Original London Production
Starlight Express started life in 1975 as a Cinderella story for an animated movie which never get off the ground. Then in 1983, Andrew Lloyd Webber, who’d written the piece for his children reworked it for the stage and a year later it opened at the Apollo Victoria Theatre becoming an immediate hit. The production cost £2.25 million to mount and used six miles of timber, two and a half acres of sheet wood and 60 tonnes of steel to construct the set.
The West End production was directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, who both rejoined Andrew Lloyd Webber nine years after the show first opened to revisit the material. The show had a complete overhaul and was christened ‘The New Starlight Express’. Five new songs were added, while twelve songs and two characters were cut. The new music was dedicated to Andrew’s young son Alistair. In April 1992, Starlight became the second-longest running musical in London theatre history.
The show ran for almost two decades with 7,406 productions, wowing audiences who came from across the globe to see the performance. It took more than £140m at the box office before eventually closing on 12 January 2002.