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'Star Wars' touring concert kicks off in Southern California

July 23, 2009 | 10:31 am

Starwars

Love it or loathe it, John Williams' music for the "Star Wars" series is bound to go down in history as one of the most popular orchestral movie scores ever written. Cue that opening brass fanfare, and may the force be with you.

The "Star Wars" theme is a favorite at concerts and fanboy events all over the world, but even we at Culture Monster haven't seen anything this elaborate in awhile: "Star Wars: In Concert" is a touring multimedia concert event kicking off this fall in Southern California and featuring music from all six of Williams’ "Star Wars" scores.

Performed by a full symphony orchestra and choir, and accompanied by footage from the films displayed on a three-story high-definition super-screen, the concert event begins its worldwide tour on Oct. 1 and 2 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, then travels to the Nokia Theatre in downtown L.A. for performances on Oct. 7 and 8.

The live music and montages will be synchronized to create a full multimedia experience, according to the concert's promoters.

The concert, which has George Lucas' blessing, will feature original film montages created by Lucasfilm to accompany each of the musical selections. It will also feature an exhibition with pages from Williams' original handwritten sheet music for "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace."  Also featured in the exhibition will be costumes and artwork that has never before been seen by the public.

"Star Wars: In Concert" had its world premiere in April at London's 02 Arena, where it was performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. (The London version was titled  "Star Wars: A Musical Journey.")

A reviewer for the Guardian wrote that "the 12-year-olds near me were unflaggingly enthusiastic in their light-saber waving" but added that the concert "would have been much better at half the length."

The Hollywood Reporter had kinder words for the concert, saying that "the sumptuous music of John Williams makes that familiar faraway galaxy sound fresh and new."

The touring production will be conducted by Dirk Brossé (who also led the London production), with production design and direction by Steve Cohen.

-- David Ng

Photo: John Williams and George Lucas consult at the Abbey Road studio in London. Credit: Jonathan Player / For The Times

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