The Queen musical We Will Rock You will make its American debut at the Paris in Las Vegas, with previews on August 16th and an official premiere in September. The show, which launched in London’s West End in 2002, features twenty of the band’s hits including “We Are the Champions,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
“We’re very excited,” says Queen guitarist Brian May, who along with drummer Roger Taylor and actor Robert DeNiro is among the show’s producers. “This is a dream. We really grew up [in the U.S.] and so it’s something we had to do — we had to come back to the States and plant our feet firmly here. We’re completely thrilled.”
After its successful two-year run in London, We Will Rock You will be adapted to American sensibilities. “I think getting the humor right is the biggest challenge,” says May. “Luckily we have a great writer in Ben Elton, who’s pretty much a legend in England and that’s mainly his area, but we interact with each other a lot. Actually, Roger and I have more experience with Americans and their sense of humor, so we’re able to pitch in quite a lot.”
Queen’s music itself has already made its impact in America. Between 1975 and 1984, May and Taylor along with bassist John Deacon and late frontman Freddie Mercury scored thirteen Top Forty hits in the States, including two Number Ones. “The songs will translate fine,” says May, “there ain’t a problem there. The show is very much built on local folklore, and ‘local’ means whichever country the show is operating in. So in this case it will be built on the history of rock & roll in the States.”
We Will Rock You takes aim at pre-fab society, and, according to May, it has become even more timely. “The genesis of the show was about three years ago — with the boy bands and Big Brother and all these strange reality TV shows,” he says. “We thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s not going to very relevant for very long.’ But actually, it seems to be getting more and more relevant. Things seem to be getting more and more homogenized, and it’s getting scary how much the show keeps predicting the future.”
May and his fellow producers plan to develop a longer form of the musical to tour the United States next year, as well as opening a Canadian edition of We Will Rock You in Toronto.