On 12 June 1988, the production opened at a specially built venue, the Starlighthalle in Bochum, Germany. It is currently the only permanent production of Starlight Express playing. It has been seen by more than 16 million people as of 2017.

Production Specifics

The Bochum production, while a descendant of Broadway, reverted to the original London version of the show for many elements of the plot, including some of the later London changes. The Broadway four race structure remained, but in the interests of nationalism, Weltschaft (soon re-named Ruhrgold) the German engine was swapped with Bobo the French engine, so that he was in the final race. Belle was entirely removed, having been proved incompatible with the four-race structure on Broadway. The production opened with 4 Rockies, but soon reverted back to 3. Rocky IV can now be seen in the foyer, along with Weltschaft, cast in bronze. The production remained mostly unaltered artistically until after the London production closed.

The 1988 production featured the opening overture and skate round from London, but the running order bore more relation to Broadway. The Broadway song "Engine of Love", translated to "Liebesexpress", introduced Rusty and the Coaches rather than "Call Me Rusty". "Ne Lok mit Locomotion" ("A Lotta Locomotion") remains in the style of the Original London, with all four coaches singing. "Pumping Iron" comes after "AC/DC", as a direct challenge from the current champion to the newcomer. "Hilf Mir Verstehn" ("Make Up My Heart"), as Broadway, followed, with Pearl eventually opting for Electra.

Plot Revisions

In 2003, the late London song "Crazy" was put into the show between "Pumping Iron" and "Hilf Mir Verstehn" ("Make Up My Heart"), with "Liebesexpress" ("Engine of Love"), which fulfills much the same purpose, greatly shortened. At the same time "Allein im Licht der Sterne" ("Next Time You Fall In Love") replaced "Du Allein" ("Only You"). The Late London style "Megamix" was added to the end of the show, though the excerpts from the show's songs are not in the same order.

October 2006 saw the assimilation of the second US tour Hip Hoppers, replacing the Rockies. In 2007 the Rap was altered again, adding the beginning of the UK Tour version, and pyrotechnical effects can be seen when Electra enters and Greaseball skates at high speed.

Greaseball Electra Rap b12 27

"The Rap" - including song list as of 2012.

In 2008, the "Overture" was replaced by "The Entry of the National Trains" (moved from prior to "AC/DC"). "Engine of Love" was cut completely, with the melody recycled for Pearl's ballad "Dann pfeift er mir zu" ("He'll Whistle at Me"), in a new German translation. To replace "Engine of Love", the shortened version of "Call Me Rusty" ("Nennt mich rostig") was introduced. Caboose's duet with Dinah "There's Me" was cut. The title song was reworked to "When your good-nights have been said" version, as later London. "The Rap" was now the "It's Race Time" version. The final duet between Rusty and Pearl was re-worked to the UK tour version of "Only He" ("Nur mit Ihm").

In 2013 the love-song was replaced yet again, this time with the German translation of "I Do" ("Für Immer"), and "Whole Lotta Locomotion" ("Nie Genug") added. Other songs, like "G.E.K.U.P.P.E.L.T." ("U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D.") were re-translated, as well as the show being re-choreographed and the lighting, sound and orchestrations updated.

The 2018, 30th anniversary production is planned to have a considerable re-working of the show, in line with material developed from the Workshop in 2017. This includes a gender change from "Papa" to "Mama", and the introduction of character(s) named "Killerwatt[1]". In the workshop, this character replaced Krupp, who was cut from the German production in 2017.

The Theatre


The Starlighthalle was built especially for the production in an extraordinary time of less than one year. Both the special building and record breaking build time were documented in the Guinness Book of Records. The Starlighthalle was specially designed for the show, with large tracks on two levels in a U-like shape with the audience sitting in the middle and around these tracks. On stage the tracks even run over three levels which allows several race combinations. In 2003 a 'Y' shaped track was added to the smallest inner track, the Parkett, dividing it into 3 seating areas and allowing greater flexibility of staging and more tricks for the skaters. A good impression of the Starlighthalle can be seen on the Official Website from a 360° panorama view and lots of high resolution pictures from the show, featuring the current cast.


In March 2008, Starlight Express ran a talent competition with German Television to find the next Rusty and Pearl. The show started on 31 March and was called 'Musical Showstar 2008'. The competition was won by Kevin Köhler and Anna-Maria Schmidt. Schmidt dropped out of training, but Köhler premiered as Rusty on 1 August 2008.

The show advertises as "Das rasanteste Musical im Universum!" ("The fastest musical in the universe!")

