April 12, 2016

TUCSON, AZ Review

Maybe you are a die-hard Trekkie. Maybe just a casual fan, or perhaps, like me, you love music and film. Whatever the case, you will love Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage

First, there is the stage—a lighted, deconstructed Enterprise against a galaxy of stars. We watch as Kirk scales a rock face, then view some of our history of navigating oceans in tall-ships, to our first ventures into the skies and then space. Exploration is a fitting beginning. We are moved through the eras of Star Trek, from the beginnings in 1967 through the latest feature films. The production is structured by years and by themes—warriors, scenes from holodeck, the Borg, tribbles, sacrifice, honor, exploration of character. Memorable sayings are used throughout: “In space, all warriors are cold ones,” “A single moment in time can be a universe in itself,” “Charting the unknown possibilities of existence,” “Live long and prosper,” and many others. 

The expertly weaved music sweeps us along with the film. Discordant chords from the 1960s help us relive the original series. Then a poignant, sweet mix helps us understand Data’s character, and the question of what makes us human. The music includes both original themes and new composition, and matches the intent and tone of the film.

Taking a well-loved franchise that spans decades and marrying it with a stunning score is a huge accomplishment. When we can see the work put into a piece of art, the struggle to make something meaningful, we can appreciate it even more. The extra effort from the live orchestra, with individual musicians working together with the conductor, reminds us this is indeed a labor of love.

Successful shows help us to forget we are sitting through them. And Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage does just that. But beyond a night of great entertainment, this production reminds us why Star Trek is so loved: respect for the diversity of life, the search for kindness and equality, hope and a positive vision of the future.