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'Star Trek Live' show mixes fun and science

Mad Science Productions'

Mad Science Productions' "Star Trek Live!" is playing at the Staller Center in Stony Brook on Jan. 30, 2011. Credit: Mad Science Productions

If you're a "Star Trek" fan, you've probably dreamed of being transported to a starship or setting your phaser on stun to stop a charging Klingon. If so, you'll want to grab a seat as Mad Science Productions brings "Star Trek Live" to Staller Center on Sunday.

But don't expect to see actors dressed as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock because this touring stage show is not as much a tribute as a program threading science through a "Star Trek" story.

It involves a Romulan (a member of a warmongering species) who has traveled back in time to the first day of Starfleet Academy (a 23rd century college for prospective crew members) to steal "The Core," which is this unknown something that is vital to the future of the United Federation of Planets. A Vulcan (a member of a peace-loving species) is chasing the Romulan through time to set things right.

Audience members - otherwise known as cadets - are called up to help Voula, the Vulcan time-traveling cop, prevent the crime.

Cast members weave in "Star Trek" themes as they advance the story line. Experiments also are conducted throughout the audience.

From NASA, with love

"What people don't know if they didn't watch the original show is that a lot of the gadgets mentioned in the show have evolved as the show has evolved," says Leonard Lipes, of Mad Science Productions, which also puts on after-school programs, parties and workshops for children. "It is surprising how much of the things talked about in the show are now reality. The tricorder was a wireless communication device. We now have 4G wireless communication. We now have body scans . . . We're also telling the story of NASA. People forget that many of the things we have today were things from the space program that were adapted for commercial use."

For Trekkers

Lipes says that, from the music to inside jokes, Trekkers will be satisfied. "You don't have to be a fan of 'Star Trek' to get almost 100 hundred percent of the stuff," Lipes says. "But we did put some things in just for Trekkers. We've had some fans critique the show, and the worst thing they found wrong was that Voula's ears weren't pointed in the right direction. If this is the worst they can find wrong, I feel pretty good." Throughout the show, there are video cameos and messages from characters in the 2009 "Star Trek" movie.

For everybody else

The producers try to pack a lot of science into the 60 minutes. For example, the effect of gravity on the body. "We call up a big guy from the audience and ask him to lift a heavy weight," Lipes explained. After the big guy struggles, Voula's Vulcan strength, quite logically, lifts it like a feather.

WHAT: Star Trek Live

WHEN | WHERE: 4 p.m. Sunday, Staller Center, Stony Brook University

INFO: 631-632-2787,

COST: $12

The show returns to Long Island at 2 p.m. March 12 at Tilles Center in Brookville ($14-$30, 516-299-3100,

'Video Games Live'


An orchestra, actors, laser lights and screens give the audience a feeling of video games stepping out of the computer and onto the stage. You'll hear music from some of the most popular and iconic games and characters - "Super Mario Bros.," "Zelda," "Final Fantasy," "Halo" and "Warcraft," for instance. You'll also see actors portraying legendary game characters such as those from "Tron." "All of the music is synchronized to massive video screens and all sorts of different lights," says Tommy Tallarico, creator and host of the show. "We also have people coming up onstage playing the games. We have all the power of a live symphony orchestra, the energy of a rock concert and the fun of playing video games."

WHEN | WHERE: 8 p.m. Saturday (doors open at 6 p.m.), Tilles Center, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville

INFO: 516-299-3100,

COST: $42-$67

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