Operatic Outlandishness: “We Will Rock You”

The Ahmanson's summertime treat brims with songs, style, and glow sticks.

What are the great dashboard songs?

We're talking about those percussive, power-deep ditties that a passenger, and occasionally a driver, will pound out on a vehicle's dashboard (here's hoping the driver parks before dashboarding).

Journey tunes are up there, and Rush, but the number #1 tune, forever and ever, in this arena, is Queen's "We Will Rock You." Thank you. Goodnight. Nothing else to discuss. A fact, through and through.

Which makes it the perfect title, and theme, for the musical of the same name, which is summering-up summertime with a stylish sound blast at the Ahmanson Theatre.

The writer? Comedy legend Ben Elton. The music? It's all Queen. The rock 'n roll references, topical in-jokes, and lines from dozens of songs outside of the Queen catalog? They're plentiful and playful. And the '80s-riffic, space-age-y, dystopian setting, which explores a world where rock is verboten, dangerous, and delightful? Oh, it's campy, and cool, and deeply cheeky, not to mention threaded with satire and pumped up with ferocious volume.

A volume that got cranked up in London's West End when the show first bowed in 2002. Meaning thousands of people have had their will to rock reborn in the decade-plus since.

Call it a classic music video come to life, rife with pop-culture-y dialogue, cheesy winky knowingness, a fun and fine message about art and individuality, and, you betcha, a glow stick on many of the seats inside the theater.

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And those glow sticks? They'll be lighting things up at the Ahmanson through Aug. 24.

Your dashboard, though? And your radio? Those are yours as long as you have your car, or a friend's car, and the will to drum out one of the most percussive beats of all time, on the section above the glove box. We, will, we, will, rock you. Tap, tap, clap...

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