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

It is currently the only permanent production of Starlight Express. By 2017, the production had been seen by 16 million people. As of February 2020, it has been performed 12,000 times[1].

In 2018 the show received major updates, see 2018 Bochum Revisions.

The production is currently on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is scheduled to re-open on 3 October 2021.[2]

Production specifics

The Bochum production mostly followed the model set by the Japan/Australia tour. 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.

Translation into German

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

Andrew Lloyd Webber's involvement

Andrew Lloyd Webber initially took a hands-off approach. He did not see the production until its second year, when, in June 1990, he combined a visit to Bochum with a visit to the German premiere of The Phantom of the Opera in Hamburg[3].

Temporary closures

The German production has taken temporary breaks to allow the set to be refurbished throughout its run.

On 13 May 2018, the show closed to allow the installation of the updated technology for the show's 30th anniversary overhaul.

In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the production reduced the audience capacity to below the 1,000 advised limit on public gatherings - leaving the 1,600 seat theatre half empty rather than cancelling performances. A week later, however, they cancelled performances altogether in response to updated medical advice. The re-opening has been pushed back several times. It is currently set for 3 October 2021.

Revisions

1990 to 2003

In the first years of the production, updates were minimal:

  • In 1990, Rocky 4 was removed.
  • In 1991, some minor revisions from the US tour were incorporated into the production[4].
  • In 1992, the German Engine's name was changed from "Weltschaft" to "Ruhrgold". Around that time, full-time Gang roles were replaced by more swings.

2003 Revisions

By 2003 audience numbers were dropping. The producers sought permission from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group to make major changes to the show, in an attempt to create publicity and persuade at least some of the 9 million people who had seen the show to come back and see it again[5].

Three songs from the 1992 "New Starlight" revisions were added: "Crazy", "Next Time You Fall In Love" and the "Megamix". "Engine of Love" was kept but shortened.

2006 Revisions

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

2007 Revisions

The Rap was altered again, adding the beginning of the UK Tour version, and pyrotechnics can be seen when Electra enters and Greaseball skates at high speed.

2008 Revisions

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

In 2008, the "Overture" was replaced by "Entry of the National Engines" (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 Revisions

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 Revisions

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

For full information see here: 2018 Bochum Revisions


Musical Numbers

For complete Running Orders through the years, See Here.

Cast

Every Febuary, new casts are announced and then start rehearsing. Later in the end of May, the performing cast end their contracts and the new cast starts performances in June.

1988 Cast

Photo gallery.png
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 Flat-top Michael Rivera
Rocky 2 Sebastian Craig Dustin Garry Noakes
Rocky 3 Gregory McKinnon Caboose Hans Johansson
Rocky 4 Rodney McGuire
Krupp Wilton Anderson Bobo Allan Edwards
Wrench Louise Conte Espresso Frido Ruth
Purse Christopher Todd Weltschaft Jens Klarskov
Joule Janina Baucke Turnov Hansgeorg Gantert
Volta Leesa Osborn Hashamoto Ric Mount
Gang Steven Kent Dry Gang Nigel Casey
Swing Gabriella Almerigi Swing Claudia Bradley
Swing Renee Chambers Swing Nicky Forsyth
Swing Petra Friedl Swing Johanne Simpson
Swing Jan Apel Swing Martin Boothe
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

Further Cast Information

1988 - 1997

1998 - 2007

2008 - 2017

2018 - Present

Current Cast 2019

Photo gallery.png
2019 Cast
Rusty Markus Fetter * Pearl Hollie Aires *
Greaseball Ben Carruthers Dinah Rose Ouellette
Mama Reva Rice Belle the Bar Car Emmanuelle N'Zuzi *
Electra Adam Lake * Carrie the Luggage Van Emilie de Leslay *
Rocky 1 Garry Kessing Coco Whitney Martins *
Rocky 2 Jaydon Vijn * Espresso Terence Uphoff *
Rocky 3 Priscilla Osegie * Ruhrgold Kristian Jacobs *
Flat-top Charles Butcher * Turnov Jayred Lempriere *
Dustin Christian Jones * Manga Jamie Sidhom *
Caboose Daniel Ellison Brexit Jack Hinton *
Killerwatt Isaac Edwards * Trax Joey Egan
Wrench Halimah Kyrgios * Trax Etienne Vogel
Joule]] Hollie Stephens * Trax Jeremy Suarez Jimenez
Volta Anthony Cragg
Swing Sydnie Christmas * Swing Emily Deamer *
Swing Elizabeth Fullalove * Swing Lucy Glover
Swing Sian Jones Swing Jessica E Nelson *
Swing David Brown Swing Eirik Dahlen *
Swing Sam Gallacher * Swing Jamie Landmann *
Swing Marc McFayden Swing Andrew Millar
Swing Tom Nihill Swing Jordan Rose *
Swing Nathaniel Scott Duxbury * Swing Dennis Spee
  • New to the cast

Galleries

Galleries Year by Year
1988 1989 1990 1991 1992
1993 1994 1995 1996 1997
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
2018 2019

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

References

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