Added on 14-Dec-2006
another article....We will rock you, eh?
Canadian version Queen musical could wind up being an unusually mixed cultural cornucopia
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
For a musical centred on the simple idea of salvation through rock music, the Canadian version of We Will Rock You, coming to Toronto's Canon Theatre in March, could wind up being an unusually mixed cultural cornucopia.
The hit show, in its fifth year playing London's West End and based on the songs of the quintessentially 1970s rock band Queen, changes a little in each new locale. Without giving much away, Queen guitarist Brian May said at a press conference in Toronto Wednesday that the Canadian version will probably contain bits of this country's pop culture and even maybe some mentions of Canadian bands.
“The story is about where you guys come from,” May said.
May and Queen drummer Roger Taylor, who also attended the press conference, are working closely with the Canadian production. Final auditions concluded in Toronto this week.
Related to this article
From left, producer David Mirvish, director Ben Elton and Queen band mates Brian May and Roger Taylor appear at a press conference for We Will Rock You in Toronto on Wednesday. (Louie Palu/The Globe and Mail)
West End comes west
Start a conversation on this story
Follow this writer
Add GUY DIXON to my e-mail alerts
Adding to the cultural mix is the musical's British writer-director Ben Elton, a familiar face overseas for his stand-up comedy and TV work. Elton calls both Britain and Australia home, but he was careful to mention Nelly Furtado yesterday to show a grounding in Canadian pop references.
We Will Rock You takes place 300 years in the future, in a dystopian society where synthesized music is programmed by an all-controlling entity called Globalsoft Corp. A guitar and the music of Queen are the only hope.
“My suggestion to Queen was that the show should be a rock colossus,” Elton said. “It should reflect the legendary status that the band holds and that kind of grandiose theatrical scale, and the wit that has shot through their music and their lyrics. So I suggested that we should invent our own legend, and we should go a little King Arthur on the thing.”
So when the Canadian production begins, the all-Canadian cast, backed by an eight-piece rock band picked by May and Taylor, will be singing about a bleak, vaguely Canadian future, albeit as seen through the lens of the show's British creators. The newly picked cast hails from across Canada, and the lead character, Galileo, will be played by Yvan Pedneault, a young French-speaking performer from Sept-Iles, Que., who will have to take English tutoring to prepare for the role.
What will save us in this dismal, distant future? British glam-prog rock. It could only happen on the stage.