CB the Red Caboose

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CB (Caboose) is a character from the musical Starlight Express. He's a crowd favourite but was removed from the New London and On Ice productions. He seems to have a split personality. Since he is the Caboose, he is willing to help the other trains with their work. Later on, he gets tired of helping them and then decides to sabotage Rusty in the race. But when he is racing with Electra, he gets fought over by Electra and Greaseball, and ends up crashing both of them.

Many people think that Caboose is in love with Dinah, and that is why he wants to crash Greaseball (who Dinah loves) and Electra (who she briefly races with). This is also often thought to be his motive behind singing "There's Me". Of course, there is also the theory that he is simply insane with no real logic behind his motives or actions.

In the original production he had a name, C.B., presumably after CB radios (this may also be one of Richard Stilgoe's many beloved puns, as it is almost an abbreviation of 'Caboose'). There is a scene in the Original London production, where Greaseball enters and says, 'Hi C.B.' and C.B. answers 'Hi G.B.', supporting the abbreviation train of thought. Several examples of CB radio code pepper his lines, including 'ten-seven', which means a dead body (said when he's mocking Rusty after holding him back in the Uphill Final), and 'smokey bear', which refers to a sheriff. From Broadway onwards, however, he dropped all references to CB radios and was known only as 'The Red Caboose'. In Expreso Astral, the 1997 Mexican production, Red Caboose was literally translated to 'Cabus Rojo'. He was not in "Starlight Express on Ice", since he was taken out of the New London production, on which On Ice was based.

Character[edit]

File:2007 DinahCaboose.jpg
There's Me: Leanne Garretty as Dinah and Nivaldo Allves as Caboose, Bochum 2007

C.B was (in London) and is (in Bochum) one of the more prominent characters. He was the overall bad guy and lynchpin of the plot, manipulating champion engines Greaseball and Electra. In the UK tour his character was involved a fairly large amount. He sings with the other freight trucks in 'freight' he sings The beginning of the song 'wide smile' and 'i was robbed' with greaseball, Electra and components. He still sings this as he is still included as the overall bad guy he just doesn't sing as much. He also sings 'one rock 'n' roll too many' with Electra and greaseball. Although the song 'there's me' was cut and remains cut for the most recent UK tour, when the coaches sing 'rolling stock reprise' the caboose can be standing at the back watching them and hiding when they turn around. This is done so that the song isn't used but the principle of why he sang the song is still there.

In June 2008 his role was reduced in Bochum, with 'Dein Freund' cut (apparently to make room for Pearl's newly translated ballad 'Dann pfeift er mir zu '/'He'll Whistle at Me'), along with its reprise in 'Bummellok'. Greaseball and Gang now participate in 'Mein Spiel', disappearing just in time for Electra and Components to come on and do their dance. C.B. is the most evil person on the rails (save Greaseball).

C.B starts off one of his songs with a small anecdote describing heroes going bad; 'All those heroes you love to trust, in the end they all go bust! Robin hood kept all the money, piglet poisoned pooh-bear's honey! ET has no flying permit, Donald Duck has eaten Kermit! Bambi set the woods alight! And the Red Caboose has done no right!'

Musical Numbers[edit]

London

  • Freight - with other trucks
  • There's me - to Dinah
  • C.B - With Electra and Components
  • I was robbed - With Rusty, Electra, Pearl and Greaseball
  • One Rock n' Roll Too many - With Greaseball

Bochum

  • Fracht - with other trucks
  • Dein Freund - with Dinah(cut in 2008)
  • Mein Spiel - With Electra and Components
  • Ein Rock n' Roll Zuviel - With Electra and Greaseball

US / UK Tour

  • Freight - with other trucks
  • Wide Smile (US and very beginning of song in uk) - With Greaseball, Electra and Components
  • I was robbed - With Rusty, Electra, Pearl and Greaseball
  • One Rock n' Roll Too many - With Electra and Greaseball

New London

  • Cut - for a brief experimental period, There's Me was sung by Dustin, then re-worked to be sung by Dinah as That's Me (with lyrics about her own personality, and why she allows Greaseball to treat her so atrociously), before being completely cut.

Starlight on Ice

  • Cut.

Costume[edit]

Originally he had grey leggings and a huge hat with a radio aerial, but from Broadway onwards he was in a red unitard with black pinstripes and latex accessories that are designed to look like a caboose. He wears a hat that looks like a train driver's. His costume features several logos of now-defunct railway companies - his hunting trophies, as it were. He is loosely based on a design of Caboose of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. This motif is also recognisable on Pearl's belt in the Las Vegas/Tour productions, as well as being on his chest panel.

Caboose does not usually wear a wig, but uses his own hair, mostly covered by his hat. Actors have been known to dye or bleach their hair to suit. He often styles his fringe up into a large quiff. In the UK tour, his fringe is gelled into spiky style popular among schoolboys.

Actors[edit]

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