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Mario Opera’s History Revealed by its Creator, Jonathan Mann

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The creator of the Mario Opera takes us through the ups and downs of the world’s first rock opera based in the Mushroom Kingdom.

When Jonathan Mann came up with the Mario Opera, it was because he was a lifetime fan of Super Mario Bros. His post on Medium explains his history with the franchise, how he first started playing in the 1980s, how his parents sold his Nintendo, got him a guitar and how he eventually rekindled his love for Nintendo by reading an article on Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of most of Nintendo’s flagship franchises.

In 2005, Mann had the idea to do a rock opera based on Super Mario Bros., he mentions seeing The Minibosses and how their rock-filled depictions of NES classic themes helped inspire him. In May of 2005, he did four shows of his first Mario Opera, which consisted of 10 songs in the first act. Its staff was comprised of Mann’s friends and generous volunteers who helped put the gig together.

Here is G4’s footage of the Mario Opera’s first show:

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Unfortunately, the show disbanded due to everyone’s commitments to their lives outside of the Mario Opera. Eight years later, he met a producer who brought the opera to Joe’s Pub in NYC, which surprisingly sold out. Now, we finally have footage of the latest incarnation of the Mario Opera. We really hope that Nintendo loosens its grip on its copyrighted material, let its fans have fun and just let the Mario Opera grow.

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