When 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!, with a book by Tom D’Angora, Taylor Crousore, and Scott Richard Foster, and music and lyrics by Billy Recce, originally opened on May the Fourth, 2019, at Theatre Row, it soon transferred to the larger St. Luke’s Theatre (which, in case you were wondering, is not named after Luke Skywalker), then closed prematurely in March 2020 due to COVID. A 2021 Christmas run was also cancelled as a result of the pandemic, but the high-camp show, following a 2022 engagement at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, is now back in NYC for a limited run at AMT Theater, though it’s destined to become a cult classic with a run that knows no earthly limits.
The hilarious metatheatrical play-within-a-play follows the journey of Star Wars superfans and friends Scott and Taylor, who plan on taking their self-made unauthorized amateur musical about the space-epic franchise to New York Comic-Con, after getting a restraining order from every other one in the country. And that’s not their only challenge. They need a woman to play Princess Leia, so they hire Emily, a union member of Actors Equity with a hidden agenda; she’s also a women’s rights activist and a hater of Star Wars for its lack of diversity and female representation. Will she break her contract, refuse to perform, and take down the show, or can they convince her that their favorite blockbuster series is not as misogynist, homophobic, and racist as she thinks?
Directed by D’Angora with full-out energy, non-stop laughs, and an all-embracing appreciation for obsessive fandom and nerd culture, the three-hander (plus the guys’ handmade droid G.U.I.L., the Greatest Ultimate Intelligent Lifeform) features a wealth of information about everything Star Wars, abundant inside references to musical theater, direct-address breaks through the fourth wall, active cosplay signaled by sound cues, sight gags (including a quick change made to Emily’s protest sign), and over-the-top parodic characters you can’t help but love, who will have you rooting for their Comic-Con dream to come true.
A terrific cast – Taylor Crousore as the Gen-X Winger Scott, Stone Mountain as the Millennial Falcon Taylor, and Maggie McDowell as the “actorvist” Emily – delivers all the campy humor, geeky personalities, background stories and bonding, silly disagreements and a funny fight with lightsabers, segments of conversation in an alien language, and nine bouncy original songs (music direction by Ed Goldschneider) and dances (choreography by Ashley Marinelli) with spot-on comedic timing, hysterical facial expressions, moves, and gestures, stellar vocals, and a zealous spirit of unwavering commitment to the missions that drive the socially awkward but determined characters.
In an attempt to avoid spoilers so you can experience all the fun for yourself, I will only say that one of the innumerable highlights of the sidesplitting musical is “Anakin” – rapped by the trio to the tune of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Alexander Hamilton,” but with revised lyrics to suit the theme and cut-out portraits of the characters from the Star Wars sequels attached to their heads – which elicited extended mid-show applause, laughs, and cheers from the wildly enthusiastic house (and me).
The artistic design contributes immeasurably to the hilarity of the story, with an intentionally low-budget set by Mark Halpin, equally economic but familiar props that mimic those from the movies, and an array of makeshift costumes (made, we are told, by Taylor’s mother, who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome), enhanced by sci-fi-style lighting (by Aiden Bezark) and sound (by Brent Michael Jones), and digital projections on an upstage screen that begin with a pre-show quiz to test your Star Wars knowledge.
A Musical about Star Wars is a wildly entertaining must-see show, not only for devoted film fanatics, but for everyone who enjoys clever pop-culture send-ups and no-holds-barred farcical performances by a masterful cast. Even if you’re not up on all of your Star Wars trivia, it will still transport you to a galaxy of fun where the laughs are never that far, far away. May the Farce be with you.
Running Time: Approximately 85 minutes, without intermission.