THE EMPIRE STRIPS BACK
UNAUTHORIZED BURLESQUE PARODY RUN EXTENDED
Fans of Star Wars, burlesque or just a damn good time, should get to the Montalban Theatre in Hollywood this month to check out The Empire Strips Back, an unauthorized burlesque parody that really delivers a fun, funny and festive experience. The current run has been extended through Saturday, January 28.
Featuring all of the classic Star Wars characters, The Empire Strips Back, created by Russall S. Beattie, takes audiences to a galaxy far, far away, creating one of the most unforgettable (and unauthorized) theatrical versions of the beloved franchise.
Combining striptease, song and dance, troupe routines and plenty of humor, audiences are transported into the world of burlesque to witness a menacing troop of seriously sexy Stormtroopers, a dangerously seductive Boba Fett, tantalizing Twi'leks, a delightfully lukewarm Taun Taun, a lady-like Skywalker, and of course, scantily clad and daring Droids. Even Darth Vader will explore her feminine side with a fantastical twist.
The Empire Strips Back celebrates the resurgence of burlesque, while delivering a powerful experience for fans of the art form as well as the classic film series.
“Dark and sexy,” wrote Ariana Bindman of the SF Gate, “with each draw of the curtain we saw a series of acts that were visually decadent and tonally unique … a captive Princess Leia gyrating in a bikini to the Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Closer’ or sexy stormtroopers stomp to the relentless ‘Seven Nation Army’ … or resident space pimp, R2D2 making it rain by ejecting wads of cash into the air while a braggadocious Han Solo undulated to “Smooth Criminal” making every goth and nerd in the audience scream like animals.”
Australian creator Russall S. Beattie said that producing “Strips Back” was inevitable.
“I’m Peter Pan,” he said. “I’ve never really grown up. It takes all the best things about being a kid, and all the best things about being an adult and just jams them together.”
First imagined in 2011 by Beattie, the original production was booked in a small, 150 seat room in Sydney for a one-off, three-night run. Fast-forward to seven national sold-out Australian tours, an enthusiastic audience of over 100,000+, and a Huffington Post video feature boasting 20+ million viral views.
On its last U.S. tour, The Empire Strips Back was a sold-out hit in prestigious venues, from San Francisco's Warfield Theatre, to Los Angeles' Wiltern and New York's PlayStation Theatre, with uproarious standing ovations and rave reviews. The 2022 Los Angeles engagement follows the hit San Francisco run at Chinatown’s Great Star Theater, rattling the walls of the 97-year old venue. Roger Pincombe, Executive Director of the Great Star said, “The Empire Strips Back was one of the largest, most exciting productions the theater has seen in recent decades, and it marks the start of a new era for our venerable venue.”
If you’re comfortable being in a crowded theater with people howling in laughter, then by all means try to see The Empire Strips Back before its current run ends this month. You will laugh, you will rock out and you will be glad the force was with you on this one.
Catch The Empire Strips Back at the Montalbán Theatre, located at 1615 Vine Street, in Hollywood. The show runs through Saturday, January 28.
Story By: Jose Martinez
Photography By: Craig Ridgwell