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.

2018 Revisions

Photo gallery

The 30th anniversary saw the show given major revisions, similar in scale to the 1992 "New Starlight Express" in London. The re-worked material strongly resembled the 2017 Workshop, with the attempt to re-focus the story 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; in Freight, the Rockies made a surprising comeback, with Rocky 3 became female; the National Engines saw the french engine become Coco. Multiple other character changes were included: Ashley and Buffy replaced by Belle the Bar Car and Carrie the Luggage van; Hip Hoppers reverted to Rockies; as well as Coco, the Nationals saw the Japanese engine re-branded Manga; the Components lost Purse the Money Truck, Volta became male, and the set saw the addition of Killerwatt the Security Truck. While Killerwatt closely resembles Krupp (cut a year previously), he also performs Purse's role of Electra's messenger.

Musically the show has been considerably re-written, 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".

The theatre has had a significant technical upgrade, with new sound, lighting and projection mapping technology installed. The projections required the set to be re-painted a neutral black/grey rather than its previous multicoloured look. The foyer has also been re-decorated, and has had the Train Station theme, installed in 1998, removed in favour of a generic, contemporary look.

John Napier has supervised significant costume re-designs. 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 re-design, 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.

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 1998, for the show's 10th anniversary, the foyer was given a "Train Station" make-over, with industrial style detailing, murals on the ceiling, statues of Weltschaft and Rocky 4 mounted on the central bar. The most distinctive element was a large cast board, with station-style scrolling letters to spell out messages as well as name the cast for that performance.

In 2018, again the foyer was redesigned, this time removing the 20-year old themed concept, and creating a slick, modern environment. The large sky-light was filled with a star field, and the industrial theming replaced with understated furnishings and a bright red carpet.


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 - 2017

Current Cast 2018

Photo gallery
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

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