March 11, 2016

Hartford, CT Review

On an unseasonably warm Sunday night in March, I attended the much anticipated show of Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage, at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford, CT. I was not quite sure what to expect. I purposely had not read any of the reviews in order to prevent any foreknowledge of the show. I suppose I like to maintain that element of surprise.

As I entered the Bushnell, the theater was buzzing with excitement! Imagine, all of these inhabitants of the Land of Steady Habits coming together to celebrate the golden anniversary of a show which has become a cultural phenomenon. Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek presented us with a new vision of the future. This future, this “Undiscovered Country” was not a dystopian disaster filled with fear, violence, and destruction. No, this universe had a message of hope, cooperation, respect, and wonder. And what better means to transport us to this new future than to fly on the wings of music! Symphonic music in all its moments of grandeur and simplicity. For fifty years, we lived through the many trials, tribulations (Tribble-ations??), and triumphs with wonderful musical accompaniment to add emotional color of Star Trek, both on the television and at the movies.

The futuristic styling of the set was our first clue that we would be transported to another time and place. The musicians entered and tuned their instruments, following the lead of the First Chair violinist. The Conductor mounted the platform with a twinkle in his eye, giving us a hint that this would be a very enjoyable experience. The visual presentation started on the big screen and we were greeted instantaneously with a familiar voice; Michael Dorn’s resonant narration would be our guide during our voyage.

What a delightful retrospective of our future! All of the series were represented. Fifty years is quite a time span. I cannot say that every moment of every series and every movie was covered because that would be humanly impossible with the timeframe involved (not android impossible, however…). Rest assured that certainly many, many of the characters that gave meaning to the Star Trek universe were there. And some of the most highly acclaimed and emotional moments were represented.

What I was particularly intrigued by was the richness and depth that a live orchestra provided. The different movements truly enhanced the performances, eliciting a full range of emotions. I got goosebumps hearing the music from the fight scene which takes place on Vulcan between Kirk and Spock. And I cried when I heard the medley that Picard learned on the Ressikan flute. It was fascinating watching the musicians and how their music synchronized with the action on the screen. What a talented ensemble!

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage was a wonderfully nostalgic experience for someone who has been a fan since 1966. I hope all Trek aficionados have the opportunity to see it—YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!

“The glory of creation lies in its infinite diversity. And the ways our differences combine to create meaning and beauty.” Live long and prosper!