Theatre: We Will Rock You
"It's not just a title. It's a promise."We Will Rock You
or Rock You
for short) is a Jukebox Musical
and Ben Elton
. The musical was first produced in London by Queen Theatrical Productions, Phil McIntyre Entertainment and Tribeca Theatrical Productions, with Christopher Renshaw as director, Mark Fisher as the production designer, Willie Williams as the lighting designer, Williams & Fisher as co-video directors, Tim Goodchild as the costume designer, Arlene Phillips as choreographer and Bobby Aitken as sound designer.
It first opened in the West End at the Dominion Theatre on May 14, 2002, with Tony Vincent, Hannah Jane Fox, Sharon D. Clarke and Kerry Ellis in principal roles. The musical was panned by critics, but was an audience favourite and is the longest-running musical at that venue. The story takes place in a tongue-in-cheek dystopian future where originality and individualism are shunned, and a lone "Dreamer" appears who can fulfill a prophecy that will enable the return of rock 'n roll.
A number of international productions have followed the original, and We Will Rock You
has been seen in Australia
, South Africa
, Zurich, Vienna, New Zealand
, South Korea
and Hong Kong
. A rewritten version played in Las Vegas, Nevada for 16 months over 2004-05. As of July 2009, productions are still active in Great Britain and Germany.
A workshop script version of the show lasted up until and around the first few previews, when it was tested and changed accordingly. This can be found sometimes around the net, but is rare.
A sequel is currently in the works, and as of March 2009 a draft has been completed.
The time is the future, in a place that was once called Earth. Globalisation is complete! Everywhere, the kids watch the same movies, wear the same fashions and think the same thoughts. It's a safe, happy, Ga Ga world. Unless you're a rebel. Unless you want to Rock. On Planet Mall all the musical instruments are banned. The Company Computers generate tunes and everybody downloads them. It is an age of Boy Bands and of Girl Bands. Of Boy and Girl Bands. Of Girl Bands with a couple of boys in them that look like girls anyway. Nothing is left to chance, hits are scheduled years in advance.
But Resistance is growing. Underneath the gleaming cities, down in the lower depths live the Bohemians. Rebels who believe that there was once a Golden Age when the kids formed their own bands and wrote their own songs. They call that time, The Rhapsody.
Legend persists that somewhere on Planet Mall instruments still exist. Somewhere, the mighty axe of a great and hairy guitar god lies buried deep in rock. The Bohemians need a hero to find this axe and draw it from stone. Is the one who calls himself Galileo that man?
But the Ga Ga Cops are also looking for Galileo and if they get him first they will surely drag him before the Killer Queen and consign him to Oblivion across the Seven Seas of Rhye. Who is Galileo? Where is the Hairy One's lost axe? Where is the place of living rock?
Anyway the wind blows.
- Galileo Figaro: The central character of the musical; a Dreamer who hears strange words in his head. The character's name is a reference to the lyrics in the Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody. Believed to be a reincarnation of Freddie Mercury, though this is debatable.
- Scaramouche: A sarcastic, cynical character and Galileo's love interest. In the finale she shows talent playing the electric guitar, and another character declares that she is a reincarnation of Brian May, only this time "he's a babe". The character's name is a reference to the lyrics in the Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody.
- Pop: A librarian trying to figure out the "exact date the music died". He is believed to be named after the creation of reality television talent shows (the example given varies depending on the production, but includes Popstars, Pop Idol, The X Factor, or the relevant regional variant).
- Brit: Brit, short for Britney Spears, is the main male Bohemian rebel. In other productions, his name is either Paris (short for Paris Hilton), Duff (short for Hilary Duff), Vic (short for Victoria Beckham) or J.B. (short for Jeanette Biedermann).
- Meat: Meat, short for Meat Loaf, is the main female Bohemian. In some productions, the character is named Oz after Ozzy Osbourne.
- Killer Queen: The villain of the musical, she rules over Planet Mall with an iron fist. The character's name is a reference to the Queen song Killer Queen.
- Khashoggi: Killer Queen's second-in-command, Khashoggi is head of Globalsoft's police and carries out Killer Queen's dirty work. The character's name is a reference to the Queen song Khashoggi's Ship.
- Other Bohemians: The other Bohemians have constantly changing names following media trends. These are usually music-related, and have included Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Robbie Williams, Beyoncé, Madonna, Amy Winehouse, Bob the Builder, Cheeky Fairy, Boy George, Cliff Richard, Spice Girls, Elton John, Jackson Five, Prince, Burton Cummings, John Farnham, Charlotte Church, Crazy Frog, Eddie Cochran, Avril Lavigne, Shania Twain, Lily Allen, Kelly Osbourne and Clay Aiken.
