Walking into the 5th Avenue Theatre, I thought that I would be sitting down for a concert with small bits of scripting between songs, so I was not ready at all for what I saw, and I was, quite literally, overwhelmed. Lights flashed, disco balls spun, and then the curtain rose, revealing a screen that carried a message of hope. By this point I was completely curious as to what would happen next, and I wasn’t disappointed. Swinging from one Queen tune to the next with witty quips, pop-culture references, sassy dancing, and fantastic set changes, I enjoyed myself and felt quite entertained by this take on one of the most classic, beloved bands in the history of rock and roll.
The outlawing of music has been a plot point in a few musicals, namely Footloose. That is repeated again in We Will Rock You. However, the thing that sets this apart from having a stereotypical plot and expectedly feel-good dance numbers is the rock-solid directing, the classic music from Queen, the concert-like lighting, and the fact that the lead characters — Galileo and Scaramouche — don’t know what they are supposed to do about Galileo’s dreams and differences until almost halfway through the musical.
On opening night, there were a few problems — mainly microphones that were intermittent, slightly off-time choreography, in-your-face spotlighting, and, on occasion, not having a light where it needed to be when it was supposed to be there. In general, however, We Will Rock You was a brilliant take on a classic plot with music from a well-loved band. The actors and actresses were amazing, especially Jacqueline Arnold who simply crushed it as Killer Queen, Ruby Lewis with her beautiful voice as Scaramouche, Ryan Knowles as the rather silly and quite interesting Buddy, and Brian Justin Crum who persevered through the technical difficulties and was simply brilliant as Galileo.
The music was incredible as well, and I hummed my way through the whole show because the soundtrack is liberally peppered with classics such as “Killer Queen,” “We Will Rock You,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and many more. I highly recommend going to see this while it is here. I promise you won’t regret it, and I hope to make it back to see it a second time.
We Will Rock You
5th Avenue Theatre
July 8 - 13