BOLDLY GO! – Where No Musical Has Gone Before didn’t start off as a fan film. In fact, it was only performed six times in front of audiences in late February and early March of 2016 in Pasadena, CA at the Ramo Auditorium at Caltech. But last month, a year after its too-short theatrical run, the full two-and-a-half hour live performance was posted to Youtube…and now I consider it officially a “fan film.” And not only that, but it’s one to which I am giving a rating of “Highly Recommended +” because it’s REALLY good! (And if you don’t want to commit that much time, at the end of this blog, I’m including time codes to skip to the four best musical numbers that are MUST SEE/HEAR.)
The musical is set in the prime TOS timeline with Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the rest of the original crew. There’s Klingons, Andorians, and all the wink-wink references to that Star Trek trivia you know and love—from Khan Noonian Singh and Sulu’s love of botany to Elaan of Troyius and the Space Hippies…and even a poke at the Kelvin-verse timelime! There’s also satirical chuckles to many of the tropes of musical theater, with 19 different song and dance numbers ranging in style from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Gilbert & Sullivan to doo-wop, gospel, tango, and even Motley Crüe (and don’t blink or you’ll miss a quick nod to West Side Story).
Now, if you’re expecting to see something on par with the likes of Hamilton or Les Miserables, I need to mention that this cast is made up of students, faculty, and alumni from the California Institute of Technology plus scientists and engineers who usually build interplanetary space probes for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory! In other words, set your phaser expectations to “This is musical theater, not rocket science—and these are rocket scientists.” But really, when you think about it, who better to put on the world’s first-ever full-length live Star Trek musical?!
And who better to direct it that a guest star from an actual episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation? But more on that later. First, let’s travel back in time (with the help of the Guardian of Forever or a slingshot maneuver or Q or whatever) to see how this ambitious production came to be…