Having recently celebrated its 10th birthday, and played over 4,000 performances to an audience of over 6.4 million in London alone, Queen and Ben Elton's West End smash hit show "We Will Rock You" is releasing a special 10th Anniversary edition of the original cast recording.
Having already surpassed platinum sales in its original version, this new edition comes specially redesigned and repackaged to mark its tenth year, and now comes as a 2 CD and DD set made up of the original CD plus a bonus disc of 11 previously unavailable tracks including performances by Queen.
In a well-documented new 20 page booklet packaged into the new CD set we find out that it was a chance encounter in August 1996 between Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor with acting legend Robert De Niro at the Venice film Festival have brought us to this celebration of a decade of "We Will Rock You". When at that meeting in Venice De Niro raised the question: "Have you ever thought of making a musical? My daughter loves your music", unstoppable wheels were set in motion.
Fast forward to May 2012, and the appearance of Robert De Niro once more in the company of May and Taylor: this time in London, and as joint producers of "We Will Rock You", together celebrating an unbroken 10 year run of the show at London's Dominion Theatre. It is worth noting that no other musical show previously staged here, including the screen version of "The Sound of Music", managed to run beyond three years in this venue which boasts itself one of the West End's biggest.
Undaunted by the scale of its vast surroundings, "We Will Rock You", continues to book at the Dominion long into 2013, making it a fair certainty that it will outrun all previous residencies by as much as four times.
And there is no waning in the public appetite for the show: in March 2011, after almost nine years of being performed, "We Will Rock You" was voted the UK's favourite show, at the Olivier awards, British theatre's answer to the Oscars. The musical received the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Audience Award, the only category decided entirely by members of the public, coming out top in a shortlist which set it against "Billy Elliot The Musical", "Jersey Boys" and "Les Miserables".
So firmly entrenched has Ben Elton and Queen's musical become, it is now officially the 9th longest running show currently playing in the West End in a chart dominated by The Mousetrap which has run for 58 years and Les Misérables which has played for 25 years.
But it is not only on its London stage that "We Will Rock You" has left such a heavy footprint: since the London opening the show has been seen in local productions in more than 30 cities across the world, and in virtually every case, had to be repeatedly extended to meet public demand. The Toronto production, initially scheduled to for a seven week season at the Canon Theatre in 2007, played for 61 weeks before being transferred to the Panasonic Theatre, with its run in the city extended 17 times. It continued to be performed until June 2009. Between the two theatres, WWRY played 788 performances and reached an audience of 1 million.
The original twelve month German run, which began in 2004 in Cologne, continued to be extended to run for over three and a half years. The show carried on being performed in Germany until a final run in Berlin in October 2011. It will reopen in Germany next year.
With an additional 33 minutes of music peformances, the bonus disc of live cuts, remixes and alternative versions highlights some of the stand-out performances from productions from around the globe, including Australia, Spain and Germany, where for certain productions, some or all songs were presented in local translation versions.
Hence, from the Spanish production, "No-One But You" is sung as "Sólo Por Ti", "Headlong" as "Sin Control", and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" becomes "Algo Loco Es El Amor". In an interesting fact, the liner notes point out that in Spain, all of the songs were translated except one…"Fat Bottomed Girls". This one appears to have totally baffled the Spanish translators. It remained sung in English.