Burlesque meets Star Wars™ for “The Empire Strips Back” @ the Montalbán

Beloved Star Wars™ characters and themes have been given a burlesque makeover, and the resulting live spectacular is as hilarious and amazing as it sounds!

Now playing in Hollywood at the elegant Montalbán Theatre on Vine until January 8, 2023, the lavish show will transfer to San Diego, with performances from February 7, 2023 at the Alderaan Memorial Theatre popup venue.

Above photo by Cam Attree.

Boasting some absolutely gorgeous and fearless burlesque dancers, the tastefully erotic show is purely high-class and handsomely staged with elaborate props, sets, plus a dazzling light show, all designed to transport you to a galaxy far, far away…

All of the mind-blowing performances are backed by a taped soundtrack of a variety of contemporary pop and rock songs. The backing music skips across different genres, from Michael Jackson to Bon Jovi, INXS, Lana Del Rey, Guns N’ Roses, Portishead, Bonnie Tyler, AC/DC, Meatloaf and even Tenacious D.

Photo Credit: Cam Attree.

A female Luke Skywalker twerks to a Nicki Minaj song as she sexily gives her shuttlecraft a bath. We see the captive Princess Leia gyrate in that gold bikini to the edgy sounds of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Closer.’ Ten sultry stormtroopers garbed in black bikini bottoms and white plastic bras, armor plating and helmets stomp their dance routine in unison to the pounding rock of ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes.

Eric Newton, emcee for
The Empire Strips Back.

The evening is hosted by an Oakland-based comedy writer Eric Newton as the emcee, dressed in an elegant blue and gold cape reminiscent of the one worn by Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian (from The Empire Strikes Back). 

Unfortunately, the emcee’s comedy interludes seem to last much longer than the fleeting dance numbers… The second half of the show features plenty of the characters every die-hard Star Wars™ fan is expecting, including Emperor Palpatine, Bobba Fett, Chewbacca, C3PO (a stunning female version clad in gold-plated armor, playfully stripped by the Jawas as they de-robe her). Of course there’s also Han Solo, Yoda and we even meet a full-sized Jabba The Hutt and a rideable Taun Taun creature. Darth Vader explores her feminine side with a fantastical twist.

The idea to mash-up burlesque with the universe of Star Wars™ was originally conceived by Russall S. Beattie, with the first show taking place in Sydney back in 2011. Initially staged as a one-off lark, the show sold out so rapidly that the company added some more performance dates. The production went on to enjoy seven national sold-out tours all around Australia before becoming a smash-hit internationally.  Not bad for a show they thought would last for a mere three-night run — the production now boasts an enthusiastic global audience of over 100,000 fans.

Company of The Empire Strips Back. Photo Credit: Jon Bauer.
From the press release:

With comedy and allure, loving detail and hilarious parody, The Empire Strips Back drops classic Star Wars™ characters into the world of burlesque.

The internationally acclaimed The Empire Strips Back – the Unauthorized Star Wars™ Burlesque Parody will have a limited engagement at the Montalbán Theatre.

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.

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.

Photo Credit: Cam Attree.

The Empire Strips BackThe Unauthorized Star Wars™ Burlesque Parody

A Russall Beattie production.
Montalbán Theatre

1615 Vine Street (between Hollywood and Selma)

Wed. Thur. Fri. 8 pm;

Sat 7pm and 9:30pm;

Sun 7pm.

Runs through January 8, 2022.

Duration: 2 hours including a 15-minute intermission.
Tickets—from $47.00 – $178.00 (depending on the night and seating location.)

Purchase tickets here.  

Performances from February 7, 2023 at the Alderaan Memorial Theatre popup venue in San Diego.

Purchase tickets here.  

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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