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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 11:59 GMT
The facts behind the Starlight
16.5 million people have watched the show around the world
16.5 million people have seen the show worldwide
Starlight Express is coming to the end of its run on the London stage after 18 years.

BBC News Online looks at some of the facts and figures behind the famous show on skates.

  • Starlight Express will have played 7,406 times at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London since 27 March 1984.

  • 27,600 pairs of skate laces, 27,000 skate wheels, 23,000 toe stops and 5,500 false eyelashes have been used since the show opened.

  • The Spice Girls' Melanie B auditioned at the skate school in 1995, while lead singer of pop group Republica, Saffron, real name Samantha Sprackling, was in the show for two years.

  • The original London production cost 2.25m to put on, used 750 gallons of paint and varnish, six miles of timber, two and a half acres of sheet wood and 60 tonnes of steel.

  • One ticket tout will have been outside the theatre every weekend since the show opened, and has enlisted his grandson to help him.

  • Among the most dedicated fans are the Pearton family, who have watched the show every week for the last five years, and Sally Bliault, from Jersey, who has seen 800 performances.

    Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the show for his children
    Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the show for his children

  • An estimated 16.5 million people have watched the show in the UK, United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Germany and Mexico.

  • More than 140m has been taken at the London box office, with a further 310m earned worldwide.

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote it for his children - who are now aged 22 and 24.

  • 24 people have appeared on stage every night, with more than 200 involved in putting the show on.

  • The performers are all on roller-skates and play the parts of railway engines and carriages, all with their own personalities.

  • The top speed recorded by a skater was 40 mph during a rehearsal.

  • New cast members had to attend skate school for four weeks before starting rehearsals.

  • Seven weeks of vocal staging and choreography rehearsals followed skate school.

  • In November 1992, every aspect of the production was re-worked. The show was re-directed, re-choreographed, re-lit and the set was refurbished.

  • Starlight Express won a Tony Award for best costumes in 1987.
See also:

21 Aug 01 | Showbiz
Lloyd Webber's musical journey
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