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Starlight Express opened in Bochum, Germany on 12 June 1988 at a specially-built venue, the Starlight Express Theater (formerly the Starlighthalle).

The production is still playing. It is currently the only permanent production of Starlight Express. As of 2017, the production has been seen by more than 16 million people.

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

Translation into German

Richard Stilgoe's lyrics were translated in German by Sabine Grohmann and Wolfgang Adenberg.

Differences to Previous Productions

The Bochum production mostly followed the roadmap set by the Japan/Australia tour. However, it also used some elements of the London production.

As with tour, the Bochum production:

  • followed the 4-race structure (rather than London's 5).
  • cut the character of Belle (who was part of the show in London)
  • featured "Engine of Love" and "Make Up My Heart" (rather than "Call Me Rusty" and "He Whistled at Me" in London)
  • placed "Pumping Iron" after "AC/DC" (rather than after "Freight")
  • used 4 Rockies (rather than London's 3)

However, the production used the London Overture and a version of "A Lotta Locomotion" featuring all 4 coaches. The race winners were also tweaked, with the German Engine going through to the final, instead of the French Engine.

Revisions

2003

"Crazy" was put into the show between "Pumping Iron" and "Make Up My Heart" ("Hilf Mir Verstehn"). "Engine of Love" ("Liebesexpress") was greatly shortened. "Next Time You Fall In Love" ("Allein im Licht der Sterne") replaced "Only You" ("Du Allein"). A version of the "Megamix" was added to the end of the show.

2006

October saw the assimilation of the second US tour Hip Hoppers, replacing the Rockies.

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.

2008

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 "He'll Whistle at Me" ("Dann pfeift er mir zu"), 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 reworked to the UK tour version of "Only He" ("Nur mit Ihm").

2013

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

2018

Bochum 2018 poster

The 30th anniversary saw major revisions, similar in scale to the 1992 'New' Starlight Express in London. The reworked material strongly resembled the 2017 Workshop.

Multiple character changes were made:

The story was also refocused to redress the gender imbalance. To this end, a female character was added to each "set" of characters:

  • Poppa became Mama in the principal Engines
  • Rocky 3 became female
  • the National Engines saw the French Engine change from Bobo to Coco.

Musically the show was considerably rewritten, particularly in the first quarter. One of the most controversial and unpopular elements of the workshop was included - Control breaks into the Overture crying "Stop that boring music!" to introduce the National trains. The Overture consists of the same musical arrangement as the introduction to the "Starlight Sequence", and as such is one of the key musical themes in the show; to have Control dismiss this beautiful music as "boring" is jarring and alienating. "Crazy" is now Rusty's introduction, and the story-telling concerning Pearl and Rusty's relationship has been tightened. The Coaches have a new song, "I Got Me", which is a girl-power anthem developed from a theme taken from "Rolling Stock". Certain elements of the previous version of the show continue, such as the love-song "I Do".

John Napier has supervised significant costume redesigns. Besides new costumes for the new characters Belle, Carrie and Killerwatt, Electra has also had a notable change in that he is no longer red and blue, but nearly entirely black and silver on the original silhouette. Caboose has had a major redesign, rather than the more literal toy red Caboose, he now has "gangsta/mobster" elements, including a trilby hat, and a predominantly navy colour palette. All the makeup designs have been made much softer, with minimal use of the iconic vivid colours and strong geometric shapes.

Media

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.

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

Cast

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 - 2017

Current Cast 2018

Photo gallery
Cast
Rusty Blake P Anderson Pearl Georgina Hagen
Greaseball Ben Carruthers Dinah Rose Ouellette
Mama Reva Rice Belle Rochelle Sherona
Electra Sjoerd van der Meer Carrie Veronika Hammer
Rocky 1 Dewayne Adams Coco Clare Maynard
Rocky 2 Garry Kessing Espresso Anthony Hughes
Rocky 3 Lucy Glover Ruhrgold Will Luckett
Flat-top Darius James Turnov Luke Dowling
Dustin Daniel Holley Manga Gary Sheridan
Caboose Daniel Ellison Brexit Anthony Cragg
Killerwatt Huon Mackley Trax Joey Egan
Wrench Aisha Numah Trax Etienne Vogel
Joule Amy Barker Trax Jeremy Suarez Jimenez
Volta Anthony Starr
Swing Gemma Archer Swing Bianca Atalaya
Swing Lacy Jordinson Swing Danielle Lockwood
Swing Carla Pullen Swing Sian Jones
Swing David Brown Swing Daniel Joey
Swing Marc McFayden Swing Andrew Millar
Swing Tom Nihill Swing George Olney
Swing Stuart Rouse Swing Paul Shipp
Swing Dennis Spee Greaseball/

Electra Cover

Richard Woodford

Musical Numbers

1988

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
Bummellok
Starlight Express

2017

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
Bummellok
Starlight Express