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Issue Date: November 2005 Issue


"Super Mario" Makes Music


Leah Campanalie

Talk about getting your game on.

This month, classical musicians will turn the bleeps and bloops of "Super Mario Bros." and "Pong" into a new interactive, laser-filled musical experience called "Video Games Live."

The concert, which debuted in July in Los Angeles at a packed Hollywood Bowl, features music from more than 40 popular video games, including "The Legend of Zelda" and "Final Fantasy."

The brainchild of Tommy Tallarico, CEO of Mystical Stone Entertainment, "Video Games Live" builds on a trend of musicians creating music for video games, in the hopes of reaching new listeners. Take the Los Angeles hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, for instance, who recently remixed some of its hits for "The Urbz: Sims in the City." And rapper Snoop Dogg recently remade The Doors' "Riders on the Storm" for the racing game "Need for Speed Underground 2."

"Video games are the radio of the 21st century," Tallarico says.

He dreamed up the concept when he was just 8 years old. Now, billing himself as the first musician to release a video-game sound track worldwide, Tallarico is trying to improve the perception of the video game industry.

"We have turned a younger generation on to orchestra, and an older generation on to video games," he says.

Cleveland is one of 25 cities in North America where "Video Games Live" will travel. A Washington Post review described the concert music as "New-Agey, mellow and heavy on the string sections."

Concert-goers will also witness an interactive segment where selected audience members play "Frogger" onstage with orchestral accompaniment. Along with the applause of a theater full of spectators, the winner also gets a laptop computer. Leah Campanalie

"Video Games Live" will be at the Palace Theatre Nov. 26. Call (216) 771-4444 or visit www.playhousesquare.com for more information. Tickets start at $20.


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