Ryan Bowers ’14 is the director of “The Pokémon Musical,” an original show based on the popular television program and Nintendo game franchise that will open Thursday. Bowers and Gabe Greenspan ’14, the show’s composer and co-creator, have been working with the show’s crew throughout the academic year, preparing for its opening night in the Davenport/Pierson Theater. According to the event’s Facebook page, all four showings of the musical sold out almost immediately after tickets became available. The News sat down with Bowers, a self-professed “Pokémaniac,” to discuss his feelings about the upcoming performance and about his passion for Pokémon.
Q What inspired you to direct a musical about Pokémon?
A Pokémon was kind of my childhood, and the same goes for Gabe, who had the idea in the first place. Gabe started writing this in high school, and then when we met here and both happened to have an absurd level of recall about the original generation, we started talking about seriously doing this. We had this intense love for the Pokémon world that never really died, and that’s what the show was born of.
Q How long has the show been in rehearsal?
A We’ve had the cast (mostly) since December, and we started rehearsing in February.
Q What did you look for when you were trying to cast the ideal Pikachu, one of the musical’s leads?
A Pikachu was something we really had to feel out in the audition room. The draft we had then left a lot of ways for the character to go, and so it was just a matter of finding someone like Jen Mulrow ’14, our Pikachu, who could capture the simultaneous cuteness and spunk of Pikachu that we remembered from the show. Jen’s all of 12 pounds, but she came in and auditioned with the Nicki Minaj rap from Bottoms Up. That just about did it.
Q Did you have to deal with copyright problems from the television show before you could produce the show?
A If we were making money off of it, we definitely would, but we’re not, so we’re skating by on fair use.
Q How many hours of Pokémon did you and Greenspan watch and play to prepare for this show?
A I think you mean “how many years”. Gabe and I are not casual fans. We found that we didn’t have to do much research in the writing room, because we had all of these bizarre details stored away from when we were 9 years old. Die hard fans can expect some deep cut references.
Q What is your favorite Pokémon?
A I know he’s everyone’s least favorite starter, but I’m a Bulbasaur man all the way. He totally rivals Pikachu in attitude, and without his vine whips, Ash would have been stuck in about 700 Team Rocket pit traps.