Through February 29|
WICKET Shea’s Smith Theatre/O’Connell & Company
For many, there is something canonical about the “Star Wars” movies, particularly the middle three.
The sixth is “Return of the Jedi,” concluding with the struggle over the second Death Star, floating high above the moon of Endor.
For help, the rebels ally with the Ewoks, the meter-high residents of Bright Tree Village on the moon.
With the Ewoks, the rebels won the battle and that phase of the long war with the Empire.
They celebrate across the big screen and endless re-runs.
Travis Sharp and Haddon Kime look at it differently, as an opportunity for comedy and farce and more music than on the movie screen, with “Wicket.”
O’Connell & Company is having fun with the entire parody and crowds are showing up to see the show.
The people who put the show together, argue it’s a struggle over letting the Ewoks tell their own story and an attack on the male and white power structure of the Empire.
It’s a little hard to tell the story because it’s so complicated and many cast members are in more than one role.
There’s a power struggle for control of the tribe, with Wicket (Sam Crystal) seeking to succeed her father, a role traditionally taken by male Ewoks.
The Emperor (John Kreuzer) shows up because the critters are actually a genetic experiment of his and he now wants to sell them off as toys and perhaps food.
He’s something out of a Christmas panto, prancing and singing from inside that black robe.
This isn’t the Palpatine familiar from the movies, a wonderfully evil man, perfect for a story which spreads across the galaxy.
It better not be because this is the first show I can remember that a lawyer had to scan the script and rule whether it’s a violation of George Lucas’ and Disney’s copyrights to the entire world of “Star Wars.”
I don’t think the Lucas/Disney team is concerned with a lot of this, tunes like “Damn It’s Great to be an Ewok,” “Ewoks in Stock!” or “The Little Light Strikes Back.”
But, it’s probably closer to the line with “Princess Sleia,” “All Mine” or “Defying Palpatine.”
It’s entertaining and often because it’s so fast paced and because of those performers playing different roles.
That’s always an issue unless the costumes let the audience differentiate, like the performers here who have storm trooper costumes, with the helmet.
Besides Crystal’s Wicket, there is also Jetaun Louie’s Ensign, soaring out of the Ewok ranks as the most visible performances.
With strong basic material, the company does good work here with Joey Bucheker as director and choreographer.
“Wicket” is worth seeing, worth heading down to the entertainment attractions of the Theatre District and returning to the moon of Endor, although very differently.
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