Profile of a We Will Rock You Fan

We Will Rock You is something of an anomaly in the West End. Derided by critics upon its premiere in 2002, the Queen musical has defied the odds and will celebrate 10 years in May. Whilst other long-running musicals like The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, or The Lion King get by with a well-known story or moving score, We Will Rock You has one secret weapon up its sleeve: its avid fan base. We Will Rock You fans continue to turn out in droves, many seeing the show multiple times, and voting in their thousands to win the production the 2011 Olivier Audience Award for Most Popular Show. Just who are these “WWRY fans”, and what lengths do they go to for their favourite West End musical?

Queen Fan Base

We Will Rock You had a distinct advantage over other new musicals in that it had a ready-made audience of Queen fans eager to see the band’s classic hits live on stage. One of the greatest rock bands of all time, Queen has sold more than 150 million albums and had 18 number one singles worldwide.  They have influenced countless rock bands, inspired Lady Gaga’s name, and been covered by everyone from Guns ‘n Roses and Elton John to Shirley Bassey and Elaine Paige.

It was only natural for Queen fans to take a shine to We Will Rock You, which features more than 25 of their biggest hits, and their followers from around the world have flocked to the musical since its opening. To join in with other fans, check out the Queen Online message board.

A New Musical Following

Traditionally, musicals have been seen as a separate genre, and few rock musicals had been a great success. After the brief rise of rock operas like Hair and Godspell in the 1970’s, more traditional musicals like The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables dominated the 80’s and early 90’s. Rent broke new ground with a more modern sound upon its West End premiere in 1998, and We Will Rock You was one of the new musicals to fit this new genre.

Whilst most musicals have to rely on more traditional theatre-going audiences, such as families, people in the arts, and tourists, We Will Rock You was able to reach out to a wider market. Its appeal has spread to younger people, first-time theatregoers, rock fans, and a rarely targeted group: young males. Tourism has also played a major role in the show’s success, as the easy-to-follow plotline and well-known numbers make it a common choice for international visitors eager to see a production in London. By attracting a wide and diverse group of people, We Will Rock You has placed itself in a rare position of attracting audiences without many positive reviews.

The Fans – How Avid Are They?

To give you a flavour for just how much fans love We Will Rock You, here are a few of the responses from the official forum, which asked fans to fill in the sentence “You know you’re obsessed with We Will Rock You when…”

  • You you seriously consider stealing the We Will Rock You poster on the escalator at tube stations.
  • You have the ticket agency number on speed dial, even though you know the number anyway
  • You name your group of friends after the Bohemians and assign characters to them based on their personalities
  • You decide to be a character from the show for Halloween but your friends don’t notice a change.
  • You all of a sudden take interest in Physics because of a scientist once named ‘Galileo’
  • You dread 2.30 on a Saturday afternoon because if you’re not at the Dominion Theatre you know that you will fall into a pit of despair
  • You want to learn Spanish/German/ Italian so you can watch the productions in that language.