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Petaluma composer spoofs ‘Star Wars’ out of love

What does Law like best about Petaluma?

“I love how Petaluma honors its history with the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum, the antique fairs, and with the Butter & Egg Days Parade & Festival.”

‘The Farce Awakens’ runs Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m., through August 13, at Redwood Theater Company, 440 Moore Lane, in Healdsburg. The theater seats only 30, and tickets are free (donations accepted), so arriving at 7 p.m. is recommended. RedwoodTheaterCompany.com.


Petaluma native Brittany Law wasn’t a big “Star Wars” fan until she saw “The Force Awakens” in 2015. The character of “Rey” inspired the singer-actor-writer so much that Law ended up writing and composing a full-scale musical that lovingly parodies the film.

Running through Aug. 13 at Redwood Theatre Company in Healdsburg, “The Farce Awakens: A Musical Parody” is Law’s first produced work. She wrote the show and composed the music, as well as co-directing and co-choreographing Redwood Theatre’s production. She also plays Rey in the show. Far from merely ridiculing the film on which it is based, “The Farce Awakens” is full of affection.

“It comes from a place of love,” she said.

Law spent a year on the project, beginning by writing the song titles.

“Then, while driving, I would tape myself humming or singing,” she explained. When she matched a tune with a title, she would next write the lyrics. Law plays guitar and piano, so she was able to handle the technicalities of composition.

“The hardest thing was the endless edits,” Law said. She continued to make changes during the first half of Redwood’s three-week rehearsal period. “I promised the large cast,” she said, “that I would leave the script alone after that.”

Law has been busy with many theatrical projects since graduating from Pacific Conservatory Theatre in Solvang. She entered the professional acting school after two years of study at Santa Rosa Junior College. Last September, she played Elizabeth Bennet in the U.S. premiere of “Pride and Prejudice — The Musical,” produced by IAM Theatre Company, in San Francisco. Law was nominated for a San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award for her performance.

The following November, she appeared in the rock musical “Next to Normal” at the Jewel Theatre Company in Santa Cruz. The Pulitzer-winning show combines driving rock music with a story about a family coming to grips with loss, change and deep personal challenges.

“It is my favorite musical,” Law said. “It resonates with my soul.”

In the cast were two veteran performers who have become mentors and friends to Law.

“Lee Ann Payne and Christopher Reber played my parents, and I think of them as my stage parents,” she said. “They’re so smart and so experienced.”

During her stay in Santa Cruz, Law lived in a woodsy cottage provided by Jewel Theatre.

“It was there that I did much of the final writing on ‘The Farce Awakens,’” she said.

She recently appeared in Marin Shakespeare Company’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing,” at the open-air Forest Meadows Amphitheater, in San Rafael. This was Law’s first work in a professional non-musical — and her first experience performing outdoors.

“I’m a cold weenie,” she said. “I like to be warm, plus I had to learn how to keep my voice warm outdoors.”

Formative influences on Law include her parents, Graham and Michelle Law, stepmother Melissa Farley Law, and her grandparents.

“My dad helped build the set of ‘Farce,’ ” she said. “And believe it or not, when he was my age he wrote a ‘Star Trek’ parody.”

Law has been involved in theater all of her life. At age 8, she joined the youth program at Cinnabar Theatre, a mainstay of Petaluma culture for more than four decades.

What does Law like best about Petaluma?

“I love how Petaluma honors its history with the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum, the antique fairs, and with the Butter & Egg Days Parade & Festival.”

‘The Farce Awakens’ runs Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m., through August 13, at Redwood Theater Company, 440 Moore Lane, in Healdsburg. The theater seats only 30, and tickets are free (donations accepted), so arriving at 7 p.m. is recommended. RedwoodTheaterCompany.com.

“Cinnabar introduced me to performing,” she said. “I played a weasel.”

She was part of the Cinnabar family until she was 16.

As a singer, Law credits her voice teacher, Simone Lyne Comtois, as the most important guide she has found. When a freshman at Casa Grande High School, Law began studying with Comtois — and stayed six years.

“She changed everything for me,” Law said. “Before Simone, I felt like there was a weight on my voice. I wasn’t comfortable singing out. She understands the voice so well. She helped me let it out.”

In addition to performing, Law plans to keep writing.

“But next time,” she said, “I won’t try to do it all.”