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Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ closing in London after 12 years

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Published : 2014-03-12 20:23
Updated : 2014-03-12 20:23

LONDON (AFP) ― The Queen musical “We Will Rock You” is to close in its London home after 12 straight years, producers said Tuesday.

The show, which has played to more than 6.5 million people at the Dominion Theatre, will close on May 31 after what will be more than 4,600 performances.

The musical, set in a future where music is computer-generated and instruments banned, sees a group of rebels bringing rock back to life, inspired by surviving fragments of songs ― chiefly Queen’s masterpiece “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The story, penned by comedian and writer Ben Elton and co-produced by Robert De Niro, uses a barrage of Queen hits such as “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Are The Champions” and the title track.

“It’s actually quite heartbreaking to lose this great talented family, who have all given much more than the job demanded in terms of energy and devotion,” Queen’s guitarist Brian May said on his website.

“But some day ‘We Will Rock You’ will rise again in its home city.”
Former Queen guitarist Brian May (right) and dancer Brigitte Oelke perform in the musical “We Will Rock You” in Berlin in 2010. (AFP)

The 2,000-seater Dominion Theatre has a giant statue of late Queen singer Freddie Mercury outside, which has become something of a London landmark.

No reason was given for the show closing but it comes a fortnight after it was announced that West End mainstay Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical, “Stephen Ward,” is to close after just four months following sluggish ticket sales.

According to the Society of London Theatre, “We Will Rock You” is the 10th-longest-running musical of all time in London’s West End theater district, and the fifth longest still running, behind “Les Miserables,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Mamma Mia!” and “The Lion King.”

16 million spectators worldwide

Launching the spectacle in 2002 ― 11 years after Mercury died ― was a gamble that paid off for Queen, breathing new life into their music by allowing fans to enjoy their hits live once more.

“To have the show rocking the Dominion and seeing a standing ovation night after night has been quite amazing. We wish the show every success for the future,” said the theater’s general manager David Pearson.

The Dominion will now be refurbished for a new production in 2015, he said.

While London has been the show’s home, it has been performed in 28 countries and seen by a more than 16 million people worldwide.

A version is touring North America at the moment, while a German-language version will play in Munich and Frankfurt from September.

The show’s performers and musicians are hand-picked by Elton, May and Queen drummer Roger Taylor.

A sequel, using songs not in the existing musical, has long been mooted.

Queen ― bassist John Deacon, May, Mercury and Taylor ― are among the world’s biggest-selling artists ever, with most of the British group’s sales coming since Mercury died in 1991.

Deacon retired in 1997 and has since vanished from the public eye but May and Taylor still keep the Queen flag flying. They are set to tour North American arenas in June and July with U.S. singer Adam Lambert.

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