Fairfield High School, Ohio, was the first school allowed to mount an amateur production of Starlight Express. The school was allowed to produce the show as a test run for the feasibility of licencing amateur productions. The school was also one of the test subjects for amateur release of "Phantom of the Opera".
Nine years after the trial, Starlight Express was released to schools and youth groups in the UK in 2013, and for regional and community groups in the US.
The Fairfield production featured many elements common to schools productions - obviously, the very youthful cast which leads to ageing up for older characters, and the necessity to vastly expand the ensemble to include as many students as possible. They achieved some remarkable successes, such as getting the entire cast on wheels, a full live orchestra, and a large set.
However some of the more socially challenging elements appear to have been removed - all Electra's components are female. This may have been due to the general gender balance in schools drama interest being heavily skewed towards female, but it also means that Electra's bisexual inference was erased. The costume designs seem to show a lack of understanding of the anthropomorphic nature of the costume design, focusing instead on generic "Sci fi" shapes and shiny fabrics. Also, although the show takes place inside her mind, Control is onstage beside all the characters she's created.
The Fairfield production demonstrated that the technical difficulties of producing Starlight Express can be overcome, but it is still a difficult and demanding show to direct and really bring out all the internal logic. There is nothing easy when it comes to producing Starlight Express.