The costumes for the original production of Starlight Express in 1984 were designed by John Napier. He created ambitious designs, which had to be modified in construction given limited time, available techniques and materials, and budget. When the show transferred to Broadway in 1987, Napier updated a lot of the character designs, while other costumes were able to be made to the original design, but with a far more detailed realisation than in the original production. He returned to Starlight in 2018, redesigning the costumes for the Bochum revisions.
The first photo (taken Open Day 2016) shows the multiple snaps holding the neck band to the fabric base. The fastenings to hold the shoulder boxes to the base are very hard to see (again, sorry about the blurry photo that would otherwise show them!) But they consist of fabric straps - referring to other Starlight costumes would suggest these straps feed through D rings or square rings, and snap back onto themselves. This is all so the hardware is removable from the fabric base, to allow the base to be washed.
The trains debate whether Rusty should be allowed to take Poppa's place in the finals, since he's already competed and lost, or whether the place should go instead to Bobo, who finished second in Poppa's heat (\"The Rap\"). They ultimately decide to let Rusty race. Control offers the engines the chance to change partners. Pearl abandons Electra and joins Greaseball, leaving Dinah feeling betrayed. Dinah expresses her shame at being uncoupled, although she cannot bring herself to say the word itself (\"U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D.\"). Ashley, Buffy and Belle try to persuade Dinah to fight for Greaseball's affections (\"Rolling Stock (Reprise)\"), but instead she accepts an offer from Electra to replace Pearl in the finals. Elsewhere, C.B. hatches a plan. He tells Greaseball he will help him win the championship by sabotaging Rusty. He then tells Electra he will wipe out Greaseball, clearing the way for Electra to win. When Electra expresses his surprise at C.B.'s duplicity, C.B. explains that he has spent a career secretly causing train crashes for fun (\"C.B.\").
Created by the original team of Trevor Nunn (direction), Arlene Phillips (choreography) and John Napier (design), this version of Starlight Express was extensively revised from the original West End production. The story was localised, with the trains now racing across America for a trophy called the \"silver dollar\". The plot was streamlined, with one fewer race compared to the West End production. Lloyd Webber and Stilgoe also made many changes to the music and lyrics, notably adding a ballad for Pearl, \"Make Up My Heart\", which has been included in every production since, and a reworked version of \"Engine of Love\", the novelty pop song Lloyd Webber wrote in 1977 for Earl Jordan. Additional adjustments were made to the costumes of characters including giving Rusty a \"Starlight Express\" outfit, which was deemed too similar to the rolling stock uniforms. This was eventually removed due to lack of quick-change time, and the costume not being different enough.
In 2017 Lloyd Webber visited the production for the charity gala in which the show was performed in English, and found it 'unrecognisable' following years of incremental revisions. Arlene Phillips added that in 2018 the 'overall tone of the show [now appeared] a little bit sexist'. Lloyd Webber resolved to shut down the production if he could not find a way to 'get Starlight back to its roots'. He wrote new material, which was workshopped for six performances at The Other Palace in London in September 2017 before being rolled out in Bochum. Phillips directed the stripped back workshop production with no set, costumes or roller skates. These changes included:
An abridged, 90-minute production without an intermission opened at the Las Vegas Hilton on 14 September 1993, with direction by Arlene Phillips and with Reva Rice and Greg Ellis reprising their roles of Pearl and Rusty. Several songs were cut and many lyrics trimmed to make it fit into its 90-minute run time with great care taken to preserve the integrity of the plot. This production was the first permanent legitimate musical theatre production in Las Vegas, however concessions were made in the form of a shortened run time and betting references in the race sequences. Additionally, partway through the run the Coaches' costumes were given a \"Vegas Showgirl\" makeover. This production used the filmed race sequences from the first US tour (which played in the background during the live races on stage), as well as some of the set pieces. When the hotel changed ownership, the new owners decided to end the run before its 5-year contract concluded, with the show closing on 30 November 1997.
From October 1997 until April 1998, a Spanish-language production entitled Expreso Astral played at the Teatro Polanco in Mexico City. For the most part, it was a Spanish language version of the Las Vegas production (using the same edited script) with costumes and sets inspired by several earlier productions. The production was directed by Bobby Love, with the Spanish translation by Marco Villafan. Many of the character's names were Hispanicized, with Rusty becoming Ferro, Pearl becoming Perla, Poppa becoming El Jefe, and the National Engines were localised with Carioca, a Brazilian train, and Pibe, an Argentinian train. A cast recording of this production was made but, owing to complications with the rights, was never released.
