Full casting is announced today for the UK premiere of the hit Off Broadway musical Adding Machine: A Musical, composed by Joshua Schmidt, with libretto by Jason Loewith and Joshua Schmidt, and based on the classic play by Elmer Rice. Josh Seymour directs Joseph Alessi (Mr Zero), Kate Milner-Evans (Mrs Zero), Joanna Kirkland (Daisy Dorothea Devore) and Edd Campbell Bird (Shrdlu), with James Dinsmore (Mr One and as cast), Helen Walsh (Mrs One and as cast), George Rae (Mr Two and as cast), and Sue Appleby (Mrs Two and as cast). The production opens at the Finborough Theatre on Wednesday 28 September 2016 (Press Nights: Friday 30 September and Saturday 1 October 2016 at 7.30pm).
Ever feel like killing your boss?
After 25 long years spent adding figures in the same soul-crushing job, Mr Zero suddenly finds himself replaced by a machine. For the first time in his life, Zero takes his destiny into his own hands. The consequences set him on a path through this world and beyond, offering him one last chance for love, life and redemption.
Take an extraordinary journey with Mr Zero in this stirring and hilariously dark anti-musical as it asks us to consider the true price of a human soul, told through Joshua Schmidt’s haunting score, inspired by gospel, opera, jazz and rock and roll.
The UK premiere of Jason Loewith and Joshua Schmidt’s multi-award winning musical adaptation of Elmer Rice’s groundbreaking 1923 play is directed by Josh Seymour, named Best Director at the 2016 Off West End Theatre Awards for One Arm at Southwark Playhouse.
Adding Machine: A Musical won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and Outstanding New Score.
Joshua Schmidt and Jason Loweith said:
“Astonishingly, the themes of Elmer Rice’s 1922 play seem never more relevant than the time we find ourselves living in now, especially with the recent events in the UK. In adapting his provocative play, we set out to unearth the siren songs of the disenfranchised. This is not music of “simple” folk; rather it is a rich tapestry of love, dark humour, complexity, heartfelt earnestness, insecurity and anger. Whether it’s technological innovation or globalisation that leaves generations of people in the dust, we find it amazing how little those siren songs have changed in almost a century, how frequently they turn into the shrill cries of the racist and the nativist, and how their emotional reach spans so many borders. Diving into this material has made us both much more empathetic to the plight of those kicked to the curb, and more aware of the warning signs in their anger. And it has ultimately reinforced our belief that in the end, we are all individually responsible for our ability to overcome adversity in this ever-changing, constantly evolving world. It seems now is a fascinating moment for the musical to make its premiere in London.”
Composer/Co-Author Joshua Schmidt’s Off-Broadway work includes A Minister’s Wife (Lincoln Center), Adding Machine: A Musical (Minetta Lane Theatre), Whida Peru (59E59 Theaters) and Gift of the Magi (American Players Theatre, WI). His incidental scores include When the Rain Stops Falling (Lincoln Center) and Fifty Words (MCC Theater). His work as Composer and Sound Designer includes – on Broadway – Therese Raquin (Roundabout Theatre and Studio 54), House of Blue Leaves (Walter Kerr Theatre), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Nederlander Theatre) and – Off Broadway – Dinner With Friends (Roundabout Theatre), Model Apartment (Primary Stages), 3 Kinds of Exile (Atlantic Theatre), Water by the Spoonful (Second Stage) and Crime and Punishment (59E59 Theaters). Work in Chicago includes Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theater, Writers’ Theatre (Associate Artist), Northlight Theatre, Next Theatre Company and Seanachai Theatre Company. Regional work includes over 150 productions at venues across North America including Stratford Shakespeare Festival (Ontario, Canada), Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre (Washington DC), Seattle Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre (Resident Artist – Houston, Texas), Arizona Theater Company, Cleveland Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, South Coast Repertory (California), Delaware Theatre Company, 14 Seasons at American Players Theatre (Spring Green, Wisconsin) and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Commissions include Metropolitan Opera, RKO, CraneKahn, Playwrights Horizons, Sloan/MCT and Signature (VA) Writers Theatre. Recordings include Adding Machine: A Musical and A Minister’s Wife (both released on PS Classics and available on iTunes and Amazon). Schmidt has worked as an Associate Artist at venues including Alley Theatre in Houston and Writers Theatre in Glencoe. Teaching includes lecturings at Harvard, Suffolk, Mississippi-Oxford, Illinois Urbana/Champaign, Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is a member of ASCAP and has won numerous awards and recognition including Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Jeff, ASCAP, NEA/TCG, Prague Quadrennial 2007 and Sundance Theatre Lab UCross 2012.
