A man, a trilogy, and a beer walk into an Opera House

The City Opera House is a landmark in downtown Traverse City. Featuring a variety of performances, educational programs, and private events year-round, we’re proud to sponsor this historic venue. This Friday, One Man Star Wars is coming to the Opera House to wow guests with the original trilogy (*cough cough… the best trilogy*) of Star Wars. In honor of this event, we connected with the one man behind the show, Charles Ross, to ask him a few questions about this performance.

1. Tell us your saga before the One Man Star Wars Trilogy.

My Saga is that I’m from Canada, born in the North, spent my teens in the South (still Canada- so near the U.S. Border). Always loved Star Wars, though I never thought of reducing it into a show. Always loved acting and theatre, so I studied it at university. After graduation, I simply tried to find the work, the gig, wherever it happened to be. Lots of periods of unemployment, trying to be an actor and so I felt compelled to try writing my own material. This One Man Star Wars is simply one of those kicks at the can that worked out.

2. What led you to create the One Man stage show?

What compelled me to create a one person stage show was the simple act of trying to overcome feeling like a beggar. Always showing up, malnourished and desperate, to audition for a measly role that pays okay- but only for a short period of time. I wanted to be an actor, and even more so, I wanted to be KNOWN as an actor. In between jobs, you’re unemployed, and when you’re engaged in a role, you have purpose. I always felt that my purpose rested in the hands and opinion of another person- a director or casting director. Writing my own shows put my destiny into my own hands.

3. What inspired you to convert the original Star Wars Trilogy into this format?

Converting Star Wars into a solo show originates in three parts: first, the droid C3P0 retold the Star Wars story to the Ewoks, in Return of the Jedi, (in the same style I do). Second, the idea of performing a solo sci-fi on stage was something my friend did – a Star Trek show – I saw fully realized, back in 1994. Third, my theatre colleagues- one in particular, TJ Dawe, my director- encouraged me to do it. I had originally written a Star Wars show for three actors, but when I gave the script to two actors (TJ being one of them) they said I should do it myself. They were right. So, my inspiration was completely external.

4. Do you have a favorite character to portray? Why?

My favourite character to play is the emperor. He’s such a wonderful bastard, it allows me to connect with my inner monster.

5. Do you enjoy craft beer? Do you have a favorite style?

I love craft beer. My favourite style is the hoppy IPA. I live on the west coast of Canada- IPA is king.

6. What’s the most unique experience you’ve had as a result of performing?

The most unique experience? I’ve done the show for 16 years, the most unique would be hard to say. I believe that there are many unique experiences, though perhaps when I performed the show for Vin Diesel and the cast and crew of a movie they were filming. I performed on a small stage they’d erected, right in the centre of their main set. Very strange, I didn’t know what a fan of Star Wars, Vin was.


Interested in seeing the One Man Star Wars show yourself? Comment with your favorite Star Wars film and character, and we’ll select one lucky winner to receive two tickets to the show!

*Comments must be made by Thursday, March 9th at 8:00 pm.