New York Today: ‘Star Wars’ on Stage


Is that you, R2?

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Good morning on this flawless fall Friday.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away — well actually, in present-day New York City — a group of musicians brought “Star Wars” to life.

And they still are, for another week. The New York Philharmonic is showing screenings of the film series, performing the score live as the movie rolls.

(We visited the orchestra at Lincoln Center to watch and listen for ourselves.)


The Philharmonic fleet.

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Picture a movie theater. But below the big screen, there’s a sprawling stage almost overflowing with more than 80 instruments.

“The biggest difference is hearing the brass at full blast, hearing the timpani just booming and really feeling it in your body,” said Pedro Da Silva, 40, an attendee at Wednesday’s performance who was dressed as a Jedi with a blue lightsaber. “With a recording, it’s not the same thing.”

Nicolas Metheny, 18, who was cloaked as the character Kylo Ren, added, “To hear the music actually being played, that’s just a whole new level of wow.”

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David Newman, who is conducting the series at the Philharmonic, described it as a reinterpretation of the film in which musicians become actors in the story.

“The music plays an almost uniquely large role in the character development and narrative development of ‘Star Wars,’” said Mr. Newman, giving examples of the leitmotifs, or short melodies, for Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader’s imperial fleet….

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