The Force is strong with this one

“Star Wars: The Musical” is a parody of the original three “Star Wars” episodes: “A New Hope,” “Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”

John Fischer, senior physics major, is the brains behind the musical, creating the concept and writing it. Fischer is currently recording the soundtrack on campus with the help of Amanda Roggenburg, senior communication studies major; Vinny Scafuto, sophomore history education major; James Introcaso, junior communication studies major; and Jennifer Nelson, alumna.

“I’m very excited to hear the final cut of all the songs,” Roggenburg said. “I’m so impressed with what John has put together, and I really hope it turns out the way he envisioned it.”

The musical is comprised of three acts; each act is one of the original films. The films deal with the themes of good and evil, featuring a messiah figure. The capacity within everyone to become evil and the realization that there is a choice are major aspects of the story. There are about 10 songs total, and each act is comprised of about 30 minutes of music and 15 minutes of dialogue. There are big musical numbers at the beginning and end of every act. Many of the songs were written specifically for the scene.

“There are also a large number of songs that fit our personal views of how some scenes could have been done differently,” Fischer said.

“A New Hope,” commonly referred to as “Star Wars,” originally opened in 1977. Produced with a budget of $11 million, it grossed $461 million in the Unites States alone. “A New Hope” is ranked No. 2 in the all-time top grossing box office films in the United States. It is also the highest grossing of all the films in the “Star Wars” series, based on ticket sales and adjusted to account for inflation. “Star Wars” has been parodied many times since its creation, most notably in the film “Spaceballs,” which was released 10 years after “A New Hope.”

Several of the songs are based on tunes from popular musicals such as “Rent,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The songs have been rewritten to fit the story line. Some examples of the songs are: “Too Darn Hoth,” which is a take on “Too Darn Hot” from “Kiss Me Kate,” and “Do You Hear the Jedi Sing,” based on the song from “Les Mis?rables” called “Do You Hear the People Sing.”

Fischer said that he does a lot of community theater, and that led him to this writing opportunity. In community theater he ran into the director of the spring musical at his former high school. He was approached by the director, who wanted to do “Star Wars” as a musical but did not have the time to write it himself. According to Fischer, the director had seen something similar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Fischer worked with a friend, Dave Breidenstine, who is not a student at the College. Breidenstine did all the music for the show, adding the “Star Wars” theme music into several songs.

The musical is going to be preformed at Cedar Crest High School in Lebanon, Pa. Fischer added three female parts to the musical to bridge the gap between the number of male and female roles.

Fischer made the female parts narrators and trio parts, “like the Ron-ettes in ‘Little Shop (of Horrors),'” Fischer said.

According to Fischer, the story has been reworked “while the basic plot elements remain the same. The characters are, at some times, written differently for the humor’s sake.”

Roggenburg is lending her voice to the soundtrack. The soundtrack cannot be distributed because it would violate copyright laws. According to Fischer, because the musical is being performed at a high school there is educational value, which allows the musical to be performed without violating the copyright.

Copies of the soundtrack are only going to be produced for the people who worked on it and the director at the high school.

“We recorded a lot of the soundtrack during winter break when everyone had more free time and was able to meet. Now that we’re back at school, we plan to do more recording on the weekends,” Roggenburg said. “It takes a lot of time and patience to get everything just right, but I know the final product will really be worth it.”