Hideo: A Video Game Symphony

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After six months' worth of rehearsals, Saturday marked the national unveiling of Hideo, a two-hour concert featuring the music from popular video games and anime. As NPR's Robert Siegel tells us, the performance is self-funded — creator, director and producer Blair Baker has poured $60,000 of her life savings into the project.

(Soundbite of cheering)

(Soundbite of music)


Symphony orchestras playing video game themes are selling out concert halls around the world. This one is from Video Games Live. But gamer and sound engineer Blair Baker is not impressed.

Ms. BLAIR BAKER (Gamer and Sound Engineer): It's a symphony on stage the whole time with some video playing, which is cool and it's great to hear the music live. But in terms of what you could do, it's not all that interesting.

SIEGEL: So Baker and her fiance poured more than $60,000 of their own money into creating a musical theater production with a storyline inspired by popular video games and Japanese animation. Baker sold her car, worked multiple jobs, borrowed money from her parents and sacrificed takeout for a year. The result? A video game symphony on steroids, that Wired magazine called her labor of nerd love.

Ms. BAKER: We combined it all with live acting, costumes, props, a full set and all-original illustrations that we animated and projected during the whole show.

SIEGEL: Blair's production is called "Hideo" and it took to the stage for the first time this past weekend in Berkeley, California. She recruited 40 musicians, many fans of the video games featured in "Hideo." Games like "Final Fantasy VI."

Ms. BAKER: One of primary vocalists, she is a Final Fantasy fan and our set list included one of her most beloved songs from "Final Fantasy VI." It's called the "Aria di Mezzo Carattere."

(Soundbite of song, "Aria di Mezzo Carattere")

Ms. MARY STOCKER (Singer): (Singing in foreign language)

Ms. BAKER: Ever since she had played that game, she dreamed of being able to play that character and sing that song.

(Soundbite of song, "Aria di Mezzo Carattere")

Ms. STOCKER: (Singing in foreign language)

SIEGEL: That singer, Mary Stocker, channeling the "Final Fantasy VI" character, Celeste, this past weekend in Berkeley. Baker says she doesn't want "Hideo" to be a one-off production. She's interested in taking it on the road. Her ultimate goal is to expose gaming nerds to theater geeks and vice versa.

(Soundbite of song, "Aria di Mezzo Carattere")

Ms. STOCKER: (Singing in foreign language)

SIEGEL: This is NPR News.

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