Milwaukee Repertory Theater's 2012/13 Season kicks off with the wacky, award-winning musical comedy, Gutenberg! The Musical! Two men, one pianist, thirty baseball caps – and one massively misguided dream! In 1450, in Mainz, Germany, Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press; in 2012, in Nutley, New Jersey, Bud and Doug wrote a big, splashy musical about him, the evil monk trying to stop him and the beautiful girl who loved him. They may not have a cast, an orchestra or a clue, but with an unending supply of enthusiasm, they're pitching their hilarious, 16-song epic to Broadway producers who just might fulfill their bright-eyed ambitions! The play is written by Scott Brown and Anthony King with original Music Direction and Arrangements by T. O. Sterrett. and will be directed by Rep Associate Artist Laura Gordon, who directed last season's delightful production of In the Next Room or the vibrator play. Gutenberg! The Musical! features comedic actor and Rep Associate Artist Gerard Neugent, former Milwaukee Rep Acting Intern Eric Damon Smith and frequent Rep collaborator Musical Director/Pianist Paul Helm. Gutenberg! The Musical runs in the Stackner Cabaret from August 24 – October 14, and opens Sunday, August 26.
"Anyone who likes the zany humor of Monty Python will love this show about two guys and a pianist pitching an incredibly ludicrous, over-the-top musical filled with 16 ridiculous songs," says Artistic Director Mark Clements. "It's been on my list of pieces to produce for awhile, and now is the right now. It's a two-hour festival of silliness, laughter and joy – come and enjoy!"
"The premise of the piece is that two guys, Bud and Doug, have written a musical about Johann Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press," added director Laura Gordon. "Tonight is the night that they are pitching this fabulous show to potential Broadway producers. It's a "reading" of the musical, so there's no set, no real props and no cast. Bud and Doug must play all the parts themselves. And that's where the fun begins. They are so proud and so excited, and don't have a clue that their material isn't really as good as Wicked or Les Miserables. This show is very, very funny . . . but it's also quite charming. Bud and Doug love theater. They love to dream big. And they're having the best night of their lives."
Gutenberg! The Musical! was originally workshopped at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York and the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival. The first two-act version premiered in London in January 2006. Since its premiere, the show has been performed extensively throughout the U.S. as well as internationally in Australia and Finland. The musical has won numerous awards including the 2007 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical. Playwrights Scott Brown and Anthony King won the 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical and Gutenberg! The Musical! also won the 2007 Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical.
Gerard Neugent (Doug) just completed his tenth season with The Rep, his sixth as a member of The Rep's Resident Acting Company and, with the start of the 2012/13 Season, is now a Rep Associate Artist. He recently appeared as Iago in The Rep's Quadracci Powerhouse production of Othello; other recent productions include The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) in the Stackner Cabaret and as Michael McCormick in Lombardi on the Quadracci Powerhouse stage. Other roles include Happy in Death of a Salesman, Clown 2 in The 39 Steps and Stan Laurel in Laurel and Hardy.
Eric Damon Smith (Bud) is a former Milwaukee Rep acting intern from the 2002/03 Season. Recent credits include: Jaques in As You Like It (Muse of Fire); Mosca in Volpone (City Lit); Jamie in Long Day's Journey into Night (Polarity Ensemble) and his Jeff Award-nominated turn as Flaminio Scala in the regional premiere of The Glorious Ones (Boho and Theatre on the Lake). Other credits include work with Northlight Theatre, Remy Bumppo and Riverside Theater.