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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 11 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 28
We Will Rock You - delivers what is promised!
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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We Will Rock You - delivers what is promised!

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

WE WILL ROCK YOU
5TH AVENUE THEATRE
Through July 13


The music of the rock group QUEEN - with lead vocals by Freddie Mercury - has become an iconic part of American musical history. Based on the music created by Queen (and a book by Ben Elton) the Broadway musical takes its title from one of the group's biggest hits. We Will Rock You has rolled into Seattle at the 5th Avenue Theatre earlier this week and is rocking the Emerald City through the weekend.

The story takes place in the far future. Earth (renamed iPlanet) has been consumed by cyber life - everyone programmed and downloaded from the Internet. The ruler of the planet is the evil Killer Queen. All forms of music have been outlawed and all musical instruments have been destroyed. A Prophecy has been foretold about a Dreamer, who hears - in words and music - voices from the far past, and who will overthrow the current Ruler. Two rebels have risen in the ranks; a boy named Galileo and a girl he has renamed Scaramouche. They escape to meet up with the Bohemians - the rebels searching for their rhapsody. With the musical guidance of the sacred videotape (and quotes from practically every rock song), Galileo gathers the Bohemians and rediscovers Rock 'N' Roll.

The voices are all excellent. Brian Justin Crum (Galileo) has a wonderful voice that's suited for Queen's eclectic music. Towards the end of the musical he even starts doing a good impression of Freddy Mercury's expressions and strutting about on stage. Ruby Lewis (Scaramouche) owns that stage and has made it her bitch! When she first appears, Scaramouche seems tiny in stature - almost mousey. But when she opens her mouth to sing, it projects far across the stage and into the rafters at the back of the theater. From the first notes of 'Somebody to Love' until the very end of the musical, Ms. Lewis' vocals are not only impressive, but a pure rock n' roll joy to listen to! There's not any one individual (or even as a group) that fails to deliver a good performance.

The issue is We Will Rock You is like the bastard child of Mamma Mia! and Rock of Ages, but unfortunately lacks the quality camp of its parentage. The music has been adjusted to fit the storyline. But while the ABBA musical changed only a few words to make it more gender specific, the Keepers of Freddie Mercury's Legacy have taken more liberties with the libretto and the changes are noticeable. The script (by Ben Elton) seems labored throughout and the ending of the show just kind of fizzles into nothing. There's no big climax or revelation to appease an audience - except the encore performance - spoiler alert - it's 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' So make sure not to dart out early; and stay for the encore. The music is - of course - FANTASTIC! But that's because Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor or John Deacon wrote every song; the exception is 'Under Pressure,' which is written by Queen and David Bowie. All the classics are here from 'Radio Ga Ga,' 'Killer Queen,' 'Somebody to Love,' 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' (which Queen wrote, not Elvis!), and of course, 'We Are the Champions,' as well as the title song. The audience does need to adjust hearing the Classic Rock reworked for group/choral singing and that can take a little getting used to.

We Will Rock You is fun and entertaining. The music reminds the audience of the wonderful talent possessed by Freddie Mercury and how much the world misses his eclectic performance.

We Will Rock You first opened in London's West End on May 14, 2002 and played for 12 years - only recently closing on May 31. Opening to mix reviews the show persisted and became an audience favorite - undergoing workshops and revisions since, including updating its storyline. The musical has toured the world playing in Spain, Australia, Japan, and Russia among many other countries.

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