News Articles

Children's Workshop Days - 2010 onwards

Public Promotion appearances - 2014

The Stage - May 2016

One Night Only - English performance The Guardian, April 2017


1988 Cast

Photo gallery
1988 Cast
Rusty Steven Michael Skeels Pearl Maria Jane Hyde
Greaseball Paul Kribbe Dinah Natalie Howard
Poppa Trevor Michael Georges Ashley Roslyn Howell
Electra Eric Clausell Buffy Carol Hoffman
Rocky 1 Lamott Atkins Krupp Wilton Anderson
Rocky 2 Sebastian Craig Wrench Louise Conte
Rocky 3 Gregory McKinnon Purse Christopher Todd
Rocky 4 Rodney McGuire Joule Janina Baucke
Flat-top Michael Rivera Volta Leesa Osborn
Dustin Garry Noakes Gang Steven Dry
Caboose Hans Johansson Gang Nigel Casey
Bobo Allan Edwards Swing Gabriella Almerigi
Espresso Frido Ruth Swing Jan Apel
Weltschaft Jens Klarskov Swing Martin Boothe
Turnov Hansgeorg Gantert Swing Claudia Bradley
Hashamoto Ric Mount Swing Renee Chambers
Swing Nicky Forsyth Swing Petra Friedl
Swing Simon Harrison-Scott Swing Kapa Kitchen
Swing Peter Liciaga Swing John Little
Swing Alfonzo Marino Swing Glenn Neate
Swing Windsor Robinson Swing Marc-Anthony Satan
Swing Johanne Simpson

Further Cast Information

1988 - 1997

1998 - 2007

2008 - Present

Current Cast 2017 - 2018

Rusty Michael Pickering Pearl Carla Pullen
Greaseball Ben Carruthers Dinah Abigail Dever
Poppa Reginald H Jennings Ashley Sian Velazquez
Electra Richard Woodford Buffy Serina Mathew
Hip Hopper 1 Cyrus Brandon Krupp *CUT*
Hip Hopper 2 Garry Kessing Wrench Hannah Kiss
Hip Hopper 3 Dennis Spee Purse Anthony Starr
Flat-top James Marshall Joule Lucy Glover
Dustin Gavin Ashbarry Volta Dawn Leigh Woods
Caboose Daniel Ellison Trax Manuel Reckow
Trax Etienne Vogel Trax Alex Deutschmann
Bobo Daniel Holley Swing Gemma Archer
Hashamoto Paddy Joe Martin Swing Zoe Hershaw
Ruhrgold Karl Seal Swing Lacy Jordinson
Turnov Dan Partridge Swing Danielle Lockwood
Espresso Darius James Swing Rose Oulette
Swing Cary Chennell Swing Brad Corben
Swing Ben Draper Swing Will Luckett
Swing Marc McFayden Swing Andrew Millar
Swing Corey Mitchell Swing Tom Nihill
Swing Oliver Roll Swing Stuart Rouse
Swing Gary Sheridan Swing Paul Shipp

Song List

1988 Running Order

Act One Act Two
Ouverture - full overture, Nationals and Gang Parade
Rolling Stock Hymne
Liebesexpress (Taunting Rusty) G.E.K.U.P.P.E.L.T.
Endlich kommt Girls Rolling Stock (Dinah Es Ehrt Dich- Intro Mein Spiel)
Pearl, das kann nicht wahr sein Mein Spiel
'Ne Lok mit Locomotion Das 3. Rennen (Das War Betrug)
Fracht ist Macht (Entry of Nationals) Nicht der rechte Zeitpunkt, nicht der rechte Ort (Rusty Alone)
AC/DC Starlight Sequenz
Pumping Iron Rusty und Dustin
Fracht Reprise/Coda Freight (Hitching and Switching) Dinahs Trennung/Dinah's Disco (Pre-race 4)
Pearl, welche Ehre Das 4. Rennen
Hilf mir verstehn Ein Rock'n'Roll zuviel (After Rock 'n Roll)
Das 1. Rennen Du Allein (Gluckwunsch Rusty)
Das war unfair Ein Licht ganz am Ende des Tunnels
Dein Freund/Ganz Allein
Papas Blues (After Blues)
Das 2. Rennen
Starlight Express

2017 Running Order

Act One Act Two
Overture / Skate Round The Rap "What Time Is It?"
Rolling Stock G.E.K.U.P.P.E.L.T.
Nennt mich rostig Girls Rolling Stock
Pearl, das kann nicht wahr sein Mein Spiel
Nie genug Das 3. Rennen
Dann pfeift er mir zu Nicht der rechte Zeitpunkt
Fracht Starlight Sequenz
Entry of Nationals Rusty und Dustin
AC/DC Dinah's Trennung
Pumping Iron Das 4. Rennen
Fracht Reprise Ein Rock'n'Roll zu viel
Crazy Für immer
Hilf mir versteh'n Ein Licht ganz am Ende des Tunnels
Das 1. Rennen Für immer (Reprise)
Papa's Blues Megamix
Das 2. Rennen
Starlight Express
  1. Audition for Rusty, Electra, and Killerwatt, 2018