We Will Rock You contains examples of:
- Adrenaline Makeover: Scaramouche gets one when she and Galileo make it to the Bohemians. However she started out as a Deadpan Snarker and became a Stripperiffic deadpan snarker after the makeover.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted, in a sense. Galileo, while showing all the typical signs of Troubled, but Cute, is really only 'bad' because of his dreams, and Scaramouche is quick to break up with him when he is particularly insensitive, or chauvinistic.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Galileo, Scaramouche, and the Bohemians are hated by the Ga Ga society.
- Anvils That Needed To Be Dropped: The show pretty much lives of the 'Don't be like everyone else/Be yourself' aseop.
- Which is ironic, considering how easy it is to get the audience, and people in general, stomping and clapping along to the song We Will Rock You.
- Anything That Moves: Fanon view on Bohemian society.
- Awesome McCoolname: Pretty much all the named characters in the show, but bonus points to Killer Queen and Scaramouche. Galileo certainly thinks his name is this.
- Badass Normal: This one goes to the biggest, baddest, meanest, nastiest, ugliest, most raging, rapping, rock and rolling, sick, punk, heavy metal, psycho bastard that ever got get down funky. They call him Britney Spears.
- Or whatever name he happens to be going by in the current productions.
- Bad To The Bone: While arguably all the songs could stand for this, the two stand outs are the Brighton Rock and Tie Your Mother Down instrumentals.
- The Baroness: The Killer Queen
- Beautiful All Along: It could be said that this is the case for Scaramouche, however, she is never really stated as unattractive. The only difference the makeover seems to give her is a boost to her own self confidence when it comes to her body image.
- Canada, Eh?: Similar to Cultural Translation, some Canadiana references were peppered throughout its run at the Canon Theater in Toronto. Including Killer Queen ordering her minions to blow up rocks, including Newfoundland, Galileo reciting the I Am Canadian Molson Speech, Galileo also referencing "Sharon, Lois and Bram," also Scaramouche wears Canadian flag underwear. All this, among others.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: During Flash.
- Comic Book Adaptation: The Tales of Ga Ga. One volume so far, covering the first act of the show. Art is ... questionable
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The laws pretty much enforces this trope.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Killer Queen to the Bohemians.
- The Cover Changes The Meaning: Sort of. Lyrics are seen as Holy Texts to the Bohemians.
- Culture Police: Killer Queen and Globalsoft are bent on eliminating all music and, thus, free thought, on Planet Mall, aka Earth.
- Ironically, Killer Queen sings about three songs about throughout the play. This is excusable, though, because it's a musical. And, really, who else but a villain could do Another One Bites The Dust?
- Cultural Translation: The Las Vegas version (so far, the only U.S. staging) was rewritten to set the Seven Seas of Rhye in Vegas (long since flooded thanks to global warming), and Graceland, Elvis Presley's mansion, replaced Wembley Stadium in the climax. Vegas-specific jokes were added, including a Bohemian named Wayne Newton, Galileo having a bad dream about Celine Dion, and a Take That at Cirque du Soleil when Pop claims a Queen musical was so successful in Vegas that it ran the Cirque shows out of town. (This is now a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment. WWRY only lasted 18 months, and Cirque shows continue to proliferate in Vegas.)
- Cut Song: Going by the workshop script quite a lot actually...
- Dawson Casting: Galileo and Scaramouche are meant to be school leaving age, and are often played by performers in their twenties.
- Deadly Euphemism: When Khashoggi tells Killer Queen Gallileo and Scaramouche escaped she "Blows his mind" as punishment.
- Double Meaning Title: "It's not just a title, it's a promise," according to the show's taglines... Frankly, it delivers.
- The Dragon: Khashoggi
- Dying Declaration of Love: Played with. Galileo and Scaramouche are pretty sure they're going to die, and it's part of what motivates them to confess their feelings.
- Dystopian Edict: Under the rule of the Killer Queen and Globalsoft, rock music is not allowed. Granted, this is probably the most legit way to get a plot out of The Power of Rock
- Evil Laugh: Khashoggi in Flash and Seven Seas of Rhye.
- Fanservice Fat Bottomed Girls. Oh, how that scene is pure fanservice. Although pretty much all of the female outfits qualify in every song.
- Final Love Duet: Subverted. Though Hammer to Fall is certainly the last duet between Galileo and Scaramouche, it serves the purpose of mocking the idea of them falling in love due to them currently being annoyed at each other. (Don't worry - they make up, obviously.)
- Five-Man Band: fittingly, Galileo The Hero, Scaramouche The Lancer, Brit The Big Guy, Pop The Smart Guy, and Meat The Chick.
- Flippant Forgiveness: In the second act
Scaramouche: Don't blame yourself, Gazza. It's not your fault.
Galileo: Thanks, Scaramouche.
Scaramouche: I mean it's not your fault you're a spineless, gutless, whinging little crybaby!
- Irrelevant Act Opener: One Vision to an extent. It shows part of the Ga Ga day - and gives more Orwellian parallels, but it does seem irrelevant considering how Act One ended.
