As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a Star Wars fan.
I saw Star Wars at the drive-in in 1977, long before they added “A New Hope” to the title. It’s the first film I remember seeing. I was so excited, I threw up popcorn all over my dad’s Audi Fox.
Being a Star Wars fan means you get to revel in the joy of one of the greatest space operas of all time, full of daring space pilots, evil black-robed villains, and space wizards, uh I mean Jedi Knights. It also means you have to acknowledge there are canonical characters named “Sleazebaggano” (one guess as to his character traits) and they listen to music called “jizz.”
So any true fan needs to recognize that no matter how awesome Star Wars can be, it can also be kind of ridiculous. (George Lucas named a race of squid people the Calamari, for goodness sake!) And that it’s okay to enjoy the ridiculous aspects, and even lean into them! (Just look up Willrow Hood! Fans created a whole backstory for an extra who was fleeing Bespin with an ice cream maker.)
So really, what better subject to get a full musical parody treatment?
For my birthday, my wife took us to see A Musical About Star Wars at the AMT Theater in Times Square. The plot revolves around two fanboys – Scott (Taylor Crousore) and Taylor (Stone Mountain) – who have written a musical about Star Wars, which is, in their words, the Greatest Thing to Ever Happen in the History of the Galaxy and is Much, Much, Much better than Star Trek. They are desperately trying to get their show accepted to New York Comic Con which is the only one they have yet to be banned from. However, the actress they hired for the show, Emily (Maggie McDowell), has ulterior motives. She’s a self-proclaimed “actor-vist” who plans to sabotage the show because *GASP* she doesn’t care about Star Wars and thinks it’s kind of sexist. Scott and Taylor take it upon themselves to show her the light.
The show is really an excuse to do a bunch of Star Wars songs and skits and show off a ton of handmade cosplay. Some of these songs are a little hit and miss, but the hits are extremely funny. There is a rap about the prequels done in the style of Hamilton, which absolutely should not work but somehow is a hilarious highlight of the show. (Scott and Taylor really don’t know who Lin-Manuel Miranda is until Emily tells them he wrote the new cantina music for the sequels.) Just imagine Lin-Manuel saying “Anakin Skywalker” instead of “Alexander Hamilton.”
Another highlight is the The Rules Song, which praises the copyright act and its fair use exemptions which is what allows them to do a musical ABOUT Star Wars. You can even buy a t-shirt in the lobby with the relevant passages from the law printed on the back, so you don’t get sued when you want to write your fan fiction that fixes The Rise of Skywalker. (No reason I brought that up. None whatsoever.)
The actors enthusiastically leap into their roles, and I do mean leap. The stage is small and they bounce all over it. Maybe a little too enthusiastic, because the opening pace was a little frenetic, but once they settle in they’re fine. There are some clever acknowledgements of generational divides in the fandom, calling them “Gen X-Wing” and “Millennial Falcon.” There are also a couple obvious, and kind of unneeded, jokes about Star Wars fans being friendless virgins, but not too many. Of special note, Maggie McDowell has a wonderful voice and uses it to great effect late in the show.
A special shout out to the wonderful costumes. Every time they play the Wilhelm Scream, the two leads change cosplay outfits. They’re extremely creative, looking exactly like something a fan with a lot of passion but no money and not a lot of sewing skills would make. Personal favorites were an AT-AT that looked like it was made out of pantyhose and a carbon-frozen Han that appeared to be made from spray painted tin foil. (The in-show explanation is that Taylor’s mom made them, in spite of her carpal tunnel, the poor dear.)
Overall, while uneven, this is a fun show for any Star Wars fan out there. It does a nice job of showing why Star Wars is cool and rad, even when it’s ridiculous. Maybe even because it’s ridiculous.
And yes, as the subtitle of the show suggests, Star Wars is and ever shall be Much, Much, Much Better than Star Trek.
A Musical About Star Wars is playing at the AMT Theater at 354 W 45th St in Manhattan through Oct 8th. For more information, visit their website.
Rating: 3.5 out of… wait… my hand… it’s being force pulled to bump this up half a star…
4 out of 5