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‘Khan!!! The Musical!’ Takes Star Trek to the Final Frontier–Broadway

4 Minute Read
Mar 7 2023
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Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan is some of the best sci-fi storytelling, period. The only thing missing? Musical numbers. In related news…

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan is about many things, but, more than anything, it’s about learning how to live with getting older. Upon the film’s release in 1982, James T. Kirk wasn’t the only one finding himself feeling worn out and wondering what he had left to look forward to.

Chance are, if you were a Star Trek fan in the 1960s, you were also staring down the barrel of middle age in the 1980s. Wrath of Khan came along at exactly the right time for those fans suddenly realize that with age does NOT come wisdom–just a lot of questions with no easy answers.

But of course, Wrath of Khan also has space battles. It has spaceships and disgusting brain worms. And it has its titular villain and Kirk’s Nemesis–Khan Noonien Singh. Wrath of Khan does what so much of the best Star Trek does: it wraps a complicated moral in adventure.

Now, four decades later, Khan!!! The Musical! is about to do the same thing.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Khan!!! The Pitch!

They say musicals take 8 years to gestate. And, wouldn’t you know it, about seven and a half years ago, ‘Khan!!! The Musical!’ co-writer, composer, and lyricist pitched this very basic idea: What if Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was a musical? Presented with no embellishment, here is the official synopsis for the resulting Khan!!! The Musical!

“It is 2366, and Data the Android presents his campy musical adaptation of ‘The Wrath of Khan’. In this sci-fi send-up, an older Captain Kirk is experiencing a ‘coming of middle age’ story when his nemesis Khan escapes exile and vows revenge. The ensuing cat-and-mouse game sparks an adventure that includes Vulcan tap dancing, Kirk’s long-lost son (a William Shatner impersonator), and of course… mutant space chickens!”

There’s a lot to parse, but yes Spock does tap dance. And, yes, there are mutant space chickens which, believe it or not, make perfect sense. At long last, Kirk’s son David is what he always should have been: a guy with a really potent gift for dramatic pauses. And if you’ve never imagined Khan as a Dr. Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, let’s just say you’ll never imagine him any other way after you see this show.

Courtesy of CBS Television

Khan!!! The Next Generation!

Khan!!! The Musical! sets out to do for a whole new generation of Star Trek fans what the original movie did for OG Trekkies. For transparency, the person Black first pitched this idea to was me. My suggestion was that the frame story should feature Data creating a Wrath of Khan musical in the holodeck.

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Recently, I realized why Data really is the right guy to reintroduce this story to the stage. He’s the guy who’s all about understanding humanity. If your first Star Trek was TNG, you learned a lot about being human from Data.

And let’s face it: if you watched the Star Trek: The Next Generation debut episode “Encounter At Farpoint” when it was transmitted for the first time in 1987, you’re no spring (mutant) chicken yourself. And just like Admiral James T. Kirk, you’re probably feeling a little worn out and lost in the second act of life, too.

So, really, Data is the perfect android to help us look at Wrath of Khan now.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Khan!!! The When! Where! Who-sical!

Khan!!! The Musical! A Parody Trek-Tacular premieres Off-Broadway at New York City’s Players Theatre in May. Specifically, the show runs from May 4 to June 4. That’s right–a Star Trek musical that dares to open on May the Fourth. The show is co-written, composed by, and has lyrics by Brent Black; it was co-conceived by and features additional materials by Alina Morgan, and will be directed by John Lampe.

“A big part of why I like Star Trek is how it imagines a future where humans set their differences aside and work together for the greater good,” says Black. “Star Trek has always been ahead of the curve in terms of inclusivity and representation, and it’s nice that this campy comedy show still maintains the spirit of that future Gene Roddenberry envisioned when he created the original TV show.”

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Lina Morgan
Author: Lina Morgan
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