Fans of “Star Trek” will boldly go where few have gone before — into the Brooklyn Academy of Music, no less — to see Captain Jean-Luc Picard (sometimes known as Patrick Stewart) flex his sinewy theatrical muscles in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”
The Patrick Stewart Network, the actor’s officially sanctioned fan club, is sending 70 of its 300 members to the Feb. 22 performance of “that Scottish play” — about half of them theater buffs who, thanks to Stewart’s role in “Star Trek,” became Trekkies.
“He’s just got that rare talent that can captivate an audience,” gushed Kathleen Scranton, the Philadelphia-based vice president of the Network.
And try not to open those hailing frfequencies when you see his perfectly molded, ghostly white cranium.
For those unfamiliar with the peculiar allure of the gentleman often referred to as the Sexiest Bald Man Alive, here’s some background:
Between 1987 and 1994, Stewart starred as the strong yet sensitive Captain Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” an incarnation of a sci-fi series that has inspired delirious devotion amongst its fans — so delirious in fact, that some even get in character, donning Vulcan ears and furry masks before attending “conventions.”
Stewart later reprised the role in four films, the best of which was “Star Trek: First Contact.”
Councilman Lewis Fidler (D–Canarsie) isn’t a member of the Network, but hear him talk, and you sorta wonder why not.
“Stewart is more than a cult figure,” said Fidler, who has almost every “Star Trek” episode on videotape or DVD, plus a small model Starship Enterprise, and in his office, a poster called “Ten Things I learned from Star Trek” (one lesson? “Beware of your enemies. Like Romulans, they often come cloaked”).
“I consider myself a fan and not a fanatic, but I’d love to meet Captain Picard,” said Fidler.
Indeed, Fidler so badly wants to meet Picard (er, Stewart) that he said he might even go so far as to attend the show at BAM.
“I’m a little bit more excited that he’s coming to Brooklyn than I am that they’re putting on ‘Macbeth,’” said Fidler. “Let me put it you this way. If Patrick Stewart weren’t in it, I wouldn’t remotely consider going.”
Janet Dairo, a Long Island-based freelance cartoonist and Network member, is a bit more decisive. She’ll be there. No question.
“I always loved the old ‘Star Trek’ series, and when Stewart started in ‘Star Trek,’ it enhanced my Trekism,” said Dairo, who first discovered Stewart when he did “Dune,” another sci-fi fantasy, and “Lady Jane,” a historical drama.
“He has the audience in the palm of his hand,” she added.
Indeed, Stewart may be a cult hero to Trekkies, but to the larger creative world, he is one of the great Shakespearian actors of our time. In addition, his one-man staging of “The Christmas Carol” in the late 1990s, in which he gracefully moved through more than 30 different characters, remains legendary.
But Stewart’s popularity got a warp-speed boost after his star turn in “Trek,” a series that turned many a no-name actor or actress into a sub-cultural icon.
The captain in the tight one-piece has fans among housewives, lawyers, reporters, and apparently quite a few politicians, who dig his optimistic outlook and extraordinary leadership skills (the man manages to lead an inter-species crew of Betazoids, Klingons, and androids, after all).
“A lot of elected officials quietly admit to being Trek fans,” said Fidler, adding, “Outside of the interesting story line, ‘Star Trek’ is very much a series that provides hope for the future.
“We’re a planet at peace, we’ve found a way to treat our prisoners,” continued Fidler. “We found ways to stop fouling our environment. You’d like to believe that we can get there — without going through the World War III that ‘Star Trek’ says we will.”
Of course, no discussion of Picard could be complete without asking the eternal question that troubles all Trekkers: Picard or Kirk? Who makes the best captain?
“I’ve enjoyed them all, including Scott Bakula in ‘Enterprise,’ a very, very underrated series,” said Fidler. “I was heartbroken when it went off the air. But there is no captain like Captain Kirk [played by the scenery-chewing William Shatner]. If I couldn’t aspire to play the guitar like Eric Clapton, I would aspire to be Captain Kirk. He was always doing the right thing. He was swashbuckling. He was just an inspirational figure.”
For her part, Scranton was undecided. Indeed, the mere prospect of having to choose one over the other flustered her.
“That’s like asking me to pick my favorite kid,” she said.
Macbeth, BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St., between Ashland and Rockwell places), Feb. 12 to March 22. For tickets, visit www.bam.org or call (718) 636-4100. For info on the Patrick Stewart Network, visit www.patrickstewart.org.