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Star Wars like never before, and Godspell celebrates the big 4-0

by Mark Burger

The Mixed TapeFilm Series, WUAG103.1 FM and ACMEComics have joinedforces to present StarWars Uncut, whichwill be screened at 8p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26at the Carolina Theatre(310 S. Greene St.,Greensboro).

This internationalfilmmaking experiment is perhaps the ultimatetribute to George Lucas’ classic 1977 spaceopera as conceived by Casey Pugh, an innovativeweb developer and designer who took15-second clips from the original Star Warsand forwarded them to like-minded filmmakers,animators and video artists from aroundthe world, encouraging them to remake eachsegment.

Pugh then selected the best versions of each15-second clip submitted and edited themtogether in chronological order. It’s a “new”Star Wars… although perhaps not a better one!(Hey, if Lucas can keep reworking the movies,why not give someone else a chance?)

The film’s technique varies from scene toscene: Some were re-created in live action, othersin claymation, others in animation, otherswith Legos!

No matter how many times you’ve seen StarWars, you’ve never seen it like this before!

Prior to the screening, there will be asilent auction of original Star Wars artworkas created by local and national comic-bookartists, painters and fiber artists. In addition,members of theCarolina Garrisonof the 501stLegion will bein attendance,proudly adornedas Imperial Stormtroopersandother charactersfrom the StarWars films. Yes,the Force will bewith them.

All proceedsfrom this exclusivescreeningwill benefit theMasonic Homefor Childrenin Oxford, NC, which helps children in needof loving, stable and benevolent home. Thehome’s official website is: http://www.mhcoxford.org/

To see the Star Wars Uncut trailer, seevimeo.com/6788001

Admission is $6; $4 for college students(with valid ID). For tickets or more information,call the Carolina Theatre box-office at336.333.2605 or visit the official website:www.carolinatheatre.com.

Another classic example of ’70s pop culturethat has endured is Godspell, the Tony Awardwinningmusical by StephenSchwartz and John-MichaelTebelak, which premiered 40years ago.

Based on the Gospel of St.Matthew, Godspell brought anew rock ‘n’ roll spirit to thestory of Jesus Christ (and, notsurprisingly, aroused somecontroversy because of it — asdid Jesus Christ Superstar).Godspell originally openedoff Broadway in 1971 andran over 2,100 performances,winning four Drama DeskAwards including Most PromisingComposer and MostPromising Lyricist (both forSchwartz) and Most PromisingDirector (Tebelak). The showthen moved to Broadway in1976, winning the Tony Awardfor Best Original Score, andran over 500 performances.

To commemorate Godspell’s birthday — anda recent 40th-anniversary Broadway revival— Masterworks Broadway has released atwo-CD collector’s edition that includes theoriginal 1971 off-Broadway cast recordingand the soundtrack from the 1973 film version,which marked the screen debut of actor VictorGarber (Hey, I’ve interviewed him!) as JesusChrist. Garber had appeared in the Torontostage production of Godspell, where his costarsincluded Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy andMartin Short, and the musical director was PaulShaffer!

Undoubtedly, the best-known songfrom the show was “Day by Day,” whichreached Number 13 on the Billboard PopSingles Chart in the summer of 1972. SaysSchwartz in the liner notes: “The popularityof the record helped make the show abigger hit, and at one point there were 10companies playing simultaneously aroundthe United States, plus other productionsin London, Paris, Australia, South Africa,Germany, etc.”

The Broadway revival, the first in the show’shistory, opened in October at the Circle in theSquare Theatre and is currently cruising on theGreat White Way.

For more information about this and other recent Masterworks Broadway releases, including interviews with Stephen Schwartz and performances videos from Godspell, visit the official website: www.masterworksbroadway.com.

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