Starlight Express ran for 18 years in the West End, spawned touring productions around the world, and holds a Guinness World Record for its production in Germany, where it’s been running since 1988.
And now, the wheels are in motion to bring it back to London.
Generally agreed to be Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most bonkers musical (and there are a few strong contenders), Starlight Express is the story of young steam engine Rusty, who enters a racing tournament in the hopes of impressing Pearl, a first-class carriage. So far, so typical. Ah, except one other thing – the cast perform the whole thing on roller-skates.
It’s returning to London in summer 2024, and will be staged in the custom-built ‘Starlight Auditorium’ at the Troubadour Theatre in Wembley Park. The details on that are still under wraps, but in the show’s original run the theatre was fitted with race tracks around the stalls and dress circle. The teaser for the 2024 production promises that audiences will be “immersed” as a cast of 40 whizz “around and above.” So as far as we’re concerned, it could be like sitting inside Space Mountain… but somehow even more 80s.
That said, this is going to be a brand new production of Starlight Express, so there’ll be a few tweaks – those power-shoulder-heavy costumes will be updated by Six designer Gabriella Slade, while the classic Lloyd Webber songs will be getting some new orchestration courtesy of Matthew Brind. They’ve also brought on the video designer from Life of Pi, Andrzej Goulding, so it sounds like the set will have some pretty ambitious new elements, too. Lloyd Webber himself has even spoken about a “big new plot twist” that will show you why “steam power is the future of the railway.”
Which is intriguing, to say the least…
NOTE: Starlight Express returns to London in June 2024. Tickets are on sale now – you can book HERE.
Starlight Express | Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, 3 Fulton Road, Wembley Park, Wembley HA9 0SP
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