The previously announced return of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, which features a cast of roller-skating actors playing an array of trains, has extended its run at the specially designed Starlight Auditorium at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre.
Luke Sheppard (& Juliet) will direct the production, which is set to begin previews June 8, 2024, with an official opening June 30. Due to ticket demand, performances will now continue through February 16, 2025. Casting will be announced at a later date.
Starlight Express will be the second show produced by Lloyd Webber Harrison Musicals, the new partnership between composer Lloyd Webber and producer Michael Harrison. The first show produced by Lloyd Webber Harrison Musicals, Sunset Boulevard, recently opened at London's Savoy Theatre.
With music by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, Starlight Express will also have set design by Tim Hatley (Back to the Future), video design by Andrzej Goulding (Life of Pi), costume design by Gabriella Slade (Six), lighting design by Howard Hudson (& Juliet), sound design by Gareth Owen (MJ the Musical), new orchestrations and musical supervision by Matthew Brind, and new choreography by Ashley Nottingham (Pacific Overtures) with Arlene Phillips as the creative dramaturg.
Lloyd Webber said in an earlier statement, “I am thrilled that Starlight Express will be powering down the tracks again. The world's first truly immersive musical will this time be an experience like no other. Watch out for the big new plot twist, and you will discover why steam power is the future of the railway.”
Sheppard added, “Nothing comes close to the thrill of Starlight Express, and it’s a privilege to be directing this brand-new production, which will bring audiences right up close to all the music, the wonder and the action that makes this show so iconic. We hope it will take London by storm all over again, and be both a celebration of this legendary work, as well as passing the train set to a new generation in a big, bold, and reimagined way. We can’t wait to get our skates on!"
After its London premiere, Starlight Express opened on Broadway March 15, 1987, playing 22 previews and 761 regular performances at the Gershwin. The musical was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It won the Tony for John Napier's costume designs.
In the musical, a child’s train set magically comes to life, and the engines race to become the fastest in the world. Rusty the steam train has little hope of winning until he is inspired by the legend of the "Starlight Express." Songs include "AC/DC," "Make Up My Heart," "Light at the End of the Tunnel," and the title tune.