Starlight Express the Musical Wiki
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In November 1992, the London production, christened The New Starlight Express, was relaunched with heavy revisions to the material, which were partly influenced by intervening productions in New York and Bochum.

The new production was rehearsed over 3 weeks at the same time as performances of the outgoing production. This meant that many cast members were simultaneously grappling with two versions of the show.

Revisions

Characters

Two major characters (C.B. and Belle) and two minor characters (the 2nd and 3rd-class sleepers) were cut.

Cutting C.B. required a near complete overhaul of the plot (though the lighting design didn't change - his spotlight still came up in "Freight" right up to the last performance of the show), as without a clear cut villain, Rusty, Electra and Greaseball had to cause their own problems or be the victims of circumstance to move the story along.

Belle, having proved incompatible with the shorter 4-race system on Broadway, was cut from the show. In the Broadway production she simply appeared, sang her solo, then "went back to sleep" and was only seen again at the end of the show. This went hand in hand with revising the race structure to two eliminator heats, rather than three.

The 2nd and 3rd-class sleepers were no longer seen, as moving "Pumping Iron" meant that the performers who had filled those roles were now onstage as Components.

Greaseball, Coaches, and Components in Pumping Iron

Songs

Four songs were added:

  1. He'll Whistle At Me
  2. Crazy
  3. Next Time You Fall In Love
  4. Megamix

Eight songs were cut:

  1. Overture
  2. Engine of Love
  3. There's Me – although for 3 weeks during previews for the new production, it was sung by Dustin
  4. Belle's Song
  5. Race: Heat Three
  6. Wide Smile, High Style
  7. Only He
  8. Only You

Three songs were rewritten:

  • Call Me Rusty returned in a shorter version.
  • Hitching and Switching
  • "The Rap", as the debate over whether or not Rusty should be allowed to race a second time had become redundant. Instead, 'The Rap' became an anthem to racing. Pearl still switched engines to Electra, leaving Dinah uncoupled.
  • With Belle gone, Ashley and Buffy carried "Rolling Stock (Reprise)" as a duet not a trio, allowing them each more vocals.

Plot/structure

"Entry of National Trains" moved from after "Freight" to the opening of the show.

Electra Greaseball L92 1.jpg

"Pumping Iron" was moved to immediately after "AC/DC", shifting the intention from Greaseball merely boasting to a direct challenge to the newcomer. Greaseball now interrupted Electra, cutting off the end of the preceding song. Rather than winning a heat each, as in the 5-race structure, Greaseball and Electra come first and second in the first heat, securing places in the final for each of them. Rusty now didn't race at all until the final, only reluctantly taking Poppa's place at the end of Act 1. Poppa won the second heat with Bobo coming second. After the Uphill Final, when Dinah uncouples Electra, with no C.B. he partners Buffy instead for the Downhill Final. Rather than being crashed intentionally, Electra and Greaseball crash accidentally at the end of the race. Electra also took one of Greaseball's spoken lines ("You mean I could be converted to steam?" became "D'you think I could be converted to steam?") afterwards to be included in the scene.

Orchestra

The number of players stayed at 16, but 2 chairs were replaced, with the fourth trumpet and second woodwind making way for a fourth keyboard and second guitar.

Cast recording

A "New Starlight Express" highlights cast recording was released in 1993, featuring primarily the updated numbers in the show.

Cast, year by year

1992 Gallery 1994 Gallery 1995 Gallery
1996 Gallery 1997 Gallery 1998 Gallery
1999 Gallery 2000 Gallery 2001 Gallery
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