New York City has already proven itself to be the place where video games and the live stage converges, and it’s happening once again.
Jonathan Mann is the creator of the Mario Opera, who explains that the original production was put together in just three weeks at the age of 23, upon first arriving in Santa Cruz, California. Which is where its lone performance takes place.
Eight years laters it’s having just one more showing in NYC:
The notion of a rock opera based on a video game is not exactly brand new, believe it or not. The Protomen for example, and their albums plus stage shows are based upon the original NES Mega Man games.
The Brick’s Game Play once had a live production of Super Mario Bros as well, though it was a far less literal translation of the source material than the Mario Opera. or so it would appear. This other version centered on two argumentative siblings whose lives are going nowhere; one is obsessed over the loss of his girlfriend, and the other is constantly living under the shadow of this older brother.
They decide to spend some time in the woods, for some brotherly bonding, and end up taking hallucinogenic mushrooms where they share a vision of their dead father. Who promptly scolds them for being losers and how, if they play their cards right, they’ll be able to harness their true potential, which includes the ability to visit distant lands and breath fire. Truly compelling stuff and proof positive how exciting the world of theater can be.
Though Mann is clearly going for something different, that doesn’t hide the fact that it’s mostly having fun with nostalgia. For those interested in its one night only performance, which takes place August 17th at Joe’s Pub, tickets can be purchased here.