Starlight Express was originally conceived by Andrew
Lloyd Webber in 1973 as an animated television series loosely
based on The Little Engine That Could. Instead, it evolved
into a hi-tech spectacle on roller skates that featured a 5.5
ton steel suspension bridge and a gigantic set constructed of
6 miles of timber, 2.5 acres of sheetwood and 60 tons of steel.
It took 1200 lanterns & 6000 pea lights on the back wall
to create the star effect, and the production cost over 2.25
Million British pounds when originally mounted in London in 1984.
The story revolves around a battered steam engine named Rusty
who is encouraged to race a flashy diesel locomotive.
Second only to Cats as the
longest running musical in British theatre history, the London
production of Starlight Express celebrated its 6000th
performance on August 12, 1998. The Broadway production opened
at the Gershwin Theatre on March 15, 1987 and ran for 761 performances.
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