GameCity: Interview with the Super Mario Musical Writer and Producer

On the 23rd of October 2015 I interviewed the writer Jim Burrows and producer Charlotte Fage about Mario – A Super Musical just before their second performance. We discussed their favourite games, obscure characters and unexpected romances, to give a lovely perspective of the minds behind the musical.

First things first why did you write a Mario Musical?

J – That is a very good question; I spent a lot of time listening to the songs and soundtrack, and then started writing lyrics for them. Recorded a couple and put on Youtube and found out nobody had put them into a cohesive plot, so I started writing it one day, and then gave up! But then these guys found out about it, and then forced me to write it (Charlotte laughs), so here we are!

What is your favourite Mario game?

J – My favourite game is probably Mario Galaxy – just because the soundtrack is amazing and just being able to explore a big open world just felt and it completely immersed you.
C – I think it’s Luigi’s Mansion, I love it just because I’ve always loved Luigi, he’s always been an underdog and he finally gets this moment to shine. It is so different from any other game and it also has a plot like (Mario) Sunshine.
J – In the musical, Luigi is the lead, Mario is the title character, but he spends most of the time *spoilers* being kidnapped.

Most interesting part of the musical?

J – Lots of little diversions, one scene where he goes to visit Yoshi, there’s a scene go to visit Kirby, quite a few Pokémon related scenes, not just Mario, quite a lot a little cameos, trying to spot the references is probably the most interesting.
C – Yeah, and it’s not just Nintendo, got musical references, Disney references, there is something for everyone.
J – Most interesting part for me is character Kammy Magikoopa, who is very obscure but there is one bit where she sings her solo and her backing dancers are Mario and Sonic, so it’s the two main characters in the musical relegated to the back row.
C – All the characters are quite different, taking something that is so iconic so everybody knows;
J – Peach isn’t a damsel in distress;
C – No she is not, a strong women that put (are you playing Peach) is it obvious! Who puts the big group of heroes together to rescue Mario and defeat Bowser, she’s probably the most brutal, she’s the one who fights with people and at her hands the most casualties happen technically!

What should I look forward to?

J – Look forward to Wario and Waluigi’s duet, that’s really funny, and look forward to seeing what songs you recognise. Unexpected romance – two characters that you would never think would go together and they fall in love, I promise you will never guess it.

How did you get involved with GameCity?

J – We asked politely! – We are actually from Lincoln and we just looking up what is the most appropriate venue for this and we heard that the NVA had only just opened. We heard they had a little stage area, so I emailed them one day asking if we can please put our show on here.
C– We did it (the musical) back in July, and they asked us back, so this is a revised version, more songs, more jokes, more characters!
Who’s your favourite character from the Mario universe?
C – Since I was little I’ve always loved peach and I’ve always loved the idea of being her. The older I get though I’ve started to prefer Daisy because she isn’t as helpless, she’s made of sturdier stuff! I don’t know I love them all! Yoshi’s cute, well not in our musical.
J – Yeah, Yoshi is a bit of an arse! I don’t what my favourite character is, obviously I love Waluigi just because he’s the dick-dastardly of Mario, and I think he’s hilarious and massively under-appreciated, but I think my favourite Mario character is not even in the show! It is Rawk Hawk, from Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door (C – you are so obscure Jim!) he’s just wonderful and funny.

What is your favourite game right now?

J – Well I’m playing Mario Maker a lot, making my own levels and playing other people’s but a game I always go back to is Fallout 3, I know it’s not a Nintendo game but I can spend hours on it just wandering around discovering things.
C – Currently I’m playing Super Mario World 3D which is really good.

Favourite Nintendo game?

J – Kirby Super Star, I love that all the people are made out of wool
CSpyro (J – Spyro is not Nintendo!) But I love Spyro! Yoshi Story I really liked as a child.

Any other comments?

J – Just keep an eye on the future, we might take it on tour, we might go to the Edinburgh Fringe, this isn’t the end of Super Mario Musical, this just the beginning!

Tim Spencer 

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