, People reported on their website that Queen’s famous songs will be heard again on an incoming North American tour.

The musical started in 2002 when Alberta, Canada’s Annerin Theatricals revived it. Now, the touring production will start on September 3 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Rolling Stone shared on their website that Jeff Parry said, “Annerin is proud to be able to produce We Will Rock You, and we are obviously lucky with our timing.”

The article also explained that We Will Rock You will be using songs from Queen’s famous albums to tell a futuristic, “quirky, eccentric and heartfelt story of outsiders.” The musical is an example of a jukebox musical wherein it uses songs from a popular band or singer to tell the story of the musical’s characters effectively, attracting the band's fans and musical enthusiasts alike.

About We Will Rock You

On their official website, Queen Online explained that We Will Rock You, the musical, tells the story of a future where musical instruments do not exist. The main characters are rock rebels, called the Bohemians, who fight the powerful Globalsoft company led by the Killer Queen. The Bohemians will fight in order to achieve freedom, individuality, and the rebirth of the age of Rock.

The Bohemian rebels will be later joined by two outsiders named Scaramouche and Galileo -- two characters who don't want to come to terms with having a conformist reality, and together with the Bohemian, they will search for the unlimited power of freedom, love, and of course, rock and roll.

The idea of creating the musical started when the famous actor, Robert De Niro, met with musicians Brian May and Roger Taylor, both of whom are members of the band Queen, in Venice in 1996. It is said that De Niro’s daughter is a huge fan of the band and the actor made it sure that the legends of rock and roll would hear his offer to create a musical which would be based on Queen’s famous songs.

When it premiered in 2002, there were 15 million theatergoers from 17 countries who saw the awesome theater production based on the songs of Queen. Their music was combined with a book written by Ben Elton, who also wrote the musicals ‘The Young Ones’, ‘Blackadder’, and ‘Popcorn’. Fans of the band Queen will surely enjoy the musical since the production is supervised by Queen’s very own Brian May and Roger Taylor, who focused on helping the cast perfect the production’s music.

What is a jukebox musical?

Using more than 24 of Queen’s biggest hit songs including We Are The Champions, Radio Ga Ga, I Want To Break Free, Somebody To Love, Killer Queen, and Don’t Stop Me Now, the upcoming ‘We Will Rock You’ musical is considered to be a jukebox musical. The jukebox type of musical has been in the theater scene for a long time and continues to capture the hearts of a lot of theater fans.

Broadway World recently reported that a new musical titled ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ is also a jukebox musical, and it is slowly taking away Broadway. The musical just had its opening night last week, and it tells the story of The Temptations, who started their journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The musical uses the group’s hits including “My Girl”, “Just My Imagination”, and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”.

In the definition provided by Theatre Links, a jukebox musical was described as a stage or film musical which uses popular songs for its musical scores. These songs are used to contextualize a dramatic plot and usually have a connection to a certain singer or group. One of the most popular jukebox musicals ever released was Mamma Mia! The Musical, whose success was built around the music of the famous group ABBA.

Jukebox musicals are one of the most successful types of musicals that are performed on the musical stage / Photo by By Roman Rvachov via Shutterstock


Criticism of Jukebox Musicals

A lot of theatre critics still snark on the fact that jukebox musicals are one of the most successful types of musicals that are performed on the musical stage. The New York Times reported that there are several examples of jukebox musical that experienced a hit and miss when they premiered. Some of them experience a major success and some experience a total failure.

Ben Brantley, New York Times theatre critic, stated that Mamma Mia, the musical, captured Broadway and was able to give birth to a slew of progeny. Its success is the result of the effective combination of the corniness of its plot and the success of the band's songs.