The "Kingdom Hearts" Disney role playing video game series comes to life this weekend at the Dolby Theatre, with a series of three concerts beginning Saturday. It's the latest stop on a world tour that's already hit Japan and Europe, coinciding with the game's 15th anniversary.
"Kingdom Hearts" has a large, loyal following, with millions of copies sold. The game combines characters from a plethora of Disney films — from "Tarzan" to "Beauty and the Beast," alongside classic Disney characters like Mickey — with the "Final Fantasy" role playing game universe. Even though the franchise only has two traditional entries, it's spawned numerous prequels, remakes and spinoff games, adding more than a dozen other releases to the mix.
That level of fandom — combined with great music — is what made this tour seem like a good idea, according to Julien Mombert. He's the show's executive producer.
"The game needs to be good, the game needs to have captivated the audience first, and the music needs to be great too, so that people want to hear it again," Mombert told KPCC.
He worked with video game developer Square Enix and Disney to create this concert, combining a live orchestra and choir with video from the games. Video game concerts have been a growing concern in recent years, with several games getting tours, but Mombert wanted to do something different with this one.
"[My] role is to make it great. So we wanted to raise the quality of video game concerts," Mombert said. "Some good [video game] shows already exist, and we wanted to level up a little bit with each side of the production."
An extra enticement for "Kingdom Hearts" hardcores: the concert is considered part of the video game universe, with several new original scenes that have been created and are shown as part of the show.
"It's really part of the universe, not a side product ... and the fans are going to discover some stuff from the story, from the mythology of the saga," Mombert said. "One of [the scenes] is introducing what is going to happen in 'Kingdom Hearts III.'"
The composer of the games' music, Yoko Shimomura, is also set to appear as a special guest at the concerts. She has a long legacy of video game music, including classics like RPG "Legend of Mana" and the legendary "Street Fighter II" fighting game. Mombert described her as "the queen of video game music composition."
Japan has a different relationship with video game music than the United States, with Japanese games having created numerous crossover hits. A single from the first "Kingdom Hearts" game hit number 1 on the Japanese charts, while a single from "Kingdom Hearts II" was certified gold.
The L.A. run of the show is June 10, 11 and 14 at the Dolby Theatre, before it moves on to New York and Osaka, Japan. That last show also lines up with the E3 video game convention, making it a hot ticket. And even Mombert said he has no idea when "Kingdom Hearts III" will finally come out, so this may be your best chance to get a taste of some new "Kingdom Hearts" ahead of that game.