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Tom Lenk - Top Gun Interview

Relive the joy of a favorite blockbuster film in 30 minutes - parodied and musicalized! These fighter pilots fly high and burn slow in the sky, the steamy locker room, and on a hot, sweaty beach with a sexy game of beach volleyball. You won’t stop laughing at all the tension and thrills! 

Critically acclaimed comedy troupe, 30 Minute Musicals, has been entertaining Hollywood audiences since 2011. After a successful debut in 2019, 30MM returns to Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a LIMITED RUN of fan favorite, Top Gun. From Showgirls to Die Hard, even Winona Ryder in The Crucible, no movie leaves the theater unscathed. The company has skewered over 17 different films on stages across Los Angeles, combining the glitz of movie magic with the excitement of Broadway. Experience the in-your-face, action-packed thrills, original music, and hilarity all in 30 minutes (excluding time for laughter). 

Ahead of Top Gun running at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe I caught up with Tom Lenk who will star in the show to discuss the piece.

Can you tell me what inspired the show?
Ten years ago, after adapting Jurassic Park and Showgirls, our fearless leader, Brooke Seguin decided that there needed to be a 30 minute musical of Top Gun in the world, and we haven’t looked back! The movie really takes itself seriously which is the exact recipe you need when parodying something. 

How did you approach turning a film like Top Gun into a musical?
We take the level of gay in any given scene and multiply it by a thousand. And then add music. Also, I play the only woman in the movie, Charlie, and the original actress Kelly McGillis is a good deal taller than Tom Cruise, and in every scene she is leaning on something to make her appear shorter? Which is so ridiculous and I like to point it out by sort of leaning and sinking into my own pelvis at all times.

How do tackle things such as the fighter jets in your staging?
Men jumping on each other’s backs and chaotically running around onstage making zooming noises. It’s practical AND erotic!

Is there a film you’ve not done that you would like to do?
I would like to play the all dancing role of “the twister,” in our potential future production of “Twister.” Also, I call dibs on the role of “the piano” in “The Piano.”

What keeps you inspired as an artist?
To be honest, coming to the fringe festival once a year keeps me inspired! The amount of amazing shows you can see all in one place at any hour of the day is incredible and really recharges my artistic soul. That being said, I did see a sword swallower at a show a few years ago, and the memory haunts me to this day, so maybe not everything is a re-charge or inspirational, but at least it’s memorable hahah!

What do you want an audience to take away from seeing the show?
Sore abdominals from laughing and maybe a general state of arousal from all the shirtless men on stage in their underwear?

Can you describe the show in 3 words?
Take my breath away.
Dammit that was four words.
Highway to the Danger Zone
Dammit also not 3.
Playing with the Boys
Ughh. Fine…
Men in underwear.

30 Minute Musicals: Top Gun runs at Assembly Checkpoint from 2nd to 14th August at 7.50pm. Tickets are available from

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