Queen Likes Odds for 'Rock You' in Vegas

Source: Hollywood Reporter July 2004

Submitted by: Maz

Queen is getting ready to rock Las Vegas.

The legendary group's stage musical 'We Will Rock You,' which has been playing to sold-out crowds in London since 2002, will make its North American debut at the Paris Las Vegas hotel on the Strip. Preview performances start in August, and the show will premiere Sept. 8.

Similar to ABBA's smash 'Mamma Mia,' which now calls Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay home, 'Rock You' intertwines the songs of Queen into a rock 'n' roll story line.

'It's been very successful to a very wide demographic in London, and we had a good feeling about Las Vegas because it's really a sample of the whole United States,' Queen guitarist Brian May (news) says. 'It's real people and very mixed in age, profession, sex and color. In a way, it's more real than a Broadway situation, which has an established theatergoing audience and probably has an expectation that will be different.

'We have a show that is a different animal. Maybe in time Broadway will be ready and we will be ready, but at the moment, we thought, let's jump in and do what we do in London -- we play to the people.'

The show will be presented at the Paris Las Vegas in association with Tribeca Theatrical Prods. co-founders Robert De Niro (news) and Jane Rosenthal as well as May and Queen drummer Roger Taylor. The story, written by Ben Elton, is set in a homogenized future society where a group of rebels sets out to find out what rock 'n' roll is.

'We really didn't think about anyplace else first,' Rosenthal says. 'We wanted to come to Vegas. So we're here.'

Bobby Yee, president of Paris Las Vegas, which is a Caesars Entertainment resort, says the Paris Le Theater des Arts has added 350 seats to bring the capacity to 1,470. Additionally, the theater features laser light effects and six plasma screens. 'Rock You' will stay at Paris for 10 years, with options to extend to 20 years. Tickets are priced at $80.50, $97 and $113.50.

Caesars Entertainment has become an expert at bringing high-profile, long-term shows to the Strip, as seen with Celine Dion (news)'s 'A New Day' and Elton John (news)'s 'The Red Piano' at Caesars Palace.

'When you talk about Celine or Elton, you associate it with Caesars,' Yee says, 'and now when you talk about 'We Will Rock You,' you know it's Paris.'

This marks Tribeca's first foray into theater, and Rosenthal says there also are talks to do a Queen film.

The show is all live, and May says he and Taylor were very involved with choosing the cast.

Putting together a stage show that features such hits as 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'We Are the Champions' and 'Another One Bites the Dust' was not easy.

'It's been a huge challenge to move our stuff into the theater without compromising the music and keeping our integrity,' May says. 'We've had endless arguments. It's been a long road and a very interesting journey.'

There also are plans for a North America touring production of the show.

May says 'Rock You' is a great way for Queen's music to live on, even in the absence of their flamboyant singer Freddie Mercury (news), who died of AIDS (news - web sites) in 1991.

'Freddie would love (the show); he would adore it,' May says. 'We all feel that he's very much with us. We were so close. We can very often feel what he would have said in a particular situation. We miss him; that's always going to be the case.'