A Comparative Essay on “We Will Rock You” at the Orpheum Theatre and the Average Middle School Play


If you think a musical comprised of hit 70s songs does not sound comparable to the fine art that is middle school theatrics, you would be wrong. We Will Rock You and stereotypical middle school plays and musicals have a lot in common. Like, a lot a lot.

The first thing you can expect at any middle school performance is to get a lot of cheap jokes. Though the jokes in We Will Rock You were certainly more sexualized in nature, it was very much the same. Let me just throw in the name of someone who is currently popular. “Justin Bieber.” “AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! OHHMHMMMYYYGODDDDIDYOUHEARRTHATTTTTT!!???!?!?!?!?!” “Tel-a-viz-e-ohn.” “OH MY GOD HE PRONOUNCED TELEVISION WRONG THAT IS SO HILARIOUS!” They turned a woman standing up for herself against harassment into a joke. That is not okay. There was an exorbitant amount of gay jokes. It makes fun of virgins, of everyone and everything. The cheap, predictable jokes did not get me laughing. The show is written so poorly, I absolutely cannot comprehend how it exists, how it is able to perform.

Middle school culture focuses so much on putting down things that are not normal. Focusing on ethnocentrism, the idea that your ideals, your music, your opinions are the best and the only way to go. You can like something without putting down something else, and the writers of We Will Rock You clearly do not understand that. They spend so much time making fun of popular, talented artists, like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Britney Spears. Those artists aren’t necessarily my favorite, but I’m not going to shame them or people who enjoy them simply for their taste in music! I’m not even going to get into them shaming technology and pop music produced with modern inventions. Yeah, it’s different. That doesn’t make it any better or worse.

The next thing you can expect from middle school, is that every play and musical will be WAY overcast. There will be at least 5 more people than it needs, often more than 10, or even 20. We Will Rock You packed the stage with ensemble members, who very often upstaged the main performers. Any time there were more than 3 people onstage, I found it difficult to pay attention to what I was supposed to. This large cast acted exactly how middle school does it too. So many unison gasps, “duh”s “what?”s, and much much more. You lose the dramatic effect when you have 20 people doing the exact same thing, and instead just elicit a million eye-roles.

Middle school set and lighting design varies among location, but I sure can speak to WWRY’s. Their lighting designer needs to re-evaluate his or her life plan. When someone sitting in the absolute farthest back row needs to shield their eyes from the lights shining AT the audience, it is a bad sign. I spent so much of this show rubbing my eyes from the abuse they were getting.

Just like middle school, you also have those one or two performers who are actually stunningly good, and deserve so much better. Brian Justin Crum (Galileo) and Ruby Lewis (Scaramouche) have PIPES. They can both hit some seriously high notes, and make them sound spectacular. They deserve to be in a show that is better written, casted, choreographed, and altogether better received. Just like my middle school plays, I would discourage people from coming to this show, because it is not worth your time or money.