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Arts & Culture

'James Bond: The Musical' takes fun, deep dive in 007 fandom

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Mike Damron
Tom Steward takes audiences through six actors and 25 Bond films for his "James Bond: The Musical" at Coronado Playhouse.

Actor Tom Steward turns his SD Fringe one-man show into a musical for Coronado Playhouse this weekend

In 2018, actor Tom Steward condensed all 24 Bond movies into a one-hour, one-man San Diego International Fringe show. Now he has revamped the show to create "James Bond: The Musical" for Coronado Playhouse.

'James Bond: The Musical' is licensed to entertain

Sometimes actors have to be creative in order to showcase their talents. Back in 2018, Tom Steward was looking for something to do and decided to tap into his obsession with and knowledge of Ian Fleming's James Bond for a San Diego International Fringe show.

"It started as a show that was as basic as could be that I could literally take anywhere and do," Steward recalled. "Theoretically, I could set up on a street corner and perform it before being arrested. So because of that, it's always been extremely flexible and adaptable to take to theaters and say, 'I have this show and we can make it as big as you want or as small as you want.' And that's kind of very attractive to theaters. Because you can work with what they have. And the joy of this show is it is always kind of reinventing it each time based on the place that you're performing. And so when the possibility of working with Coronado Playhouse came up, I immediately thought that I needed to turn it into a musical."

That made sense since Bond is closely tied to music with each film showcasing an artist and song. But Steward did not want to go for the obvious.

"Whenever you see a celebration of Bond music, it's the theme songs because naturally, they're as iconic as the films themselves, and that's what everyone wants to hear," Steward said. "I, on the other hand, am very interested in this kind of shadow world of Bond music, which are the Bond themes that were submitted to the producers but rejected or the songs that were specifically recorded as background to never really be heard. So I wanted to bring all that to light because the show has always been a kind of alternative, skewed perspective on the Bond films. So I wanted a musical soundtrack, and it also addressed that."

James Bond: The Musical opens tonight
Actor Tom Steward turns Fringe show to cabaret show
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There are also comic flights of fancy as with a musical summary of "Spectre."

"I do something different with 'Spectre' every time based on the kind of show I'm doing," Steward explained. "So because it's a musical, I wanted to have a kind of musical version of the film 'Spectre' and that's what we've done here, specifically, a William Shatner spoken word version of the movie, inspired by the Hollies' 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.'"

Steward has done intense research to find not only obscure musical tidbits but also fascinating behind the scenes trivia about the Bond movies. So whether you are a casual consumer of 007 or a diehard fan, the show will entertain you with facts, humorous insights, and one fan's obsessive examination of decades of Bond films.

The show requires Steward to impersonate all six Bond actors from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, and this new show also includes the latest Bond movie, "No Time to Die."

"James Bond: The Musical" runs Friday through Sunday at Coronado Playhouse. And technically, you could call it a Christmas show since "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" does take place during Christmas.

As a long-time Bond fan I put my nerdy seal of approval on this hilarious and surprisingly informative summation of all things 007.

Here's a video clip of Steward's fringe Show.

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