The Needs of the Many Will Be Hilarious in the New off-Broadway Play, “Khan!!! The Musical!!!”

Khan: The Musical

Brent Black Khan: The Musical

“Star Trek” has been a part of the pop culture zeitgeist for 56 years and counting. Thanks to over 800 episodes of television, 13 feature films, dozens of video games, and hundreds of novel and comic book stories and adaptations, it seems like there is very little ground left to cover. If you want to focus on a positive future with some action and science thrown in, “Star Trek” has you covered. 

Even sub-genres are represented in Trek. Thanks to the holodeck (or holosuite), almost any story imaginable can become part of “Star Trek” canon. From detective stories based in the gritty 1930s (like “The Big Goodbye” in “The Next Generation”) to heists (as seen in “Star Trek III”) to far-out fantasy (“Captain Proton” in “Voyager”), and much more, Trek has it all.

Except for one thing. Musicals.

There have been a few instances where characters sing — like Data (Brent Spiner) in “Star Trek: Nemesis” or Agnes Jurati on “Star Trek: Picard” — there has yet to be an entirely musical episode of “Star Trek.” 

‘Buffy’ Musical Episode

Alex Kurtzman, the executive producer of most “Star Trek” projects these days, said a few months back that he wanted to see a musical episode. 

“Nothing would make me happier,” said Kurtzman on The Pod Directive show. “I’ve thought about this. And if we ever did [more] “Short Treks,” that would be the perfect format for it. The thing is, if you’re going to do a musical, it would have to be as brilliant as ‘Once More, With Feeling’ from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ It has to have a concept that makes a musical necessary, or you have to come up with a really, really good reason for people to start breaking out in song. And we have yet to really explore that.”

Some Trek fans might bristle at the idea of a musical episode of Trek, while others would certainly embrace it. Either way, fans won’t have to wait much longer, thanks to a new off-Broadway show that will debut around May of 2023. 

Brent Black on Pepsi Peeps

Fans can mark their calendars for “Khan!!! The Musical!!!” which will be performed at The Players Theater in New York City. Heavy spoke with the person behind the project, Brent Black, who gave us a preview of what the show is all about. 

Black is a writer, songwriter, and performer who also happens to have a massive YouTube following. Black serves as the show’s composer, lyricist, and book writer, said that the play is set in the world of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and is told from the point of view of Mr. Data.

“Around the time that Data is experimenting with theater on the holodeck, what if he decided to write a musical based on ‘The Wrath of Khan’ and cast himself in all the quirky roles?” Black said. “Because [Data] wasn’t around for musical theater when it was in its heyday, he’s just trying to absorb — like a computer being fed a thousand hours of something — he’s just absorbing and spitting out musical theater tropes that he thinks are original, but actually, his show is a mix of classic Broadway tropes and herding Khan into a musical comedy.”

Black said that he got the idea back in 2015 while he was at a dance performance in Brooklyn. He said that two of the dancers wore spacesuits, which reminded Black of the scene from “Khan” when Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Terrell (Paul Winfield) explored Ceti Alpha V.

Khan: The Musical

“I have little wild ideas all the time,” said Black. “But [this idea] kept nagging at me. Soon I had outlined how it would work as a musical. I worked with my friend, Alina Morgan, who was the co-conceiver of the show.”

Black said that initially, he wanted to have Q tell the story of “Khan,” but Morgan suggested that it could be Data instead. 

“Once we had that idea, I was off to the races,” said Black. “That was back in 2015, so it’s been a wild ride. But that was the genesis of it… as you might say.”

Black said that he ultimately chose “The Wrath of Khan” story for a musical; he felt that it was one of the very few Trek stories that would work within the musical format. He also mentioned there were other considerations.

“I was in the midst of not really being sure what to do with my life, and feeling like, I am getting into my mid-30s, and I am definitely not as young as I used to be,” said Black. “Something about Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) dealing with not really being sure of what to do… him wanting to get back in the captain’s chair but not knowing if he could really hack it … I think there was some overlap there.”

“There was something about this guy who really thought that he was hot s— and suddenly he’s getting a little bit older,” said Black. 

Black said that the costumes and props for the show will be inspired by the original “Wrath of Khan” look and will certainly convey the proper idea of what the musical is paying homage to. 

As for now, fans can watch the trailer for the show, where they can catch some of the humor and parody which will make up “Khan!!! The Musical!!!” Black says the show website should be up soon, and fans can get updates on the show on Twitter

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