by Mike Abrams. @TheWrongCatDied.
LONDON – Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber made the bold announcement today that an upcoming revival of his show Starlight Express will perform a longer, slower version of the show called Starlight Local on nights and weekends.
“They always say live theatre is unpredictable, but I’m hoping to increase the dramatic effect with what we’re calling 'planned service changes,'” shared Webber as he scribbled notes for his next musical, Vanity Cinderella. “Imagine coming to a show and having no idea how long it will be, how many extra scenes you might see, how many scenes might be skipped, or if you’ll even get to the end. It’s showtime, folks.”
The show’s stage manager, Kimberly Shanks – who prefers roller skating to work over riding the Tube – has a less optimistic outlook on Webber’s plan.
“I know Andrew is calling these changes 'planned', but he’s not even accounting for the unexpected nature of live theatre,” scoffed Shanks as she tinkered with a reflective helmet before her skate home. “In previews ALONE we’ve had to deal with switch problems, sick audience members, police investigations, routine maintenance, and an unexpected rat infestation. Each one of these adds somewhere between five and 536 minutes to each performance.”
Native New Yorker and current West End actor BP Speedway is excited about the freedom these changes provide the cast.
“Audiences love to see unpredictable creative freedom within a show, so this is a dream,” exclaimed Speedway as he practiced flipping a hat onto his head. “I used to sing 'Don’t Stop Believin'' on the A train for extra cash and I THRIVED when the A was running local. I know just how rewarding it is for passengers who are expecting a quick and quiet ride to get to experience the exact opposite.”
Webber noted that one of the most exciting parts of this change is the ability to take the Starlight Express audience on an entirely different route some nights.
“Imagine a night where we skip Pearl and Greaseball’s performances or skip Act Two entirely. Or a night where Rusty goes to the Heaviside Layer or comes to the curtain call covered in blood. It’s showtime, folks.”