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OTRC: Freddie Mercury illusion to appear on stage at Queen musical

An outside shot of the Dominion Theatre in London, where 'We Will Rock You' is playing, shows a statue of the late Freddie Mercury, as seen in this Oct. 1, 2008 photo. (flickr.com/photos/iaingillespie/)

The late Freddie Mercury is set to appear on a London stage in the form of an "optical illusion" later this month, more than 20 years after his death, his Queen band mate Brian May says.

The news comes weeks after a highly-publicized "performance" at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California by slain U.S. rapper Tupac Shakur, whose holographic image was projected on stage alongside fellow hip hop star Snoop Dogg at the event.

Queen guitarist Brian May told BBC News that an image of Mercury will be projected on stage on Monday, May 14, during a special performance of the West End musical "We Will Rock You" to commemorate its 10th anniversary, adding: "People will come out saying, 'did we actually see Freddie?'"

"It's a little unfortunate they did that thing with Tupac as we've been trying to make Freddie appear on the stage for quite a while," he said.

May said Mercury's image would mark "an optical illusion of sorts," rather than a hologram.

Mercury died in 1991 from complications from AIDS. Queen's massive fan base has grown in recent years due to the success of the futuristic cult musical, which incorporates the rock group's songs and also features a performance specifically dedicated to Mercury. May and drummer Roger Taylor have made cameo appearances during the show, including at last year's ninth anniversary performance.

"We Will Rock You" opened in London's West End in 2002 and has been performed in places such as Las Vegas, Germany and Russia. Its title was named after the band's 1977 rock anthem. The show is about a group of rockers living in a futuristic world where musical instruments are banned and everyone else behaves the same way and consumes the same, generic products.

The protagonist of "We Will Rock You," free thinker Galileo, was originally played by Tony Vincent, who competed on the NBC singing contest show "The Voice" this past second season.

After Mercury died, May and Taylor performed at Queen concerts with singer Paul Rodgers, formerly of the band Bad Company. He left the band in 2009. Adam Lambert, a finalist on "American Idol," was supposed to perform as the group's lead singer at the Sonisphere Festival in the United Kingdom this summer, but the event was canceled. However, he will sing with the band at several other Queen's concerts. Check out the dates below:

July 3, 2012 - Moscow Sports Arena, Russia
July 7, 2012 - Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw, Poland
July 11, 2012 - HMV Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK
July 12, 2012 - HMV Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK
July 14, 2012 - HMV Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK

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