In 2002, a musical or "rock theatrical" based on the songs of Queen, titled We Will Rock You, opened at the Dominion Theatre on London's West End. The musical was written by British comedian and author Ben Elton in collaboration with Brian May and Roger Taylor. At various times during the development of the musical the idea of it having a biographical story line was broached. However, none of the remaining members of Queen were comfortable with having even a version of their lives addicted onstage. Therefore, Ben Elton's idea of setting the musical in the future, rock music has been banned, suited the band.
It was co-produced by Queen, their management, theatrical agents and Robert De Niro's own production company.
Robert DeNiro had been at a showing of "Made in Heaven: The Films" at the Canne Film Festival, and had spoken to the band. Essentially, offering his investment if they pursued a theatrical show as his company was eager to start investments in this area.
Director Christopher Renishaw was at the helm of the 7.5 million pound production. Brian in particular through himself into the role coproducer.
For five months, we worked with the actors in the theater and it was one of the most creatively challenging periods of my life.
critically the musical did not fare well with the established press. The musical and some of the most vicious reviews of any West End production. However, whether public were concerned the musical was a smash. The musical has been the most well attended musical in London since its opening. It is intended to the musical will run until at least 2010.
The launch of the musical coincided with Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee. As part of the Jubilee celebrations Brian May performed a guitar solo of "God Save the Queen", as featured on Queen's A Night at the Opera, from the roof of Buckingham Palace. The recording of this performance was used as video for the same song on the 30th Anniversary DVD edition of A Night at the Opera. Roger joined Brian, along with the "cast" of the musical to perform a number of songs. Will Young, winner of the first "Pop Idol" performed We Are The Champions with them to close their set. Phil Collins was originally scheduled to do this, but found the loundness of the band too much for an "ear condition" he had been suffering from.