Campy, youthful fun zooming in from a galaxy far away to Las Vegas's V Theater
by Cassiopeia Guthrie, Nov. 24, 2022
A trio of talented actors have found a home for their off-Broadway Star Wars parody and it's on the second level in the Miracle Mile V Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada. Does the intimate venue work for A Musical About Star Wars: Or, Why Star Wars is the Greatest Thing to Ever Happen in the History of the Galaxy. Much, Much Better Than Star Trek? Holy Snokes - I have a feeling that fans will find the wordplay just Hoth enough to handle.
Forget fourth walls: this production makes quick work of tearing them down and calling out Vaudeville devices for what they are. The loose revue-like storyline introduces us to its three performers quickly. Scott, a "Gen X-Winger" from a conservative upbringing (Taylor Crousore) has crafted a Star Wars superfan performance for Comic Con alongside his younger "Millennial Falcon" friend, Taylor (Gregory Sullivan). With a relationship cemented by their mutual admiration for the classic franchise and their steadfast belief that it is better than Star Trek, the duo opts to add a woman to their cast of players, and thus Emily, a serious AMDA and feminist actor-vist (Carly Sakolove) joins the troupe. All they need is for a restraining order to be lifted and to get the go-ahead of the convention. However, it doesn't take long before Emily's dark side mission becomes clear: she is not down with the misogyny, racism, and homophobia showcased in the series, and she plans to take down the empire from the inside... can the actors convince Emily to stay on and change her tune, and will they find their space in the sunlight at Las Vegas Comic Con?
Presented by Tom and Michael D'Angora, co-written by Tom D'Angora, Taylor Crousore, and Scott Richard Foster, and with music and lyrics by Billy Reccce, A Musical About Star Wars originally opened Off-Broadway and is now bringing spoofy joy to the V Theater. While the production itself is admittedly low budget (acknowledged by the actors as part of the script!), the performers are talented and hilarious.
Outfitted in dozens of cosplays, the trio make their way through 8 songs in 70 minutes. One song, "The X-Wing Effect," is accompanied by a hilarious PowerPoint presentation that had me in stitches (complete with "Click to add subtitle" inscribed across the screen) and focuses on the claim that everything good that has happened in the past 45 years can be attributed to Luke's aunt and uncle being murdered on Tattooine. The Berlin Wall? Check. Carrot Top still playing at the Luxor? Check.
Another highlight was the Hamilton-inspired tune "Anakin." The energy onstage and off was electric as the song parodied both the actors and their characters from the Star Wars prequel movies. Each performer plays - and raps - multiple characters, necessitating quick wardrobe changes and tight enunciation and all three deliver. By the time "We Got Leia" rolls around, the audience is warm and ready for the ode to the feminist icon and general and, when the actors left the stage at the end, writer/actor Taylor got a few high fives from the front row.
Furthermore, the dancing throughout the production, designed by choreographer Ashley Marinelli, is fun and frenetic. Mirroring the silliness of the production itself, it nevertheless is rooted in legitimacy from a musical theatre standpoint: there's some athleticism required and even a bit of tap from the cast. And all three performers, despite being in a show that unabashedly pokes fun at itself and an entire franchise (and its fans), are unquestionably triple threats with outstanding comic chops. They can do campy fan service, yes, but I was also completely unsurprised to see their depth of their bios with Off-Broadway, regional, and tour credits. I'd love to see the team's other production, NEWSical the Musical, playing concurrently on the Strip in the same venue.
That is not to say that this show is for everyone, of course. Unfortunately, during the production that I saw, there were a few tech issues including slow cues and a microphone that was out for the majority of the show (I can only imagine that it was more difficult for audience members in the back rows to hear, as I personally was seated near the stage), and a handful of audience members walked out during the production. I can't imagine what they thought they were there to see - the advertising made it quite clear that this was an unauthorized musical parody of Star Wars - but apparently it wasn't what was staged.
That said, I greatly enjoyed the show for what it was: a lighthearted, irreverent afternoon with my family, filled to the brim with Star Wars lore and well-performed songs... and no, that's no Jedi mind trick. A Musical About Star Wars runs at the V Theater each Thursday through Sunday afternoons at 4:30 p.m. Tickets: V Theater.