Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star
by Curt Bright and the String Beans [Compact Disc j782.42 Str]

The cinematic Star Wars universe is enjoying a rebirth, with new films in production right now (the first scheduled for release in December 2015), a new animated series (Star Wars Rebels) on TV, and excitement building over the direction the new films will go. This seems like a perfect time to look back with fondness and a bit of tongue-in-cheek at the original trilogy that started it all. Curt Bright, singer/musician with the popular Lincoln children's music group The String Beans, has created a musical parody/tribute to Star Wars/The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi. In the fannish tradition of Filking -- setting new lyrics to popular existing music -- Bright created a staged musical that retells the events of the original trilogy through songs -- hilarious, goofy and perfectly rewritten songs. Some of the examples include "Sand People" (to Randy Newman's "Short People"), "Don't Stop Rebelling" (to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'"), "Leia" (to Eric Clapton's "Layla"), "Lake of Fire" (to Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire"), "Vader Cut Off My Hand" (to the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand"), "Stormtroopers" (to the "Ghostbusters" theme by Ray Parker Jr.), and "Always Look on the Dark Side of Life" (to Eric Idle's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life") -- these just scratch the surface!

The stage show was performed in various formats at various venues (including area sci-fi conventions), before culminating in a live show produced at YAAL (Youth Actors Academy of Lincoln), twice. Bright and his adult String Beans associates recorded this soundtrack album, which first became available for fans at the YAAL shows. Although it is not the YAAL actors performing on the CD, if you've been lucky enough to have seen the staged YAAL musical, this soundtrack album will still bring back fond memories. If you never saw A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star performed live, well then, first, you've missed a true treasure of sci-fi pop culture, but second, you'll still enjoy this album for its hilarious take on Star Wars tropes. And the best news? The show may be coming back to a Lincoln stage again in the near future! [Note: Although this is cataloged in the library collection as a juvenile item, it may actually appeal to adults even more -- some of the reworked fannish song lyrics may go over the heads of the youngest listeners.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the classic movie/tv musical parodies from Mad Magazine, reprinted in various Mad Magazine archival collections. Mind you, this is a recommendation of the movie musical parodies, not just the straight-forward movie parodies.]

[ Extended Review (also by this reviewer) and photos from past local productions of this staged musical ] | [ official The String Beans web site - where you can order this CD ]

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