Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

How Super Mario Musical was created to circumvent Nintendo’s cease and desist

Image: Transfer Productions

The internet could be split through Chris Pratt as Mario in the next Super Mario movie, but don’t you have to be content with Hollywood’s view of the plumber brothers?

The enterprising British theater group Transfer Productions has just finished its first run. Mario!Super musical, That’s exactly what it sounds like: A parody of the beloved game series told through the song. But that’s not all. The musical is full of cheeky references, unexpected takes of famous characters, and amazing twists of traditional stories.

To better understand where Mario is, we talked to Jim Burrows, the author of the book and lyrics. Where did the super musical come from, and where did it go next …


Nintendo Life: Hello! Thank you for agreeing to chat with us! First: Tell us about Mario musicals in your own words.

Jim Burrows: Hello!

Mario! A super musical is a parody musical with a completely original score centered around what would happen if the game’s premise was destroyed-Kuppa kidnapped Mario and Peach had to save him. What if? Peach, along with toads, Luigi, and Yoshi, must shake off the bondage of being a typical “maiden of pain” to defeat Bowser and his sneaky buddy Kammy Coupa. There’s also unexpected romance, ridiculous gags, and some gorgeous harmonies. It’s a really fun power hour!

I know it’s boring, but I have to ask a question. Are you worried about Nintendo’s horrific cease and desist?

Oh, we feel like the Damocles sword is hanging above us every day, but it’s almost exciting. Earlier versions of the show had an encore song called Please Don’t Sue Us with 100% legally accurate lyrics.

Section 30A of paragraph 5
In copyright law, it often says
That parody or caricature
A fair game for the theater to explore

So this is an old “fair use” gambit, but with enough parody and artistic tolerance to create a unique experience.

Momo ponders life as the heroine of her story
Momo ponders life as the heroine of her story (Image: Transfer Productions)

I was also greatly influenced by the parody musical of Team Star Kid (Very potter musical, Holy Musical Catman Etc.) and Britain’s own splendid Fat Rascal Theater and its hilarious show UnfortunatelyThe evil wind take of Ursula’s story from Little mermaid..

Musical cast
Musical cast (Image: Transfer Productions)

We feel pretty safe if even the mouse doesn’t touch the parody musical! Also, Nintendo employees came to see the orchids that they had enjoyed so far, so it may be that they gave good words to the upper management. In any case, I hope Nintendo enjoys the free ads we offer!

Which musical or writer inspired you?

Obviously the aforementioned Team Starkid and Fat Rascal, but my main musical theater inspiration is the slow and great Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, Aladdin) I firmly believe in the greatest lyricist of all time. (Sorry, Sondheim.) If you can find a better internal rhyme than Gaston’s “As a sample, yes, I’m intimidating!” I eat a hat.

Another big inspiration for the show was some of the great YouTubers who added lyrics to existing Nintendo songs. Thanks to them as my virtual mentors because it’s a fun way!

We love you adding / adding accents and twists to established characters. Yorkshire Kammy, Scottish Luigi, Fancy British Toad, Female Luigi — Was this a conscious choice on your part, or did you let the actor do your own thing?

The female Luigi was always a conscious choice as she doubled as Lozareena later in the show, but the last two other candidates during the audition brought a different and wonderful dimension to both roles. It was a great drag queen-definitely still at the table for future runs!

Luigi and him — well, her reliable vacuum cleaner
Luigi and him — well, her reliable vacuum cleaner (Image: Transfer Productions)

I think Fancy Rad Toad was always the intention, as his character is primarily based on the Sunshine Toad (Captain Toad also arrived on the floor of the cutting room quite early on). Everything else came from the heart of the actor-our wonderful director Erie Couto wants the actor to be as far away as possible from “impersonation” so that he can connect with the character and with the audience, so the actor’s own I wanted to use accents very specifically, rather than sitting there like “Hmm, Italian accents are not 100% accurate”, instead of sitting there, an interpretation of our world Believe in our version of the character in.

The magic of theater is literally two lines, meaning that Luigi is completely forgotten that he wasn’t necessarily Scottish. He also allowed a lot of improvisations during the rehearsals because the cast developed his own version of the character-not to mention that Bowser’s Kieran Sims is the weirdest person I’ve ever met. The scene is just “Kielan does something interesting here”. His scene involving Pikachu changes every time he plays, and I laugh and cry every time.

Which song did you write first? Also, which song was the most difficult to finish at the end?

