The Pokemon Go gaming craze that seems to have taken over American culture for the past two weeks has inspired the New York debut of the musical parody, The Pokémusical, which will debut 9:30 PM August 7 at Feinstein's/54Below.
The show, which has been in development since at least 2013 when it won Best Musical honors at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, pokes fun at the Pokémon video games, which originated in Japan, and have been around for more than two decades, mainly as a diversion for youngsters, though many of its original adherents are now adults. Gamers try to capture as many of the little creatures as possible, then build up their power through battles with other gamers’ Pokémon and transform them into more powerful forms. “Gotta catch ’em all” is the game’s catchphrase.
The old-school Pokémon games took place entirely in virtual worlds inside computers. The new edition, released July 8 and reportedly already getting more traffic than all of Twitter, requires that you go out into the real world as use a type of GPS to find the creatures in real landscapes, including Broadway.
Alex Syiek and Andrew Leslie Cooper wrote the parody musical, which is described thus in production notes: “In this mile-a-minute (unofficial) Pokémon parody musical, see your favorite nostalgia-ridden characters from the cartoons and games take the stage like never before. The Pokémusical lovingly lampoons the famous franchise that is slowly taking over our lives. There’s battling animals (sorry PETA), songs about evolution (sorry creationists), and everyone’s favorite adorable yellow rat speaking in iambic pentameter (sorry Shakespeare). It’s a story about climbing to the top, and the importance of the friends you meet along the way, and, speaking of friends, join us (or we’ll cancel your Pokémon GO account)!”
The Pokémusical is directed and produced by Alex Syiek and will feature Ciara Renée (Big Fish; Pippin), Anthony Sagaria (American Psycho), Caitlin Houlahan (Bridges of Madison County National Tour; Peter Pan Live!), Kyra Kennedy (Theory of Relativity at Goodspeed), Kelly Autry, Chris Cowan, Peyton Crim, Brandyn Day, Ian Gregory Hill and Nate Klingenberg.
Musical direction is by pianist Andy Roninson, with Jack Schlesinger on guitar and Danny Ursetti on drums.
The “pocket monsters” have appeared on stage in touring arena shows since the 1990s.
Tony Award nominee Andrew Rannells played the villain James for a time in one of the arena shows.