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‘Adding Machine’ begins at SpeakEasy Stage March 12

In numbers, the mysteries of life can be revealed.

Brendan McNab stars as Mr. Zero in the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of Adding Machine: A Musical, running March 12 – April 10, 2010 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street in the South End. Tix/Info: 617-933-8600/ Photo: Mark L. Saperstein.

So begins the award-winning Off-Broadway musical Adding Machine, which will have its New England premiere March 12 – April 10, 2010, courtesy of SpeakEasy Stage Company.

Based on The Adding Machine, Elmer Rice’s incendiary 1923 play, Adding Machine tells the story of Mr. Zero, who after 25 years of service to his company, is replaced by a mechanical adding machine. In a vengeful rage, Zero murders his boss. An eclectic score gives passionate and memorable voice to this stylish and stylized show, which follows Zero’s journey to the afterlife in the Elysian Fields where he is met with one last chance for romance and redemption.

Adding Machine was commissioned by co-librettist Jason Loewith, who at the time was the Artistic Director of Chicago’s Next Theatre Company, where the musical debuted in 2007. Mr. Loewith is now Executive Director of the National New Play Network in Washington, DC.

The score is by New York- and Milwaukee-based composer Joshua Schmidt, who also co-wrote the libretto. Currently one of the most sought-after young musical theater composers in the country, Mr. Schmidt recently wrote the music for the Broadway run of The Neil Simon Plays and the current production of When the Rain Stops Falling at Lincoln Center. His next work is the score for A Minister’s Wife, which features a book by Austin Pendleton and lyrics by Jan Tranen.

For their work on Adding Machine, which enjoyed a five month Off-Broadway run in 2008, Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Loewith won Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Jefferson, and After Dark Awards for Best New Musical.

SpeakEasy General Manager and Production Manager Paul Melone will direct the Boston premiere of Adding Machine. Mr. Melone was nominated for a 2007 Elliot Norton Award for Best Director for his work on the New England Premiere of Neil LaBute’s controversial play Fat Pig. He also directed the New England premieres of The Shape of Things, The Moonlight Room and The Little Dog Laughed for SpeakEasy.

Music Director Steven Bergman and Choreographer David Connolly round out the artistic team.

Popular Boston actor Brendan McNab (Parade, Kiss of the Spider Woman) will star as Mr. Zero. Also featured in the SpeakEasy cast are Leigh Barrett, Amelia Broome, John Bambery, Bob DeVivo,
Liz Hayes, David Krinitt, Sean McGuirk, and Cheryl McMahon.

The design team is Susan Zeeman Rogers (Scenic Design); Gail Astrid Buckley (Costumes); Jeff Adelberg (Lighting) and Aaron Mack (Sound). Victoria S. Coady is the Production Stage Manager.

Adding Machine will be performed in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End.

Ticket prices are $30-$54. Students and seniors are $5 off at all times, excluding $30 gallery seats. Student rush tickets are $14 and go on sale one hour before curtain, when available.

For tickets or more information on Adding Machine, the public can call the Boston Theatre Scene Box Office at 617-933-8600 or visit

Jason Loewith (Co-librettist) won Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Jeff and After Dark Awards for Best New Musical for Adding Machine: A MUSICAL, which he co-wrote with composer Joshua Schmidt. He produced the world premiere at Chicago’s Next Theatre Company in 2007, where he served as Artistic Director from 2002-2008. That production went on to a six-month commercial run Off-Broadway in 2008, winning four Obie Awards for direction, design and performance.

For Next Theatre Company, he shepherded more than 20 productions to the stage, including five plays in world premieres or workshops. His programming twice received the After Dark Award for Outstanding Season (03-04 and 05-06), and work that he directed or produced won multiple Jeff, After Dark, and Black Theatre Alliance Awards and received critical accolades from Chicago’s major media outlets. While in Chicago, Jason directed area premieres of works by John Patrick Shanley, Paula Vogel, Lynn Nottage, and many others. He also recently directed a critically-acclaimed production of Adding Machine at DC’s Studio Theatre, and heads back to Chicago in April 2010 to helm a production of his new adaptation of Karel Capek’s War With the Newts. He is also putting the finishing touches on The Director’s Voice, a series of interviews with legendary directors due out from TCG in spring 2010.

Since moving to Washington in October 2008, Jason was appointed Executive Director of the National New Play Network, the country’s leading alliance of nonprofit theaters that champion the development, production, and continued life of new plays. Prior to his leadership roles in Washington and Chicago, Jason served for five years as General Manager of Off-Broadway’s Classic Stage Company.

He holds an AB from Brown University and an MA in Dramatic Arts from the University of California in Santa Barbara.

Joshua Schmidt (Composer, Co-librettist) is a New York- and Milwaukee-based composer/sound designer who has become one of the most sought-after young musical theater composers in the country.

His original compositions have been heard on Broadway (The Neil Simon Plays, When the Rain Stops Falling); Off- Broadway (Adding Machine, Fifty Words, Crime and Punishment); and in Chicago (Steppenwolf: Tempest, Love-Lies Bleeding; Writers’ Theatre: A Minister’s Wife; Northlight: Lady Windermere’s Fan, The Chalk Garden; Senachai: Journey’s End; others). He has also contributed to over 100 regional productions.

His musical Adding Machine finished its Off-Broadway run at the Minetta Lane Theatre on July 20th, 2008, where it won four Lortel Awards (six nominations) including Best Musical, two Outer Critics Circle Awards (four nominations) including Best Musical Off-Broadway Score, four Obies, nine Drama Desk Nominations (including Best Musical, Score, Book and Lyrics), and a Drama League Nomination for Best Musical.

His next work A Minister’s Wife premiered at Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe, IL in May of 2009, received six Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and two awards, including Best New Work – Musical.

His composition/sound design work has been featured throughout the USA at venues including: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Writers’ Theatre, Next Theatre, Northlight Theatre, and Seanachai Theatre Company (Chicago); Alley Theatre (Houston); Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle); Kansas City Rep (Kansas City, MO); Cleveland Playhouse (Cleveland); Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre, and Studio Theatre (Washington, DC); Broadway/Nederlander Theater, MCC, Minetta Lane Theatre, Public Theatre (associate design), Builders Association (associate design), Jean Cocteau Rep, and Genesius Theatre Guild (New York, NY).

He is a recipient of the 2003-2005 NEA/TCG Career Development Program Award and was named one of nine emerging designers in Entertainment/Design Magazine in 2004. He has received six Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and three Awards for his composition/sound design work in Chicago.

Compiled from the press release courtesy of the SpeakEasy Stage Company (website | profile | tag archive). Your source for news and information about Boston Theatre. Join our email list, follow us on Twitter @exploretheatre and become a fan on Facebook.

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