A revamped version of the official Queen musical, We Will Rock You, is set to hit the road next month, covering over 60 cities across North America through February 2020. The project, which was a massive hit upon opening in London's West End — and has done solid business as a touring revue — only had lukewarm success in Las Vegas, and never made its way to Broadway.
The We Will Rock You North American tour kicks off with a six-night stand — September 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th — at Winnipeg's Centennial Concert Hall. As of now, the tour will wrap up back in Canada on February 7th and 8th at Toronto's Meridian Hall.
Queen's Brian May called on musical director Stuart Morley to revamp the score and get it road-ready for 2019. Stuart Morley told The Calgary Herald, “I’ve re-Queened the score. I’ve made it more like the original Queen. I went to Queen’s studio and I listened to old vocals. This new score is far more accurate and authentic. When they were creating the original score for the musical, they made it more theatrical than authentic. The story behind We Will Rock You has become even more relevant than when Ben Elton originally wrote it, so the story, as well as the music, will have a greater impact.” Morley went on to say, “I’m a purist so I want to bring the score back to its roots. I’ve been given access to tapes no one else has been given to work with. I feel this new version of the musical can be something not even Brian and Roger (Taylor) thought it could become.”
Morley explained that the band's power remains just as strong — if not even stronger — than when Freddie Mercury was alive: “Queen’s music has always had an enormous influence and impact. We went to a recent Queen concert. You knew no one had been dragged there and it was a complete cross-section of concertgoers. There were older fans who’d grown up with Queen and there were new fans of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. Queen’s music is timeless. I am one of the biggest Queen fans there is so I am living my dream.”
We Will Rock You opened on May 14th, 2002 at London's Dominion Theatre in the West End and was initially scorned by the UK critics. At the time, it had taken the better part of six years to get We Will Rock You off the ground, and Brian May explained that most of that time was used just work-shopping the project into a suitable state: “There's been many different script ideas that we've looked at along the way. The beginning was that we looked at the autobiographical approach and pursued it for a long time, and it just became something that didn't work for us for various reasons. And then Ben came up with this unbelievable idea for things which happen in the future, and we just thought, 'This is the perfect vehicle.'”
We Will Rock You failed to finds its legs on the Las Vegas strip, closing much earlier than expected. Roger Taylor told us it was surprising that the show and the Vegas audience failed to click: “We felt the Vegas show was OK, but it didn't. . . the room wasn't really. . . it was a Vegas, Las Vegas room, if y'know what I mean? (It didn't) really quite work as we hoped there. Maybe it's the wrong place, I don't know.”
JUST ANNOUNCED: The “We Will Rock You” North American tour dates (subject to change):
September 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 – Winnipeg, MB – Centennial Concert Hall September 11 – Moorhead, MN – Bluestem Center for the Arts Amphitheater September 12, 13, 14 – Prior Lake, MN – Mystic Lake Casino September 15 – Cedar Falls, IA – Gallagher Bluedorn September 17 – Joliet, IL – Rialto Square Theatre September 18 – Champaign, IL – State Farm Theatre September 19 – Peoria, IL – Peoria Civic Center September 20 – Milwaukee, WI – Miller High Life Theatre September 21 – St. Charles, MO – The Family Arena September 22 – Sioux City, IA – Orpheum Theatre September 24 – Casper, WY – Casper Events Center September 25 – Bozeman, MT – Brick Breeden Fieldhouse September 26 – Missoula, MT – Adams Center September 27 – Boise, ID – CenturyLink Arena Boise September 28 – Spokane, WA – First Interstate Center for the Arts September 30 – Everett, WA – Angel of the Winds Arena October 1 – Federal Way, WA – Federal Way PAEC October 2 – Salem, OR – Historic Elsinore Theatre October 4, 5 – Las Vegas, NV – The Orleans Hotel & Casino October 6 – Bakersfield, CA – Fox Theater October 8 – Stockton, CA – Bob Hope Theatre October 9 – San Jose, CA – Center for the Performing Arts October 10 – Fresno, CA – Warnors Center October 11 – Los Angeles, CA – Microsoft Theater October 12 – Indio, CA – Fantasy Springs Resort Casino October 13 – Chandler, AZ – Chandler Centre October 14 – Prescott Valley, AZ – Prescott Valley Events Center October 16 – Denver, CO – Buell Theatre October 18 – Tulsa, OK – Paradise Cove Margaritaville Casino October 19 – Kansas City, MO – Arvest Bank Theatre October 20 – Enid, OK – Stride Bank Center October 21 – Wichita Falls, TX – Wichita Falls Events Center October 22 – Irving, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory October 24 – Cedar Park, TX – H-E-B Center Cedar Park October 25 – San Antonio, TX – Majestic Theatre October 26 – McAllen, TX – McAllen PAC October 27 – Sugar Land, TX – Smart Financial Center October 28 – Jackson, MS – Thalia Mara Hall October 29 – New Orleans, LA – Saenger Theatre October 30 – Birmingham, AL – Alabama Theatre November 2 – Wilmington, NC – Wilson Center November 3 – Jacksonville, FL – Florida Theatre November 4 – St. Petersburg, FL – The Mahaffey Theater November 6 – Charlotte, NC – Ovens Auditorium November 7 – Raleigh, NC – Raleigh Memorial Auditorium November 8 – Ocean City, MD – Ocean City Performing Arts Center November 9 – Petersburg, VA – VSU Multipurpose Center November 10 – Allentown, PA – PPL Center November 12 – Oxon Hill, MD – MGM National Harbor November 13 – Lowell, MA – Tsongas Center at UMass November 14, 15, 16, 17 – New York, NY – Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden November 19 – Rochester, NY – Kodak Center Theatre November 20 – Lorain, OH – Lorain Palace Theatre November 21 – Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theatre at Old National Centre November 22, 23 – Mt. Pleasant, MI – Soaring Eagle Casino November 24 – Van Wert, OH – Niswonger Performing Arts Centre November 26 – Louisville, KY – Palace Theatre November 27 – Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre November 29, 30 – Windsor, ON – Caesars Windsor Casino December 27, 28 – Calgary, AB – Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium December 30, 31 – Edmonton, AB – Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium January 3 – – Penticton, BC – South Okanagan Events Centre January 4 – Abbotsford, BC – Abbotsford Centre January 10, 11 – Vancouver, BC – Queen Elizabeth Theatre February 7, 8 – Toronto, ON – Meridian Hall