In 1976, inspired by a trip on the Valley Railroad in New England with his children, Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a few songs for a proposed cartoon feature about animated trains. The cartoon was never produced but the ideas stayed alive.

In the early 1980s, drawing inspiration from R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, rap and country and western music for his upbeat score, Lloyd Webber took those initial songs and ideas and composed a full length musical about trains. Eventually, he teamed up with lyricist Richard Stilgoe, expanding upon the concept of his lifelong fascination with trains and Starlight Express came to life.

The world’s only musical performed entirely on roller skates, the show premiered at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, London in 1984. The show went on to achieve international success with productions on Broadway, in Las Vegas, Japan, Australia, a North American tour and in a purpose-built Starlighthalle in Bochum, which remains playing since premiering there in 1988. The Bochum production also received a Guinness World Record for “The Most Visitors To A Musical In A Single Theatre” in 2010.

Starlight Express returned to London for three concert-style workshop performances in September 2017 with an aim to explore the score and lyrics, responding to audience reaction and feedback.

Music By Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics By Richard Stilgoe
Original Direction By Trevor Nunn
Original Choreography By Arlene Phillips
Opened 27 March 1984 at The Apollo Victoria Theatre, London
Tony Awards
1 award
Drama Desk Awards
2 awards
Guinness World Records
World Record for The Most Visitors To A Musical In A Single Theatre (Bochum, Germany – 2010)

Music Releases

Starlight Express (1LP Zoetrope Vinyl)

Original London Cast

Unmasked: The Platinum Collection

Deluxe Edition

Starlight Express

Original Cast

TV & Movies

Royal Albert Hall Celebration


Licensing Starlight Express

If you are involved with an amateur dramatic society, school, college, church group or youth group and would like to stage a musical, then you can’t go wrong with an Andrew Lloyd Webber classic!

The catalogue includes family favourites such as Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita, Starlight Express and more.

To find out more about how the licensing process works and how much it might cost to put on one of the these world-renowned musicals, visit our dedicated licensing website.