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Rock opera written at CalArts gets New York debut

August 16, 2013

Mario Bros. Rock Opera to Make Its New York Stage Debut

By Devon Maloney

If you know who Jonathan Mann is, it’s probably because at some point you’ve followed the Song A Day experiment he’s been conducting on YouTube since 2009. Or maybe you know him as GameJew, the moniker he adopted in 2006 when he first started posting first-person comedy, music and commentary videos based on his love of old-school video games. Either way, what you need to know now is that, in 2005, before he started churning ‘em out on the regular for millions of subscribers, he wrote his real opus: a rock opera dedicated to one of the loves of his life, Super Mario Bros.

At the time, he was attending the California Institute of the Arts and living in Santa Clarita, California, so its production was relegated to the school stage as seen in the above video; now he’s grown up, living in Brooklyn, and with the help of a couple friends he made after his Song-a-Day campaign blew up, he’s resurrecting The Mario Opera on a New York stage.

“I wrote a theme song for [Instapaper founder Marco Arment's] ‘The Accidental Tech Podcast’ as part of my Song A Day process. They started using it, and not long after, [Mario Opera producer] Steven Tartick contacted me,” writes Mann in an email to WIRED, explaining why the opera is getting a second chance. “He was doing social media for Alan Cummings’ one-man Macbeth on Broadway, and wanted me to write a two-minute Macbeth recap song. At a lunch meeting he [told me] he’s a huge Mario fan and asked me about the opera.” Read More

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