One-man stage shows are a dime a dozen. James Whitmore alone has portrayed Teddy Roosevelt, Will Rogers, Harry Truman and just about everyone else except Charo.
But those one-man snows in which one man does just one character are they‘re nothing special when you see Charles Ross portray 40 characters from Star Wars.
At the Lamb‘s Theater, off-Broadway in New York, the “One-Man Star Wars Trilogy” portrays the three original Lucas classics, collapses into one frantic hour-long show.
He joined Keith Olbermann on Monday to explain his endeavor and give a few impressions.
To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST COUNTDOWN: Did you plan to do this or has it become something of an affliction, like when you can‘t get a certain song out of your head?
CHARLES ROSS, ‘ONE-MAN STAR WARS TRILOGY: It‘s kind of like that. I think I watched the film far too many times. It‘s kind of like trying to exorcise demons, but through theater.
OLBERMANN: You performed in a “Star Wars” convention before the premiere of “Revenge of the Sith”? What was that like?
ROSS: Well, “Celebration 3.” It was amazing. Each show was like 3,500 screaming geeks at a time. It was amazing, like with movie screens on the other side of the stage and out over the audience. It was nuts, man. It was crazy.
OLBERMANN: And did you find people as, you know, as we say with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” or such, are they reciting the lines along with you now?
ROSS: Absolutely. And there are definitely people that are maybe in need of some medication. But at least they‘re getting out into the public and they‘re living their dreams at these big, giant conventions.
OLBERMANN: In your show, is there, as they say, added value here? Am I mean, I’m getting something from you that I wouldn‘t get from actually watching the three films?
ROSS: Well, you‘re definitely going to get sweat on your face. You‘re going to have some sort of sweat coming out over the audience.
I do spit on the audience a bit, too. But, more than anything, I think it‘s the fact that I‘ve taken these films off the big screen and put it on the stage in a way that I have an opportunity to comment on the things that we love and that we hate about the films and all have a good laugh, sort of at the expense of the films.
OLBERMANN: You‘ve actually included updates on the careers of some of the performers.
ROSS: Yes. I don‘t want to get into the overall sort of careers of some of the people that have worked on the films, but we do know that some people‘s film careers sort of began and ended with the “Star Wars” trilogy.
OLBERMANN: Mark Hamill, perhaps, but you don‘t have to say that, because I just did.
ROSS: Yes. Right.
OLBERMANN: When you do the different voices for the different characters, I always wondered about somebody who goes back-and-forth, having watched the great comedians Bob and Ray when I was a kid do a soap opera in which they each portrayed four different characters and had to talk to each other and always got their own characters‘ voices right.
If you‘re doing 40 different voices in an hour-long show, have you ever done the right line with the wrong voice?
ROSS: On occasion, it‘s really, really hard. See, I do another show, which is the “One-Man Lord of the Rings.” And there are another 40 characters. So, I have 80 characters potential rolling around in my brain. It feels a little schizophrenic. But things, so far, have been all right.
OLBERMANN: You‘re saying that those people at the convention in Indianapolis might have needed a little additional therapy?
ROSS: Maybe a little bit. But I think, in a way, my show is therapy for me. And maybe my therapy is their therapy as well. So, we all have a chance to sort of celebrate the love, because “Star Wars” is such a lovable story.
OLBERMANN: After you‘re done with this, you mentioned you have another project, another distillation. You‘re not going to go for the seven “Police Academy” films?
ROSS: Well, I was thinking maybe “Terms of Endearment.” But they have to make another film first. So, for now, it will be “Lord of the Rings,” yes.
OLBERMANN: Do you have five seconds of previewing that?
ROSS: We wants it. We needs it. Must have the precious.
OLBERMANN: Charles Ross, now appearing in “Star Wars,” “The One-Man Star Wars Trilogy,” running until October 31 at Lamb‘s Theater in New York. And then it‘s “Lord of the Rings.”
Great thanks. And may the force be — never mind.