Arcadefire! [The Redemption of Billy Mitchell] is a new original musical comedy created by the Indianapolis based Catalyst Repertory theatrical team, playwright Casey Ross (Creator, Director & Conceptual Design), Christopher McNeely (Original Music), and yes the King of Kong, himself, the man in the patriotic tie - Billy Mitchell. For the last year, our team has been workshopping this musical event, in hopes to bring it to you. It's part Broadway, part arcade, and all in good fun, so come along with us to Fun Spot...
Originally produced at the 2018 IndyFringe theatre festival, Arcadefire! is the true-ish story of the one true King of (Donkey) Kong; the infamous arcade superstar, Billy Mitchell. This slapdash musical parody (that's right, folks, it's a parody so, calm down internet haters and MAME-shamers!, just go with us, here...) -- promises big laughs and nostalgia tid-bits for any classic video game fan...whether you love Billy Mitchell, or hate him. This show is a hilarious look at the passionate people who inhabit the shockingly interesting retro gaming hobby -- their stories and their rumors, their ups and their downs --and, we're going to poke fun at everyone. But, we promise, if you like fun, you'll have it with us.
Arcadefire! follows our hero, Billy, not only through the King of Kong: Fist Full of Quarters 'documentary' days, but also, the early days of arcade gaming, his epic Donkey Kong rivalry with that other guy from the movie, and yes, his current high-score Donkey Kong cheating scandal, or, as we call it, the 'MAME'ing. Oh yeah, and...some other stuff that we blatantly made up! It's a lovely sunny morning and we see Brian Kuh, ever vigently heading to open up at Fun Spot arcade, just then, the emergency phone bestowed unto Fun Spot key-holders, by arcade manager and Twin Galaxies founder, Walter Day, rings...it's bad, it's on the internet, and it just can't be -- Fun Spot poster-boy Billy Mitchell...cheated at Donkey Kong? Quickly, the high-scoring and full of himself, Mitchell, and his faithful 'number 2,' Brian Kuh, have to clear the King of Kong's name and get him back in shape for a totally crooked Kong-Off against Billy's career rival, Steve Wiebe. According to catch-phrase, Billy Mitchell always has a plan, so this should all go fine. The ONLY issue could be, that when you've been number one since '82 and have the ego to match your status, old friends can be hard to find on-line...or at all.
Ironicly enough, however, while we were making this gaming musical-parody, we made a real-life friend in the REAL Billy Mitchell (and Brian Kuh, and Walter Day!) -- on-line. Quickly, the story at hand became two fold: The one on stage and the one about the realization of a partnership with our show's subject. Because, here's the thing, we knew that if Billy Mitchell, himself, could laugh at this musical trip back to Fun Spot Arcade, you could, too! So, here's what the show creator, Casey Ross, did: she got in touch with Billy Mitchell. Which, as you'd expect for such a legendary man, was a legendary feat. At the time, Billy had no (real) Facebook. Sure, you could find Billy Mitchell profiles, fan sites, and even a page dedicated to his hair, but the real Billy was nowhere to be found. So, she found the creator of the Kong Off, Richie Knucklez and she called him on Facebook. It just so happened, that when she called, Kong Off 6 was in progress and Billy was standing not 2 feet from Richie. Richie handed over his phone and that famous direct tone answered with simply, 'This is Billy. You talk, I'll listen.' And just like that, we're two productions down and we're hitting the road, now. The last year has brought our team closer to our subjects and we're proud to partner with arcade celebrities and enthusiats to bring our show to the classic gaming community, as well as, our general theatre audience at Catalyst Repertory Theatre. We've spent time in the arcade with the real men our show is about, it's been an adventure, an honor, and frankly...it's been fun as hell. We're now onto our 3rd draft of the show, and we believe this to be final -- we're ready to bring Fun Spot and Arcadefire! to you and most of the time, we can bring you a living breathing legend of the scoreboard -- so that this 'Redemption of Billy Mitchell' is happening live, in person, which is how we like to do things.
So, let the hot sauce flow and get up and play...cus you can book us, today! But what does 'booking' a musical that brings a Donkey Kong cabinet and arcade royalty to your venue really look like? Well, we're hopeful that this website lights your marquees, and answers any questions about what all our unique, customizable show can entail. And if not, you can always reach out to us at the contact page. Ladies and gentlemen, it's a Kong Off! #ItsAKongOff