Monday, October 12, 2009

The Making of Star Wars: in Concert

I had the opportunity to preview the half-hour behind the scenes making of Star Wars: in Concert that will broadcast on WLIW21 Saturday, October, 17 at 9:00 p.m. Below is my review:

Star Wars: in Concert promises to be a tour de force (puns intended) of Star Wars music, images and props. WLIW will premier a half-hour behind the scenes look at the creation of the live show. Star Wars: in Concert is like a rock concert for selections of Jon Williams’ music from all six Star Wars films accompanied by specially cut video footage from the movies performed by a full live orchestra and choir. Star Wars theme music has always been a blending of the cool and the classical. Music was as Lucas puts it, “one of the main legs that Star Wars stands on.” In fact, legend says when the first movie was completed—Episode 4 in the maddeningly illogical way Lucas produced the films out of order—the only thing he was really completely happy with was John Williams’ score. Star Wars theme music is instantly familiar to many people, even those who have never watched the movies. (Yes, I know, but they do exist.)

Called by the producer of the event, “a symphonic concert in a rock venue” this traveling show will be narrated by Anthony Daniels himself—what no C3PO suit? Williams chose sixteen selections that he felt identified the thematic musical thread throughout the films. John Williams is arguably one of the most successful and most popular movie theme composers of all time. The list of fantastic and fantastical movie themes you know because of him is long: Star Wars, Jaws, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones, Superman, Jurassic Park, and Harry Potter to name a few.

The technical difficulties the producers had to overcome are highlighted in this show. The video editor timed scenes to the music selections and then a 100 piece orchestra and a 30 piece choir had to perform the selections live timed exactly to the film clips. Steve Cohen (no relation even though that's my father's name too), the show producer, points out the difficulty of getting them to “nail rhythmically” the timing live for the video.

In true Hollywood fashion and typical of Lucas productions every detail of the stage has been designed to match the Star Wars visual theme from the conductor’s podium to the laser lights. Star Wars: in Concert was premiered at the O2 Arena in London on April 10 and 11, 2009 and now is on tour.

This special is a good behind the scenes look at the difficulties in bringing together all the components to make the magic happen. To hear the music performed live and see the gigantic images on the screen along with the ability to really come up close to the film props will be an awesome experience and this video will certainly get you hyped up about it. Seems from this video special that it’s going to be an amazing production and I can’t wait to see it performed live.

The Star Wars in Concert half-hour broadcast will air on WLIW21 Saturday, October 17 at 9 p.m. Encore presentations air Saturday, October 17 at 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, October 18 at 8 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

One more thing. In Lucas’ revisionist mentality, there will be a premier during the live shows of a new, digitally created Yoda for the Episode 1 scenes that originally featured a puppet. I’m not attached to the Episode 1 puppet version of Yoda at all but I hope that he doesn’t then decide to go back to the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi to replace Frank Oz’s brilliant original performance of Yoda. They were classic and still hold up surprisingly well, the puppet a well as the voice acting.

The Star Wars in Concert broadcast special also previews the exclusive exhibit of Star Wars costumes, props, artifacts, and production artwork -- many of which are leaving Skywalker Ranch for the first time -- that accompanies the concert tour, which will come to Nassau Coliseum on November 21.

Lucasfilm, STAR WARS™ and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

Buy the Star Wars Trilogy

No comments: