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The Other Star Wars

MTG Musical Opens New Exhibit For the Museum of Science

By Laura Nicholson

When Jacqueline B. Kirtley ’96, a Museum of Science employee, heard that the MoS was looking for Star Wars-themed entertainment at a black-tie event, she knew just what to suggest.

As a long-time member of the MIT Musical Theater Guild, Kirtley knew that the Guild had the perfect act to kick off the Museum’s new exhibit “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination.” The Guild will perform two large group numbers from its popular show “Star Wars: Musical Edition” at the elaborate opening event.

The MTG cast is excited about performing in front of an enthusiastic audience at the Museum of Science, said MTG President Eleanor M. Pritchard ’06. “It’s also such an involved audience because people who love Star Wars love Star Wars.”

Several important figures involved in Star Wars are expected to attend “so MTG will be performing two numbers of this show in front of George Lucas.”

Kirtley said she looks forward to the show as a chance to “showcase some of the things MIT does that aren’t likely to become exhibits” at the Museum.

Androids driving Maglevs?

The Boston Museum of Science has been working with Lucasfilm Ltd. for over four years to create an exhibit to familiarize people with technology in a fun and creative way, Kirtley said.

The exhibit shows how technology that was purely science fiction at the time it was conceptualized in the Star Wars films has since become technically possible.

For example, visitors are challenged to create their own Maglev vehicles, inspired by Luke’s landspeeder from Episode IV, using hands-on learning stations called Engineering Design Labs.

The MIT Media Lab will also play a role in the exhibit. Visitors who enter a large-scale model of the Sandcrawler from Episode IV will be treated to a ten-minute video featuring Cynthia L. Breazeal, associate professor and director of the Robotic Life Group at MIT. Breazeal will hold a conversation with the android C-3PO about mobility, perception and cognition in robotic design.

“I’m kind of mind-boggled by the idea of androids, but C-3PO is kind of cool,” Kirtley said.

Show to conquer other episodes

After first producing “Star Wars: Musical Edition” during January, 2003, the Guild voted to commit to creating a three-hour production featuring the entire original Star Wars Trilogy for Fall 2005.

The original show featured material from Episode IV, and MTG performed it at a Star Wars convention in Indiana this spring.

The MTG show uses original lyrics set to well-known songs from Broadway musicals to tell the story of Star Wars. The production features parodies of songs from such varied musicals as West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Chicago, and The Lion King.

Although the show borrows from well-known musicals, the score is entirely original, thanks to Stephen L. Peters G. “He’s actually rewritten all of the original music so that the Star Wars theme is incorporated,” Kirtley said.

MTG will perform the three-hour show referencing the entire original trilogy throughout November as their fall show. “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” will run at the Boston Museum of Science from Oct. 27 through Apr. 30 before beginning a tour of six other U.S. cities.