Saturday, January 14, 2012

Star Wars: Musical Edition

Several years ago, at a college many miles away...

...two friends had been challenging each other to write increasingly complex Star Wars song parodies, or "filks." And after they had written a number of these parodies, they looked back at what they had done, and said, "Wow, we've actually put a pretty big chunk of the movies to song. I wonder if we could do the rest?"

And so the Musical was born. For years, it sat in a big fat binder, occasionally oohed and ahhhed over by fellow Star Wars fans, and while a few of the songs were sung individually, in informal performances, the Musical as a whole had never been performed.

Then one of the friends moved to Boston to be near his girlfriend, who was a student at MIT and a member of their Musical Theatre Guild. And as he got to know the members of MTG, he thought, "Wow, these people are pretty weird. ...They might just be weird enough to think that putting on the Musical is a good idea!"

And lo and behold, the good people of MTG did think it was a good idea, and so they set about making it happen. One member took it upon himself to compose the entire score, since it seemed like more fun than writing his doctoral thesis. Others worked on designing the set, the lighting, the sound effects. And one member-- the aforementioned girlfriend, in fact-- said, "Well, I love Star Wars and I love costuming! I'll costume design-- how hard can it be?"

Two months, 75 costumes, and $6000 later, she'd found out. Luckily, she had an amazing costume crew of about a dozen, as well as an experienced makeup and prosthetics designer, who did a huge amount of work and helped her keep what was left of her sanity throughout the ordeal. She owes them everything.

And the Musical? Well, it was a huge success-- it ran for eight performances in January-February 2003, five of them sellouts, and people had to be turned away on closing night. Some of the costumes were sold on Ebay to recoup costs, but the rest were boxed up and stored, awaiting the day when the Musical might be performed again, someday in the future...which it was! In 2005, A New Hope was re-staged at Star Wars Celebration III in May, and the entire trilogy was performed at MIT in the fall.

Here are a few pictures from the original 2003 performance; more are available on my website. Many photos from the 2005 Trilogy production can be found on MTG's website.

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