The next "Star Wars" movie isn’t out until December, but serious fans in need of a fix might want to check out Theater Row's clever "A Musical About Star Wars," which riffs on the beloved institution.
While those who aren't die-hards may miss bits of the constant barrage of references, you don't have to be a huge fan to enjoy the Off-Broadway show, which runs through June 29, says Billy Recce, the young Long Islander who wrote the music and lyrics. "There's really something for everybody," notes the Hauppauge High graduate, who just got his playwriting degree from Fordham University.
The show, written by Tom D'Angora (who also directs) and cast members Taylor Crousore and Scott Richard Foster, has music ranging from show tunes to ballads to rap, with the tireless performers working their way through songs and sketches that meet somewhere between parody and homage to the vast "Star Wars" empire — the sequels, the prequels, the action figures.
Recce, 21, who says he grew up in a "Star Wars" household and wrote his college essay on "Revenge of the Sith," explains the setup: Two super fans decide to put on a musical about the glories of "Star Wars" in hopes of getting to Comic Con, but they're stymied by the lone woman in the cast who reveals that she wants to sabotage the production over what she perceives to be its egregious misogyny (along with a litany of other failings). In the end, says Recce, they convince her that the movies are "a lot deeper than people think." Audiences have been more than receptive, he says, and hopefully the show will move to a larger theater midsummer.
While the recent college grad claims he's taking some down time over the summer, that hardly seems the case. Writing shows since he was in third or fourth grade, he has five musicals in the works. He's also taking another look at the show he happily calls "his baby." That would be "Balloon Boy," a musical he wrote when he was 16 about the infamous hoax (you remember, Colorado parents claimed their son was trapped in a flying-saucer-like helium balloon) now that the 10th anniversary of the event is approaching.
On Aug. 11, Recce heads to Feinstein's/54 Below to perform from his "Perks of Being a Snowflake" songbook (also the name of the album he released in October). He describes the show as an exploration of being a millennial wallflower, "songs about young people finding their way."
Not surprisingly, Recce has set huge goals for himself. "I want to make a living writing songs that make people feel something," he says, "having them laugh, having them cry."
And he seeks a familial vibe. "I want to spend my life doing theater for people who enjoy each other's company and feed off of each other's energy," he says. "If I make the people on stage and in the audience feel supremely welcome, then I've done my job."
WHAT "A Musical About Star Wars"
WHEN | WHERE Through June 29, Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd St.
INFO $67.25; 212-239-6200, telecharge.com