- Intertwined Fingers: This is an important moment in the show when Scaramouche and Galileo end up holding hands like this during Who Wants To Live Forever and they realise that actually they've been falling in love since they first met.
- "I Want" Song: Oh, where to begin. A lot of the songs could be considered I Want songs to someone or other.
- For Galileo we have I Want to Break Free that is, until you click that the only way he can 'break free' from life is to... yeah...
- For Scaramouche it's I Want to Break Free and Somebody to Love. Though the latter does seem to be more about her bitter loneliness
- For the Bohemians it's I Want It All.
- For the Killer Queen, arguably, Play the Game.
- Khashoggi has Seven Seas of Rhye which is also one of the more awesome scenes to watch.
- Pop has the melancholic These Are the Days of Our Lives, which is less of a personal want, but more of a desire for a return to simpler times.
- Jukebox Musical: Though it's billed as a Rock Theatrical.
- La Résistance: The Bohemians
- Long Runners: It's the longest running musical in the Dominion Theatre, and one of the longest running on the West End. By now, this gets lampshaded in the show: one of the characters tells the tale of a beautiful theatre where We Will ock ou ran for 150 consecutive years. (After which the subway station outside was still under construction.)
- Lost Technology: The basic premise behind the musical, where music itself (non-programmed) is the Lost Technology.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Granted, again, it's Queen. Somebody to Love is the most glaring example, but I Want to Break Free also counts.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Arguably Meat, but Fanon usually gives this role to another Bohemian - typically Cheeky Fairy.
- Medium Awareness: Whether Galileo is aware of being in a Musical or not during We Will Rock You remains open for debate, that his band knows that they're in a musical is established when they tell the Big Bad that they've in fact been in the wings for the whole show.
- Mega Corp.: Globalsoft is this, without a doubt. It owns the planet, and has renamed it Planet Mall
- Musicalis Interruptus: Killer Queen starts to sing the opening verse Don't Stop Me Now to celebrate the defeat of The Bohemians, when she is interrupted by Commander Kashoggi, who informs her that Galileo & Scaramouche were able to escape. He, of course, pays the penalty.
- Averted just once in the London production on the sixth anniversary. The Killer Queeen told Kashoggi that he'd been interrupting her for years and tonight she was going to finish the damn song. It was epic.
- Also on Freddie Mercury's "60th birthday" performance when Mc Fly came onstage to sing Don't Stop Me Now.
- Musical World Hypotheses: To be expected within a musical. The Bohemians do seem like the type of people to randomly burst into song, but the actual music they hear is likely all in their heads.
- Nice Job Guiding Us, Hero: Khashoggi and the Secret Police find the Heartbreak Hotel
- Novelization: Well, more comic book adaptation
- Officer and a Gentleman: Khashoggi fits, to an extent.
- The Power of Rock: Yep.
- Protest Song: In the context of the musical, both I Want to Break Free and Somebody to Love fit.
- Rock Opera Plot: Averted. It works out.
- Romance on the Set: Tony Vincent and Aspen Miller met in the Las Vegas production.
- Setting Update: The overall plot is essentially a Queen-ified version of Rush's 2112.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Lampshaded. The Bohemians list the first two as descriptions of what rock and roll actually is, before admiting that they don't know.
- Shout-Out: Most notably, the names of the Bohemians, and a remarkably high proportion of the dialogue is just straight shout-outs to song lyrics. The Other Wiki's list of referenced songs reaches well into double figures.
- Sinister Shades: Commander Khashoggi.
- In the Toronto version of the musical, he is also shown to have two different colored eyes, which might explain why he wears them.
- Considering the type of character Khashoggi is, it is fully possible he wears the shades to call on this trope.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Galileo and Scaramouche. To the point that once they kiss they actually break up immediately afterwards just to repeat the cycle.
- Stepford Smiler: The Ga Ga kids. So much so that they are described as Stepford Kids in the book.
- But they aren't hiding anything...
- Depends on your viewing of the show, and how much attention is payed to incidental details. During One Vision the dance set-up subtly implies that many of the Ga Ga kids may hide Bohemian tendancies.
- Villain Song: Khashoggi's performance of The Seven Seas of Rhye is performed with all the usual candor of a Villain Song and has a background choir provided by members of La Resistance during Electric Torture.
- Not the mention the Killer Queen's performances of Killer Queen and Another One Bites the Dust
- Villain with Good Publicity: The Killer Queen. She does run the planet after all.
- World of Ham: and how. This play's setting makes the Capitol from The Hunger Games look austere by comparison.
- What Are You in For?: How Scaramouche and Galileo meet.
Scaramouche: So, Gazza, why were you arrested?
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Duh.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Killer Queen to Khashoggi. She doesn't kill him though, she just wipes his mind with the orange helmets, which are implied to be his own creation