Producers Want to Download Nerds Musical Into a Broadway Theatre

News   Producers Want to Download Nerds Musical Into a Broadway Theatre The well-reviewed, award-winning Nerds, the musical, about the rise of rival computer pioneers Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, is aiming for Broadway this season.
Chandra Lee Schwartz, Charlie Pollock, and Emily Shoolin in Nerds.
Chandra Lee Schwartz, Charlie Pollock, and Emily Shoolin in Nerds. Photo by Mark Garvin

Producers Richard Willis, Sharon Fallon and Vicki Halmos are preparing a Broadway production for this fall. Dates and a venue have not been announced for the quirky musical by Hal Goldberg (music) and Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner (book and lyrics).

Philip Wm. McKinley (The Boy From Oz) will direct. Joey McKneely (a Tony Award nominee for The Life and Smokey Joe's Café) will choreograph. (McKneely also has the Broadway-bound West Side Story on his plate this fall.) Both were attached to an earlier 2006-07 Barrymore Award-winning production by Philadelphia Theatre Company. Music director will be Matthew Doebler.

Stuart Thompson Productions is general manager. Casting is by Telsey + Company.

Formerly called Nerds://A Musical Software Satire, the show was produced by Philadelphia Theatre Company and won 2007 Barrymore Awards in the categories of Outstanding Original Music and Outstanding New Play.

It premiered in 2005 at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. It was revised between NYMF and Philly. The show is billed as a "hilarious, irreverent musical take on the parallel stories of computer pioneers Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as they blaze from 'garage inventors' to warring titans of the computer revolution."

The characters include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Paul Allen (Gates' best friend), Steve Wozniak (Jobs' best friend), Sally (the love interest of the rivals), Myrtle (a nerd who blossoms), plus three male principal tracks that include multiple roles. There is no ensemble in Nerds.

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Philadelphia Theatre Company billed it this way: "From the invention of the floppy disk and the mouse to the present-day phenomenon of instant messaging and podcasting, Nerds hilariously celebrates the birth of computer technology and the two pop-culture icons that made it possible…"

Lyricist-librettists Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner both received BFAs from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts at the Experimental Theatre Wing. Shortly after college, they — along with GQ, Jason Catalano, J.A.Q., and Andy Goldberg — created and starred in the popular Off-Broadway production, The Bomb-itty of Errors, "a hip-hop add-rap-tation" of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors. They performed in over 300 performances of Bomb-itty and it has since played in the West End in London, Chicago, Florida, Dublin, Edinburgh, and Los Angeles. It was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Lyrics, nominated for the Outer Critics' Circle Award, and won the Jefferson Award in Chicago and the Grand Jury Prize for Best Show at the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.

With the success of Bomb-itty, the crew signed the first ever three-tier deal with MTV and Paramount. The writers co-created and starred in the hip-hop sketch comedy series, "Scratch & Burn" for MTV in 2002. They were then both invited to be fellows at the Sundance Screenwriting Lab with the screen version of Bomb-itty. Allen-Dutton and Weiner have written for TV's "Robot Chicken" (Cartoon Network's Adult Swim).

Composer Hal Goldberg's composition credits include The Children (New York Music Theatre Festival/2006; HERE Arts/2000). He is currently working on a new musical with book and lyric writer Stan Richardson.