Co-Librettist Jason Loewith won Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle and Jeff awards for Best New Musical for Adding Machine: A Musical, which he co-wrote with composer Joshua Schmidt. His other writing includes Big Nate: The Musical and The Director’s Voice, Volume 2 (published by TCG). Since 2013, he has been Artistic Director of the Olney Theatre Center outside Washington DC where he has directed the Rolling World Premiere of Steven Dietz’s Rancho Mirage as well as Marjorie Prime, Carousel, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Helen Hayes Award nomination for Best Direction) and Avenue Q. Recent regional work as a director includes the world premiere of Broke (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta), Time Stands Still (Everyman, Baltimore), Crime and Punishment and Working It Out (Center Stage, Baltimore), Adding Machine: A Musical (Studio Theatre, Washington DC) and a dozen plays for Chicago’s Next Theatre Company where he served as Artistic Director from 2002-08, including the Chicago area premieres of Dying City, Defiance, The Long Christmas Ride Home and Fabulation. He conceived and directed the world premiere of The American Dream Songbook, wrote and directed the world premiere of War With the Newts and produced Chicago premieres by Caryl Churchill, Suzan-Lori Parks, Carson Kreitzer, Sam Shepard, Dael Orlandersmith and many more. He is a three-time grantee from the NEA for Artistic Excellence, a recipient of support from the Rockefeller MAP Fund and MacArthur’s International Connections Fund and a TCG New Generations Future Leaders grant. Before joining the team at Olney Theatre Center, Loewith proudly served four years as Executive Director of the National New Play Network and five years with Classic Stage Company Off-Broadway.
Playwright Elmer Rice (1892-1967) was noted for his innovative and polemical plays, best known for Street Scene (1929), a starkly realistic tragedy set outside a New York City slum tenement building, which won a Pulitzer Prize and was adapted into a highly popular musical with lyrics by Langston Hughes and music by Kurt Weill. His other plays include On Trial (1914), The Adding Machine (1923), Counsellor-at-Law (1931), We, the People (1933) and Judgment Day (1934). Rice was active in the WPA Federal Theatre Project in the mid-1930s, also championed the American Civil Liberties Union and the cause of free speech and in the 1950s he was an opponent of U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. Rice also wrote several novels and an autobiography, Minority Report (1963).
Joseph Alessi plays Mr Zero. Theatre includes Older Male in Monster Raving Loony (Drum Theatre Plymouth and Soho Theatre), Duchotel in The One That Got Away (Ustinov Theatre, Bath), Louis in The Hook (Royal and Derngate Theatres Northampton and Everyman Theatre, Liverpool), Albert in Kneehigh’s Brief Encounter (International Tour and Studio 54, Broadway), Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton), Orgon in Tartuffe (Liverpool Playhouse and National Tour), Sidney in Absurd Person Singular (The Curve, Leicester), Acting Captain Terri Dennis in Privates on Parade (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Rep), Aldolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone (Novello Theatre), Philo, Ventidius and Scarus in Antony and Cleopatra, Casca in Julius Caeser and Stephano in The Tempest (Royal Shakespeare Company at the Novello Theatre and International Tour), Nick and Katz in The Postman Always Rings Twice (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Playhouse Theatre), The Play Wot I Wrote (National Tour), Light (Almeida Theatre and National Tour), Stephen Kamlish in The Colour of Justice – The Stephen Lawrence Enquiry (Tricycle Theatre) and Chico in Animal Crackers (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, National Tour, Barbican Theatre and Lyric Theatre).
Kate Milner-Evans plays Mrs Zero. Theatre includes Carlotta in Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre), Mrs O’Brien in Showboat (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, and New London Theatre), Gemma in Jackie the Musical (Gardyne Theatre, Dundee), Mirele in Soviet Zion (Lost Theatre and Jewish Museum, London) Rita Marbury in Ace of Clubs (Union Theatre), Christine in Traviata in 7 Mins (Theater St. Gallen, Switzerland) and Frau Schmidt in The Sound of Music (National Tour). Opera includes Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute (Eutiner Festspiele, Germany) Violetta in La Traviata, Cio Cio San in Madame Butterfly, Musetta and Mimi in La Bohème, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Vitellia in Titus and Frau Fluth in The Merry Wives of Windsor (Theater Osnabrück, Germany).
