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Cute and cuddly Pikachu is one of the most popular Pokémon characters. You'll see video clips of him and many of his 720 friends and foes during a symphonic performance of music from the video game series.

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okémon” is a romanticized translation of the Japanese phrase for “pocket monster.” There are, at last count, 721 of the quirky creatures, ranging from Pikachu (a chubby, rodent-like Pokémon covered in yellow fur) to Charizard (a winged, dragon-like Pokémon with a fanged grin and a flaming tail). It’s understandable if you don’t know all 721 by sight (although there are people who do). But if you had kids in the ‘90s, you undoubtedly remember the Pokémon video games, card decks and plush toys that they insisted upon having. You may even have seen the Pokémon movies or watched the Pokémon cartoon series. Particularly with the introduction of the virtual reality game Pokémon Go earlier this year, Nintendo’s Pokémon empire is bigger than ever. More than 200 million video games have been sold since 1995, and the brand, through its various platforms, grossed at least $2.1 billion in 2015 alone. The Pokémon Go mobile app, which debuted in July, has been downloaded more than 500 million times. Music from the video game series has been adapted into an orchestral extravaganza called Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions. That show, which packed the Walt Disney Theater in 2015, will likely do so again on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $26. The encore performance is presented by Live Nation Entertainment and produced by Princeton Entertainment. Evolutions will again showcase the 66-member Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, who’ll play as game imagery is shown on a huge screen. Returning as guest conductor will be Susie Benchasil Seiter, who has become widely known for orchestrating music for video games and related live productions. “Pokémon audiences are my favorites,” says Seiter. “A lot of them have never been to a symphonic performance before, so they don’t know the etiquette, and I love that. They’re cheering and laughing and having a great time. It’s such an honest reaction, and very energizing for me.” The Baltimore native conducted music written by her husband, Chad Seiter, for Star Trek: The Video Game. Her other video-game credits include Aliens: Colonial Marines; God of War 4: Ascension; Batman: Arkham City; The Banner Saga; and Journey. She also has a slew of television and film projects on her resumé, including orchestration for the animated film Shrek 2. Orlando has a vibrant gaming community, and its denizens show up in force for video game related concerts. In addition to last year’s Evolutions show, video-enhanced symphonies based on another iconic Nintendo video game series, The Legend of Zelda, have played Orlando three times with nary an empty seat to be found. The first time was in 2012, when The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses raised the roof at the Bob Carr Theater. Then, in 2015 and 2016, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses—Master Quest packed WINTER 2016 | artsLife

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artsLife Winter 2016