Napoleon Dynamite Live! 20th Anniversary Celebration at the State Theater Ithaca, NY 10/8/23

Photos and Review by: Mark McGauley

It’s been almost 20 years since the film Napoleon Dynamite was released. The film directed by Jared Hess starring Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez and Jon Gries has essentially become a cult classic. For the last several years, the cast has been bringing the film on the road and giving Napoleon Dynamite new life. Last week, the State Theatre of Ithaca hosted a “Bring Your Own Tots” event where fans of the film got to watch it on the big screen and listen to stories told by Napoleon Dynamite, Pedro, and Uncle Rico.

The tour sold pre-show VIP tickets for a chance to meet the cast which quickly sold out. Fans of all ages came to the event dressed as their favorite characters from the movie and to meet the stars. After the VIP wrapped up, fans took their seats with their favorite movie snacks and had the opportunity to watch the film on the big screen. The theater was filled with laughter and cheers throughout the entirety of the movie. After the film was over, there was a brief intermission before the cast took the stage.

The first to take the stage was Uncle Rico (Jon Gries). Gries appeared from the back of the stage with an acoustic guitar sporting an LA Dodgers hat. Joining him on stage soon after was Efren Ramirez who played Pedro in the film. The duo jammed some bluesy tunes with Gries on the guitar and Ramirez on harmonica. After they were finished, they said hello to the audience and asked if anyone had seen Napoleon around. From the back of the theatre Heder appeared, riding his bike through the main doors down the center aisle to the front of the stage.

Together the three of them told stories about the film and how it all came together. The audience got to learn about the original short film, the casting process and much more. Also included was time for audience Q&A and even a dance party at the end. This was certainly an unforgettable event for everyone in attendance.


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