Yoshi’s solo side quest is what we call a “trunk song”. This basically means that it existed before this version of the show started. It was written for the future Zelda musical and sung by Tingle of all, but only a few needed. It’s already generalized throughout the game, so we’ll adjust it for this show. Exchange your fishing for coin collection and complete the work.

Toad and Yoshi love songs are pretty risky
Toad and Yoshi’s love song very dangerous (Image: Transfer Productions)

The first song actually written for the show was Free, the big opening “I Want” solo by Peach. This really helped our mission and the story we wanted to tell. To be honest, I didn’t want to end the show and I wasn’t ready to let go of the character, so the most difficult song to finish was our finale.

Really annoying, after thinking that I finally nailed it with the song “Into The Unknown” Anna and the Snow Queen 2 About a month after I finished writing, I had to come back to the drafting board …

Like Donkey Kong’s Velvet Underground Banana T-shirt, simple stage outfits have some great references. What other neat details did you include?

There are many references in the set itself! Our Mushroom Kingdom Mountains (not to be confused with the cheap Marble Arch Mound) are made of cardboard boxes, Nintendo consoles and stuffed animals-somewhere there is a load-bearing Wario amiibo.

Luigi and Peach
Image: Transfer Productions

From the idol animation of Peach in Super Smash Bros. to the routine of Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix, there are also moments of physicality and choreography lifted directly from the game. Music clearly sometimes features DADA DA DOO DUN DAH, organically hiding small hooks from games like the Galaxy and Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins (my favorite buried reference).

Bubble Bobble, Killer Instinct, Kingdom hearts And there is one reference to Zelda II- Hotel Mario Literally, I think one person will come every time, but I always try to find one or two people laughing at it so that I can buy a drink after the show.

Which character, musical number, cool idea did you need to take the time to cut?

There are more songs that have been cut than the songs that are still on the show! There was a hilarious scene of Sonic that had to be cut sadly for structural reasons in the story, and the nonsense of Wario and Waluigi was scattered throughout, but they were also cut because they were a bit exciting and uninteresting. it was done.

Sonic’s hilarious scene that had to be cut sadly … and the nonsense of Wario and Waluigi was scattered all over, but they were also cut because they were a bit exciting and uninteresting.

Two songs that I really miss and that could come back for future execution are “Heroeswear Green”, which appears in Luigi with a vision that Link and Zelda inspire Luigi, and a toad solo. It is “Pac-Man Can Can”. At this stage, I don’t want to say anything other than the title!

Also, at the beginning of development, we explored the area of ​​interactivity from the viewer and actually gave it a game-like feel, but after some experimentation and workshops, the story we want to tell. Judging that it wouldn’t benefit you-Peach’s main goal is to give yourself an agency, why take it away from her and give it to Keith in the fourth row? Another video game-centric musical named Stage recently debuted at Vaults, and the audience made decisions like a telltale game on behalf of the protagonist. This was incredible and I hope the show will run again someday.

Donkey Kong Appears in The Velvet Underground T-shirt
Donkey Kong Appears in The Velvet Underground T-shirt (Image: Transfer Productions)

Did you expect your viewers to have some knowledge of video games? Were they usually under the age of 40?

There are certainly some hardcore references that you can only get if you know Yoshi’s Safari from Yoshi’s Cookies, which will enhance your experience, but to understand and enjoy the show, our audience will be you. Proved that it doesn’t need more than a pass Familiarity with plumbers (and this is very common, and recently Mario is said to be more recognized than Mickey Mouse ) Can really enjoy music, jokes and stories.

Our audience is definitely biased towards Millennial / Gen Z brackets, but it’s not exclusive and everyone enjoys it! After last night’s show, an older woman approached me and found that “I understood and loved about 70% of it, and everyone else enjoyed the remaining 30%. Increasingly, so I was willing to let it through “and I think the balance is correct!

Which video game will be the next great musical?

I would love to see the beautiful game Wandersong adapt to the stage, as the musical bones and structure have already been burned in with its glorious settings and characters.

An imperfect Animal Crossing musical has been sitting at my desk for years and I want to end it someday (it’s a murder mystery!) And I want to do it Crash Bandicoot Someday I will focus on musicals, especially villains. I know that Aria is buried in the dingo dire and is waiting to be released.


Mario’s London run!After the super musical at Camden Fringe, Jim says “look at this space” — you can Follow the show on Twitter Be one of the first to know if a musical will come to a theater near you.

Has anyone actually seen Mario? Super musical? Would you like to be treated by Starkid and have fun on YouTube for all of us? Let us know in the comments!