Queen musical opens in Tampa

Though panned by critics, 'We Will Rock You' ran for 12 years in London

May 8, 2014 

The first U.S. tour of "We Will Rock You" runs May 13-18 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Paul Kolnikpublicity photo

PAUL KOLNIK

When "We Will Rock You" premiered in London, it garnered some of the worst reviews ever. One critic said that Ben Elton, who wrote the book, should be shot.

But a dozen years later, that same production is still running. It will close at the end of this month.

Now the show's first U.S. tour -- which has a book somewhat altered from the London production -- is coming to Tampa. It will be at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts starting May 13.

It's a jukebox musical based on songs by Queen. Elton's story -- even from the synopsis on the show's official web site -- seems to contort itself to find ways to fit in all the Queen lyrics it can.

It's a dystopian 24th century in which musical instruments are banned. Songs are generated by computer and played on radio GaGa. Underground rebels called the Bohemians talk of a time called the Rhapsody when kids played in bands, and of a hero named Galileo, who will save them. But the cops are looking for Galileo, and if they catch him they'll bring him to the Killer Queen.

Sounds pretty silly, but it'll have lots of great Queen songs, and that's what most people who go see this show will really care about.

Details: May 13-18, in Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $46.50-$81.50 plus service charge. Information: 813-229-7827, www.strazcenter.org.

-- Marty Clear

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