starlight03

Nobody can do it like a Dampf Lok!

It would be fair to say that a great deal of my musical taste was formed in the 1980s.  Brian, my best friend at the time, was constantly sharing music with me, and I absorbed it and ran with it.   He introduced me to diverse artists such as Kraftwerk and Mannheim Steamroller, both of which I still love to this day.  Then there were the musicals.   I’m an unabashed and admitted musical theater geek, but I wouldn’t be if Brian hadn’t had musicals in the collection.

In 1984, he got the soundtrack to a new Andrew Lloyd Webber show that had just hit Broadway called Starlight Express.  The show is about toy trains come to life in the mind of a small boy, and it’s a spectacle-  the actors portraying the trains perform on roller skates.  I wanted to see it badly.

The original Broadway run was only a few years, but the UK show was on the West End in London for years- over 7400 performances.   In the early 1990s, I found out that another friend of mine, Chris, had been to see it in London.  He told me that he fell asleep during the show because he was jet-lagged, and I never quite forgave him for that blasphemy.

In 1992, the London show was heavily revised as “The New Starlight Express,” and a new cast recording was released.  I didn’t care much for the revisions-  they removed a villain character who I always felt was vital to making the plot interesting.  They also dropped a few songs that I was particularly fond of, and added a bunch of new songs that I didn’t think were as good.  I still wanted to see it though.

(Editor’s Note:  If you’re interested in a  detailed breakdown of the changes made in the 1992 version, the Starlight Express Wikipedia article contains more information than anyone will ever need.)

About two months ago, I was perusing a list of live music scattered around Germany.  Concerts, musicals, and the like were all represented, and I saw that Starlight Express was in Bochum.   A quick map check showed me that Bochum is easily reachable by train,  and I put it on my list of “I’d like to do that sometime” jaunts.  It’s a pretty big list.

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