‘Cats’ Is Not Even Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Weirdest Musical: The Horrifying Story Behind ‘Starlight Express’

Cats came out in theaters in December 2019, the musical movie based on the famous Broadway show by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Since its release, Twitter has lit up with criticism, shock, and raw horror in response to the film. Tweeters are dunking on Cats for its messy CGI and oddly-cast set of characters, but mostly, for its downright wacky source material.

Cats cast
Cats, the world’s longest-running musical, | JOSEPH BARRAK/AFP via Getty Images

However, one Twitter user argued this month that it’s far from Lloyd Webber’s weirdest musical. The composer behind such legendary works as Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and Phantom of the Opera, is undoubtedly a musical genius. However, a show he wrote in the 80s called Starlight Express, is pure chaos–even more so than Cats. Other Twitter users chimed in to add some 30 Rock trivia; the show’s star Jane Krakowski debuted on Broadway in Starlight Express, originating “the role of Dinah.”

‘Cats’ is not Andrew Lloyd Webber’s weirdest work, this musical about trains is

A Twitter user and apparent Andrew Lloyd Webber expert took to the platform to explain the background behind his crazy musical about trains called Starlight Express.

“Seeing a lot of reviews of Cats that are like, ‘Cats: Horny Abomination’ and ‘Cats: Weirdest Musical Ever,'” she tweeted. This, she argued, was not the case.

Andrew Lloyd Webber
British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber | Caroline Seidel/picture alliance via Getty Images

“I’m here to tell you that you’re all COWARDS because the weirdest Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is Starlight Express and it is your … right to know about it!” the tweeter exclaimed. She went on to describe the background behind the musical:

Starlight Express technically happened because Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted to adapt Thomas the Train Engine into a musical, but people kept saying, “No Andrew, that’s weird” and, “No one wants to see trains sing about screwing each other Andrew.”

But after Cats become a global sensation, it gave Lloyd Webber the confidence to reach his singing-train dreams.

“He thought to himself ‘I have become God; God gets to write a musical where everyone is on roller skates,'” the tweeter joked. Starlight Express, they went on to explain, is very similar in structure to Cats.

Starlight Express Cast
Cast members of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express | robbie jack/Corbis via Getty Images

The story behind Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway musical ‘Starlight Express’

The plot goes a little something like this: “a little boy is racing his toy trains. Then he falls asleep and has a dream where his trains come to life and have to race each. Each train sings a song introducing itself. It’s exactly Cats, but everyone is a Train.”

The Twitter expert also wrote that the trains are hyper-sexualized, something the characters in Cats have been noted for as well.

“All the male engine trains are horny as hell, and are sabotaging each other so they can pair up with their favorite sexy female coach cars,” she said. “Because its also sexist.”

The tweeter also linked to a video of the show’s most famous musical number, titled (you guessed it) “Starlight Express.”

“This is literally the only song people know from this musical,” the Broadway fan tweeted.

How does the crazy story end? After a series of several train races, “all the trains refuse to race anymore and REBEL AGAINST THE CHILD HAVING THE DREAM,” the tweeter wrote. And that’s it; that’s the musical.

“The end!” she wrote. Yeah, we’d say Starlight Express is even more galaxy-brain weird than Cats.

In ‘Starlight Express’, all the actors had to perform their songs in roller skates

Perhaps the most horrifying detail behind the railway musical? All of the performers in Starlight Express had to wear roller skates for the whole show. Because the train characters are constantly racing, it meant the show caused multiple, severe onstage accidents.

The tweeter went on to explain, “the play is performed on roller skates, with the actors ACTUALLY RACING.” This caused Starlight Express to be known to musical fans as “the play where actors were carried offstage screaming after being run over by other actors.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express
Starlight Express | robbie jack/Corbis via Getty Images

And you thought the song “Jellicle Cats” was dark.

It apparently got so dangerous, researchers looked into the issue.

“There was a study in the 90’s that stated that Starlight Express was one of the most dangerous plays in the West End,” the tweeter wrote, “with actors averaging three injuries per run, and one actress later suing the company.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber has some serious opinions about rollerblades

As if all of this information isn’t terrible enough, another Twitter user added that Lloyd Webber wrote in specific rules about those injury-causing skates.

“If anyone decides to perform this, they LEGALLY have to use roller skates.” the user tweeted. Lloyd Webber was reportedly “very pissed when the actors wanted to use rollerblades after they were invented.”

Does it get weirder? Of course it does!

“Andrew Lloyd Webber has NEVER STOPPED REVISING this specific musical,” the original tweeter wrote. Lloyd Webber just kept adding, cutting, and editing. “It’s his magnum opus.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber with the cast of his musical Starlight Express
Andrew Lloyd Webber with the cast of his musical Starlight Express in 1984 | Larry Ellis Collection/Getty Images

Cats has certainly been a, ahem, interesting moviegoing experience for viewers. But Starlight Express might take the cake for out-of-this-world creativity (to put it delicately).

“So everyone go see Cats!” the Broadway-expert tweeter wrote. “And then, god willing, in two years we’ll all be back on Twitter talking about how James Corden ran over Taylor Swift with roller skates and now they’re all dead.” And what a train-themed dream come true that would be.