“Hero” Musical Shines the Spotlight on Cool Nerd Culture

The term “nerd” used to be a bad word. If you loved comic books, watched Star Trek, or played Dungeons & Dragons, then you were the absolute opposite of cool. In the past few years, nerd-dom has become something to celebrate, rather than ridicule. The most mainstream examples are CBS’s hit sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, which revolves around four brilliant yet socially awkward scientists and Fox’s Glee, which glorifies so-called choir geeks.  Nerd culture has always had a home on the Internet but websites such as Nerdist.com and TheNerdMachine.com have brought cool nerdiness to a whole new level. And now, comic book nerds have invaded the world of musicals in the new show Hero (conceived and written by Aaron Thielen, with music and lyrics by Michael Mahler), running June 20-August 19, 2012 at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre.

Hero tells the story of 28-year-old aspiring comic book artist Hero Batowski who works in his family’s comic book shop and still lives at home with his father. A tragedy in his past has left Hero unable to move forward with his life. A series of unexpected events forces Hero to figure out if he can face his fears and get his life back on track.

I saw the show on July 7, and I enjoyed how it pays affectionate homage to comic books, Star Wars, and Star Trek. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a QR code in the program which takes you to Hero‘s official website. I’m not sure how many of the… mature… audience members at the Marriott Lincolnshire knew what to do with a QR code, but it’s a clever gimmick for those of us who have a smart phone. My favorite part of the website is the story and character section which includes Hero’s drawings of his friends and family, as well as descriptions of their origin stories and superpowers.

You can check out highlights of Hero in the video below. Tickets are available here, on the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre’s website.

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