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Review: SOLO MUST DIE: A MUSICAL PARODY - May the Force Be With It

Review: SOLO MUST DIE: A MUSICAL PARODY - May the Force Be With It

SOLO MUST DIE: A MUSICAL PARODY/book by Jordan Stidham & Ari Stidham/music & lyrics by Hughie Stone Fish & Ari Stidham/directed by Ari Stidham/The Hudson Mainstage Theatre/thru May 27, 2018

Stidley Theatrical's world premiere of SOLO MUST DIE: A MUSICAL PARODY succeeds in presenting an intentionally cheesy production of a fan fiction written by Hugh, a nerdy Star Wars aficionado. All performers fully commit to their individual and collective antics as various Star Wars characters, as seen through the pen of geeky Hugh, played most convincingly Review: SOLO MUST DIE: A MUSICAL PARODY - May the Force Be With It by John Ryan. The story plays out on stage as Hugh convinces his fellow fanboy and friend Colm (a game Jordan R. Coleman) to read his creation.

A commanding, yet vulnerable Jordan Stidham as the perplexed titular Solo, Han possesses the necessary comic timing, the vocal cords and the non-dancer dance stepping for a sturdy comic lead. Keenan Montgomery as Solo's friend Lando knows his own way around the stage with his dulcet tones, his nimble dancing feet and sharp line deliveries. Stidham and Montgomery have a very nice choreographed duet in "Porgs of a Feather." Would have loved to hear much more singing from Selorm Kploanyi as Galaxia, the object of Lando's affections. We get a hint of her gorgeous vocals in "I Still Want Adventure," her lovely duet with Stidham.

Other stand-outs in this Star Wars parody include: Cooper Karn in a furry one-piece Review: SOLO MUST DIE: A MUSICAL PARODY - May the Force Be With It body suit as Chewbacca and Michelle Wicklas effortlessly puppeting BB8 (aka R2D2), consisting of an orange-taped white beach ball and a hovering colander with a straw on top. Sound effects from both Karn and Wicklas' so characteristically appropriate. Wicklas also has a clever continuing voice-over bit as Galaxia's 'Smart House' (think Amazon's Alexa). Hughie Stone Fish does wonders as the robotic Droidberg Jr, with his jerky movements and mechanical line delivery. Coleman steals the spotlight as his other character, a glitched-out computerized Leia.

Review: SOLO MUST DIE: A MUSICAL PARODY - May the Force Be With It But SOLO MUST DIE: A MUSICAL PARODY is Ari Stidham's show, as he co-wrote (with Jordan Stidham), directs, and stars as the villain of the piece Grand Moff Levine. He grabs center stage every chance he gets, especially in his intro solo "I Wanna Kill Han Solo." He constantly breaks the fourth wall encouraging adoring applause.

Providing strong support throughout: Kaitlyn Tanimoto as Grand Moff Levine's daughter Annie, Zach Green as Jabba The Hut, and in a variety of roles - both Alex Lewis and Sean Draper.

All handle Tevyn Cole's cutesy choreography well, especially in "Cash, The Falcon, Chewy and You" and the LES MIZ-ish "Act One Finale." Un-credited costume reproductions are a hoot.

One of the American theater's seminal writers, Adrienne Kennedy captures the Black experience in America in the 20th century with a trademark embrace of symbolism, lyricism, and mythic figures. In this world premiere production, Etta and Ella Harrison are talented academics on the Upper West Side – as well as sisters and rivals.

Jiaoying Summers and Hollywood Improv to Present
STAND WITH ASIANS Benefit This Month Photo
Because laughter and comedy can unite us all in the face of tragedy, comedy star Jiaoying Summers is hosting an evening event at iconic Hollywood Improv to raise funds for “Stand with Asians.” The proceeds, channeled through the Stand with Asians Community Fund will benefit the victims of gun violence including the most recent heartbreaking massacres in Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park during Lunar New Year. 

HEAVENLY COUNTRY to Open in March at Two Roads Theatre Photo
Two Roads Theatre will present Heavenly Country, the world premiere engagement of a jukebox musical written by Joel Russell. Directed by L. Flint Esquerra, music directed by Paul Cady, and produced by Russell Media, the production will run March 24- April 22, 2023. Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

LOS ANGELES WOMENS THEATRE FESTIVAL to Open at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in March Photo
The longest-running Annual Solo Festival for women in Los Angeles, LAWTF will take place March 23- March 26 at Barnsdall Art Park Gallery Theatre.

From This Author - Gil Kaan

      Gil Kaan, a former Managing Editor of the now-defunct Genre magazine, has had the privilege of photographing and interviewing some major divas of film, television, and stage in... (read more about this author)

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