NYMF Run of Last Starfighter Musical Blasts Off Sept. 28

News   NYMF Run of Last Starfighter Musical Blasts Off Sept. 28 The Last Starfighter, the musical that mixes romance, adventure, science fiction and coming-of-age, begins its latest journey — in a new production in the New York Musical Theatre Festival — Sept. 28.
Danny Binstock
Danny Binstock

The "romantic musical sci-fi fantasy" is based on the screenplay of the same name and has a book by Fred Landau and music and lyrics by Skip Kennon. The new staging, directed by Elizabeth Lucas and choreographed by David Eggers (dance captain of Broadway's Curtains), runs to Oct. 7 (and includes a recently added performance at 4:30 PM Oct. 5) at The Theater at St. Clements in Manhattan.

Kennon wrote the scores for the musicals Time and Again and Herringbone. The screenplay of the film "The Last Starfighter" is by Jonathan Betuel.

A 2004 Off-Broadway production of the show at the Storm Theatre lured musical theatre fans and sci-fi geeks alike.

Kennon told Playbill.com two new songs have been added to the show for this latest incarnation, and that the romance between Alex and Maggie has been deepened by librettist Landau. There are new, freshened, "more specific" lyrics throughout the script in this version, Kennon said.

The NYMF run features young actor Danny Binstock (seen in North Shore's High School Musical, Shakespeare Theatre's Titus Andronicus in DC) as the teenage California video game wizard, Alex Rogan, who is enlisted by Joe Kolinski (Titanic, Les Miz, A Christmas Carol), who plays alien Centauri, the role played by Robert Preston in the 1984 film. Alex is such a high scorer on the video game in the trailer park where he lives that he's recruited by Centauri for space duty. Broadway veteran Don Mayo (Man of La Mancha, On the Town, The Scarlet Pimpernel) plays Otis Wright, the mountain-town resident who narrates the tale.

Nora Blackall plays Maggie, the young love interest of the show's hero, Alex. Blackall appeared in The Sound of Music with Richard Chamberlain, in Goodspeed Musicals' A Little Night Music and is a featured singer on the recording "Simple Gifts: Carols From the Abbey."

The Starfighter troupe also includes Janet Carroll (Aunt March in Braodway's recent Little Women) as Granny; Adinah Alexander (Wicked, The Wedding Singer) as Mrs. Rogan; Tom Treadwell (the 20th anniversary Annie revival) as Rylan leader Enduran. The troupe also includes Mary Ellen Ashley (whose many credits start with the original Annie Get Your Gun); Michael Cone (Broadway's La Boheme, Rags, A Christmas Carol); Jesse J.P. Johnson (Altar Boyz tour); Jonathan Richard Sandler (Dr. Dolittle tour); Ryan Jesse; Natalie Hall; Sean Montgomery and Jessica Blair.

Andrea Jess Berkey is production stage manager. The creative team also includes Herrick Goldman (lighting design), Anne Goelz (set design), Keith Truax (tech director), Betsy Rhodes (sound design), Mark Richard Caswell (costume design) and Michael Cassara Casting (casting). Karen Marshall is production assistant.

Performances play Sept. 28 at 8 PM, Sept. 29 at 1 PM, Oct. 3 at 9 PM, Oct. 5 at 1 PM and 4:30 PM, Oct. 6 at 9 PM and Oct. 7 at 4 PM.

The Last Starfighter played an Off-Broadway showcase production in 2004, produced by The Storm Theatre. The show broke the troupe's weekly attendance and weekly box-office records. An original cast recording is on the Kritzerland label.

Kennon's solo-actor musical, Herringbone, enjoyed a well-regarded revival starring B.D. Wong at Williamstown Theatre Festival earlier this year.

According to NYMF notes, "It's spring 1983 in a Sierra Nevada trailer park. High school senior Alex Rogan's hardworking, unrewarded life takes an unexpected turn when he breaks a video game record and is spirited away by the game's inventor, the alien huckster Centauri, to fight for the Star League in a faraway galaxy. Centauri leaves behind Beta, a body double droid of Alex, to cover Alex's absence with his mother, brother and beloved girlfriend Maggie while Alex is off fighting the evil Zur and the Ko-dan Armada. Beta's comic mishaps on Earth with Maggie and the neighbors in the trailer park, and shape-shifting alien assassins in pursuit of Alex on his home turf, alternate with Alex's heroic starfighter achievements. Alex must reach inside himself to discover his true potential — the universe and his life depend on it!"

The CD song list includes "Starlite Starbrite," "Somebody, Somewhere, Something," "A Place Like This," "Little Did We Know (The Game)," "Things Change," "Out of This World," "Star League Anthem," "Father to Son," "Love Is Like Water," "To Make a Hero," "Zandozan!," "To Make a Hero" (reprise), "Spring Break," "Reach Out," "Caves of the Heart (The Battle)" and "Finale."

Tickets are $20 and may be purchased online at www.nymf.org or at (212) 352-3101. Single tickets are now on sale.

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The Last Starfighter is produced by NYMF, The Last Starfighter LLC and Julie Miller.

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