A Polite Chat with Anthony Daniels, the Voice of Star Wars' C-3PO, who Comes to St. Louis Thursday for Star Wars In Concert

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We're nearing the end of the tour in St. Louis. What have audiences been like?
Curiously this is concert that appeals to quite wide variety of people. First of all, it's a tremendous family show, So I think from 3 to 93, you will have a good time. There is something for everybody in it. Especially the 93-year-olds with their memories of seeing this stuff 30 years ago. A lot of people have said they are going revisit the movies having been to our concert, so there is family aspect -- [everyone] from children to grandparents can come. The second thing is Star Wars fans who are just overjoyed at what we have.

The third thing is people who have never seen Star Wars. And we tell the story in such a way that you will come away knowing a slightly essential guide to the story of Star Wars. It's the skinny version, if you like. Forever afterwards you'll be able to bluff your way at cocktail parties saying, "Yes I know about Yoda ,or R2-D2 or Jabba the Hut, because the all the elements are there. It's just within a two-hour concert; so we don't have time to put all the details in.

The fourth group are people who adore, enjoy, like, symphonic sound. Because we do have the royal symphonic concert orchestra. It's an 86-piece symphony orchestra and a choir who play exquisitely every night as though it was the first time ever. And because of the way the show is written and the way John's music is scored, they come bouncing off the stage, having really enjoyed the workout of playing his really quite, very complicated scores. A lot of film music is slightly simplistic, but because of the way John writes in a way that is... he creates a character in his music as George does in his script-writing.

So that the music -- obviously a lot of people have their own theme tunes, you know the Darth Vader one is the easier one to think of or Luke's theme -- curiously and I'm going to ask [John] why one day, he's never made one for 3PO. Well I'm making up for that by humming along to everything and rather quietly because I can't sing and I don't want to put the audience off every night.

Besides there being theme tunes for each character, John's music is a huge personality within the film and in a way I think people don't realize that, they just absorb the film as one gigantic feast. but if you actually dissect it, I know what the film is like without music, because I've seen huge chunks of it when I've been working on it. Very early on, it came to me why you have film music and why secondly John is so good, because of his ability to tug your emotional strings.

It's technical and soulful as well. He has the ability to really get into you I think. So you know what the scene is about, you know how to feel about it. You are -- in the best possible sense of the word -- carried along, manipulated by it. The reason it stands on its own as a concert is because it's absolutely multilayered, deep rich and fulfilling. Every night, we and the band, as we call them, are thrilled by what we are doing.

Williams was an acclaimed composer before Star Wars. Did you know of him?
Not all, but I had never heard of George Lucas either. I clearly wasn't in the loop on these things. And one of the things, one of the wondrous things about John's work as a serious composer, is that his name is so widely disseminated around the world. He's been working recently on his harp concerto, I believe, which have i haven't heard yet but I'd be very interested to hear that now.

For him to have the kind of fame and appreciation that's come with his association [with] Star Wars and his other films, must be rather wonderful as composer, because there's plenty of people tapping away on their instruments who I've never heard of. John has thrilled millions and millions of people around the world, it must be rather thrilling

Can you describe the show in three adjectives?
Colossal. Thrilling. And touching.

Where do you reside?
London and the south of France is where I'll be spending Chrimstas.

After this tour ends, there's only one more date scheduled for March in Paris. Is that the end of Star Wars in Concert?
I'm getting so many twitters and e-mail requests about please bring it to Brazil, Germany, Portugal, England, Ireland, France, Italy. Interestingly, four of the major newspaper flew over to talk to me in Montreal the other day, did a little press conference before the show and then they watched it and got back on the plane.

Right now I'm living to come to St. Louis and beyond to end up in Nashville, to get on a plane to go home and have a very quiet Christmas.

Becuaese frankly, Star Wars in Concert, this first tour of North America has been very much like Christmas day every day. I think the actual official day is going to be a bit quieter.

It's not going to have tens of thousand of people every week being with me. It's quite an extraordinary role to go to work every day and gaze at anything between 5,000 and 20,000 people listening to me and the orchestra. It's quite a treat really. You should try it some day. Find an orchestra to work with.

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