Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 3:01 PM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments
  • Print

Musical based on Queen’s music will rock you

The eminently catchy music of ’70s rock gods Queen is the soundtrack to a far-fetched new musical at 5th Avenue Theatre.


Special to The Seattle Times

Theater review

‘We Will Rock You’

Through July 13, 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., Seattle; $29.25-$90 (206-625-1900 or 5thavenue.org).

advertising

The music of Queen was surely destined to be the soundtrack of a musical.

Campy, flamboyant, tuneful and abundantly creative, the British hard-rock band led by singer Freddie Mercury formed in the early ’70s and recorded one of the decade’s rock masterpieces, the 1976 album “A Night at the Opera,” and its signature song, “Bohemian Rhapsody” — as well as more than two dozen other hits before Mercury’s death in 1991.

“We Will Rock You,” a crowd-pleasing musical that has sold more than 15 million tickets worldwide since its debut in London in 2002, opened Tuesday for a six-day run at The 5th Avenue Theatre. The high-spirited, 2½-hour musical (with live band, video and elaborate sets) includes more than two dozen Queen songs, from “Radio Ga Ga” to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

While a Queen-inspired musical comedy that includes such offbeat characters as Galileo, Scaramouche and the Killer Queen may seem far-fetched, the storyline about a futuristic police state where rock ’n’ roll has been banned provides a lighthearted vehicle for Queen’s memorable tunes.

Created by British writer, director and comedian Ben Elton, with musical supervision from Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, the updated production features a memorable cast, in particular Jacqueline B. Arnold as the overbearing Killer Queen, Brian Justin Crum as the dreamer-hero Galileo and Ryan Knowles as an unsinkable, wisecracking hippie named Buddy.

But the real star is Ruby Lewis as Scaramouche, the punkish heroine whose commanding vocals are a highlight. Her rebellious charm brightens the entire production.

Scaramouche and Galileo become part of a ragtag band of renegades called Bohemians, who occupy the ruins of a crumbling Hard Rock Café. Their fascination with the ancient musical style known as rock ’n’ roll is based on a few mysterious artifacts.

But their quest for the Holy Grail of rock ’n’ roll — an electric guitar — takes them to the ruins of Elvis Presley’s Graceland, a shrine to a forgotten era.

In the end, the Bohemians find salvation in their rediscovery of rock ’n’ roll and the overthrow of their oppressors. It’s as if “We Are the Champions” were written for them.

Gene Stout: gene@genestout.com



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►