A downsized version of the Broadway production, with a few changes, toured the US and Canada from November 1989 until April 1991. Rather than scaling the show up to fill stadiums, the set was small enough to fit regular regional theaters. The show was very much the same as the Australian/Japanese touring production with the \"Silver Dollar\" subplot being removed and the character of Memphis Belle being cut completely. With the \"Silver Dollar\" plot removed, an abbreviated version of \"The Rap\" from London was used to open Act II. The races were mostly shown on film, however a small race track extended out into the audience. The costumes were based on the original Broadway production and some were recycled directly from that earlier production.
In 2009, following an extended run in Europe, the props and costumes from the second UK tour were shipped to New Zealand to form a new production. This production played arenas in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland in July and August 2009, and featured some performers from various other international productions.
Mr. Lloyd Webber doesn't set plays to music. He needs ``a musical'' to be first and foremost a collection of theatrical ideas that have no particular form or meaning until they are given musical expression. He insists that the musical is a separate genre, and so his collaborators are encouraged to find new methods of presentation, in design, dance, light, and sound. We are all concerned, in a phrase, with the pursuit of total theater, with all the elements coalescing in an experience that is involving, and above all, live - like a sporting event.
This Broadway ``musical'' by Andrew Lloyd Webber is a huge, pounding spectacle in which the actors personify speeding trains. On roller skates. On three stage levels that move and glitter. Plus singing. Plus wearing costumes weighing from 30 to 60 pounds. ``Sometimes I can't believe people are paying me to do this,'' says Reva Rice, who plays Pearl, the starring female role.
Well, for one thing I have two pairs of skates. I use one pair and the other pair is always in the shop for maintenance. There is a lot of wear on the stops at the front of the skates. My costume can weigh about 30 pounds which is one of the lighter ones. Some of the men's costumes weigh as much as 60 pounds because they have to resemble train engines. When we rehearsed for the show we wore lots of pads and practiced at a slow pace until we had all the moves down; then we went to the theatre and learned how to handle all the racing on the different levels. It was incredible at first, but then we became old pros at jumping gaps if we were ahead of the time when the bridge swung around and connected with another part of the set. Now we just jump the gap no matter what it is - two inches or a foot.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical 'Starlight Express' arrived at the Regent Theatre in Hanley on its 2006 UK Tour. The production, renowned for its loud music, colourful costumes and roller skating characters - is one of the biggest shows ever shown at the Regent.
Exactly 30 years after the premiere on June 12, 1988 in Bochum, the successful musical celebrated not only its birthday, but also the world premiere of the new, completely revised show by Andrew Lloyd Webber. An innovative light, sound and projection technology, even more imaginative costumes, wigs and make-ups and numerous new earwigs create a completely new modern Starlight Express look that should not be missed.
In 1981, Andrew Lloyd Webber scored what turned out to be the biggest success of his career with Cats, a lightly plotted musical using contemporary pop/rock music that was dominated by its costumes, staging, and choreography, and appealed primarily to children. Teaming up again with director Trevor Nunn, Lloyd Webber also repeated many of the essential elements of Cats in his next musical, 1984's Starlight Express. Where Cats was about felines, Starlight Express was about trains, with the actors portraying engines and sidecars in elaborate costumes, recreating the effect of trains on tracks by riding around the theater on roller skates. The plot, such as it was, had to do with a race. But the score consisted largely of what in the theater are called \"I am\" songs, in which individual characters introduce themselves. Thus, like Cats, which took its lyrics from poems by T.S. Eliot, Starlight Express was as much a collection of individual songs as a theater score. Lloyd Webber stuck largely to current pop/rock styles circa 1984, and that meant lots of synthesizers and percussive dance tracks. He also found space, however, to include pastiches of blues, rap, country, and gospel music that were little more than lampoons and often revealed their composer's ignorance of the forms. For example, \"The Rap\" was more reminiscent of the rhythmic \"Rock Island\" opening of The Music Man, itself set on a train, than of the rap music of the 1980s. Richard Stilgoe's lyrics were simplistic and often a bit suggestive for a children's show. The ensemble cast was adequate, but overwhelmed by both the music and the staging. The show opened in London on March 27, 1984, and was an immediate hit. This original cast album was recorded live and in the studio the following month. It was released belatedly in the U.S. on May 9, 2000. 59ce067264