More of my interview with “Star Wars in Concert” narrator and C-3PO performer Anthony Daniels:
PHOTO: ANOTHER PLANET ENTERTAINMENT
Unlike the Star Wars films, where John Williams’ score was cut to the film, “Star Wars in Concert” features footage that was cut to emphasize the music.
“We all know John Williams’ music, but I think a lot of people don’t know how it’s made,” said Anthony Daniels, narrator of the production and the voice of C-3PO going back to the original Star Wars movie in 1977. “Here they can actually see the violins are working in counterpoint to the cello, the double bass, the percussion sure as heck makes itself heard, because the brass comes in — but they’re all taking from each other, interweaving, repeating, repeating back again, throwing the ball back at each other all the time. … And it’s live. Very few people go to live concerts. I mean a lot of them go, but a lot more people could go if we take away the mystery.”
But there’s more than music to “Star Wars in Concert”: Traveling with the show is an exclusive exhibit of props, production artwork and costumes – including one of Daniels’ own original C-3PO suits. “So you can gaze in its glass case and think why would anybody, even for ready money, wear that kind of thing,” Daniels said wryly. “Which is why I’m very happy not to be wearing it here for the show.”
Daniels said there is a moment in the show, however, where his suit “becomes a little golden.
“There are shades of Threepio that appear within the concert, but it’s very much me,” he said.
Daniels admitted to being a little intimated by the scope of the gigantic LED screens and vast venues like London’s O2 Arena, where the show debuted as “Star Wars: A Musical Journey” earlier this year.
“As an element of the show, I have to come up to that level of intensity projection, though I’m a human being,” he said. “It is quite an honor and a responsibility, because I want to get it right, and if I’m coming out of the gold shell for the first time in public, then I don’t want to disappoint people. ‘Get back in the suit!’ I don’t want to let them down.”
PHOTO: JAYSON PETERS, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE
That’s not likely to happen, as Daniels and the show received two standing ovations from normally reserved London audiences. “Then tend to sit down and applaud a lot, but standing up is something special. And they went for it.” Just as movie audiences the world over went for Star Wars, which was passed over by studio after studio until Twentieth Century Fox gambled on a young filmmaker’s belief in himself.
“I’ve seen Star Wars, the original, without music. It doesn’t work,” Daniels said. “George Lucas knew that it needed somebody as skilled as John Williams to write another character on the cast list, and that character is the music. You know, it takes on a life of its own. I’m not sure whether audiences are totally aware that they’re listening to music in a funny way, or are they just aware of the emotion that that brings into them. The Darth Maul theme – do you hear the music or do you just feel the naked, raw, vicious power?”
Asked if he had a favorite piece from the score, the narrator mentioned several: “The Flag Parade” from the podrace sequence of Episode I — The Phantom Menace and the “Duel of the Fates” theme from the same film, as well as the frenetic “Forest Battle” theme from Return of the Jedi and the more relaxed “Parade of the Ewoks” from the same film.
Daniels, 63, admits he hasn’t seen the beloved movies nearly as often as the average fan, but said he enjoys the concert’s montages all the more for it.
“It is like looking at a family album,” he said wistfully, referring to images of young costars Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. “No film had been like that before: Strange sort of story in a strange environment, told with great sincerity and full of effects – but neat characters. You know, a Wookiee, robots, man in a big, black helmet.
PHOTO: ANOTHER PLANET ENTERTAINMENT
“Often you can say this is a family show, but often it’s slightly with gritted teeth for the parents, who are basically there for their kids. This is absolutely, genuinely a grandparents-parents-children show, and that’s lovely because it’s a very innocent subject, you know.”
Daniels hopes audiences, particularly children, will want to discover the galaxy of music that exists beyond the Star Wars soundtrack.
“I want people to think ‘Well maybe I’ll go to a Tchaikovsky or a Beethoven concert after this. I can always leave if I don’t like it.’
“But to see live orchestral players making live sound, I think, is absolutely magic. I know because I’ve been there,” he said.
Look for more about “Star Wars in Concert” from my interview with Mr. Daniels as the event approaches.
|“Star Wars in Concert”
When: 2 and 7 p.m. Oct. 4
Where: Jobing.com Arena, 9400 W. Maryland Ave., Glendale
Cost: $29.75 to $69.74
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