The actor who once steered the Enterprise as Sulu in “Star Trek” is a big draw for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic's upcoming Pops series concert, an official said.
Actor and cultural figure George Takei, pictured, will narrate and host the philharmonic's “Sci-Fi Spectacular” show Friday and Saturday at the Civic Center Music Hall. His participation is designed to enhance the popular music that's been an essential part of many science-fiction favorites through the years.
“The music is just fantastic,” said Eddie Walker, executive director of the philharmonic. “It's just some of the best film and science-fiction writing ever.”
Guest conductor is Jack Everly, who created the show about nine years ago and included Takei and soprano Kristen Plumley as talents that help pull it all together. The sci-fi show has been performed in two different forms across the country.
“The music helps you capture the mood and the intensity, or the softness of the portions you're narrating,” Takei told NewsObserver.com before performing with the North Carolina Symphony earlier this year. “Whereas in front of the camera, there's no music, you have to work very quickly. Working with music, which has the power to reach people emotionally, it's wonderful.”
As Sulu, Takei was a member of the original “Star Trek” cast, and in recent years he has become a social media phenomenon and a political activist in addition to his work as an actor. He also recently developed a musical called “Allegiance,” set during the Japanese-American internment of World War II.
Selections for Everly's “Sci-Fi Spectacular” include music from the “Star Trek” television series and movie scores as well as “Star Wars,” “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Superman,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and a medley of vintage television and movie music called “Lost in Syndication.”
“I've long been a fan of all things sci-fi, but especially the music,” Everly said in an interview from Indianapolis, where he is the principal pops conductor for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. “It was a real joy to weed through the thousands of possibilities of what to put on such a concert.”
Everly also holds the title of principal pops conductor for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, and is music director of the National Memorial Day Concert and “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS. He is guest conductor for philharmonic shows in Oklahoma City about once a year, Walker said.
Everly said that among the highlights of the show, Takei will recite the famous farewell speech that the alien Klaatu gave in the 1951 film “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” a speech that will be coordinated with the original musical score by Bernard Herrmann.
Before the concert, a reception in the lobby will celebrate the philharmonic's 25th anniversary season. Concertgoers are encouraged to come in costume, dressed as their favorite “Star Trek” or “Star Wars” character, a news release stated.
“Star Trek” characters from the “Starship Ajax,” a Web-based project by Oklahoma City filmmakers, will attend. The show's set, which recreates that of the original Starship Enterprise, will be set up in the Civic Center lobby.
“This is the kind of concert that draws out people who dress up,” said Walker, adding the popular response to this show has been fun in the symphony world. “It tells us that there are a whole lot more geeks and nerds out there than probably anyone would want to admit.”
Walker also said the philharmonic tries to put together a varied season to appeal to all types of music lovers.
Everly is regularly part of that mix.
“It's always a pleasure to come back to Oklahoma City and to work with the wonderful musicians of one of the finest orchestras we have in this country,” Everly said.