Joanna Kirkland plays Daisy Dorothea Devore. Theatre includes Shutters (Park Theatre), Pattie in Season’s Greetings and Hortense in The Baker’s Wife (Union Theatre), A Chorus of Disapproval (Harold Pinter Theatre), Iola Stover in Parade (Donmar Warehouse), Dottie in Show Boat (Royal Albert Hall), and the original cast of The Woman in White (Palace Theatre). Television includes Elaine Gere in Suspicion, Georgina Jones in Martin Chuzzlewit, Nicola Fallon in Casualty and Holby City and Alice Beverley in Children of the New Forest.
Edd Campbell Bird plays Shrdlu. Theatre includes Prouvaire and Marius in Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre), Ensemble in Sweeney Todd (English National Opera), Ensemble in Sweeney Todd and Harry in The Hired Man (National Youth Music Theatre). Concerts include Friday Night is Music Night and The Olivier Awards.
James Dinsmore plays Mr One and as cast. Theatre includes Tony Blair in Corbyn the Musical (Waterloo East Theatre), Mr Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors (Webster Theatre, Glasgow), Captain Hook/Mr Darling in Peter Pan (Capitol Theatre), Priam Farll in Darling of the Day (Union Theatre) and Molokov in Chess (Aberystwyth Arts Centre).
Helen Walsh plays Mrs One and as cast. Theatre includes Madame Thénardier in Les Misérables (International Tour), Ensemble and cover Madame Thénardier in Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre), Baroness in Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory), Sister Margaretta and cover Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), Mrs Fox in Fantastic Mr Fox (Singapore Repertory Theatre), Ensemble in Sister Act, Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz and Frau Schmidt in The Sound of Music (London Palladium), Shawntel and Eve in Jerry Springer the Opera (National Tour) and Cats, Mamma Mia! and Soloist and Ensemble in Masterpiece: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (International Tour).
George Rae plays Mr Two and as cast. Productions at the Finborough Theatre include The Wallace. Theatre includes Otto Kringelein in Grand Hotel (Southwark Playhouse) for which he was nominated for an OffWestEnd Award for Best Male Performance and a Broadway World UK Award for Best Featured Actor in a New Production of a Musical, Timon and Zazu in The Lion King (National Tour), Benjamin in Joseph (Adelphi Theatre and National Tour), Schlomo in Fame, Rick in A Slice of Saturday Night and Ko-Ko in The Mikado (International Tour).
Sue Appleby plays Mrs Two and as cast. Theatre includes 1927’s The Animals and Children Took to the Streets (National Theatre and International Tour), South Pacific (National Tour), Cinderella in Into the Woods (Landor Theatre), Pianist and Musical Directorin Three Men in a Boat (National Tour), Mme Simone and MS in John Godber’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Hull Truck), Belle Moffat in Little Women (Duchess Theatre) and Bobbie Ellis in Losing Louis (Trafalgar Studios). She has worked with renowned conductor John Wilson and his Orchestra in The Good Companions and performed in several Proms for the BBC and at Abbey Road Studios. In 2009, she founded Christmas for Kids, a charity taking shows of storytelling, song and puppetry to children’s hospices at Christmas.
Director Josh Seymour won an Off West End Theatre Award for Best Director for his production of One Arm (Southwark Playhouse). He is currently Associate Director on Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre). Other direction includes The Laramie Project (Curve Theatre), Loserville (Stafford Gatehouse), Les Miserables (Arts at Stowe), Sarah & Sarah (Waterloo East Theatre) and Four Dogs and a Bone (London Festival Fringe). As Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse, Seymour worked on City of Angels, Privacy (both directed by Josie Rourke), Fathers and Sons (directed by Lyndsey Turner), My Night With Reg (directed by Rob Hastie, and was Associate Director for the West End transfer) and Versailles (directed by Peter Gill). Other Assistant Direction includes Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory), Our House (UK tour), Good Grief (Theatre Royal Bath and UK tour) and Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre). He was a finalist for the 2012 JMK Award.
Producer Alex Turner produced One Arm at Southwark Playhouse in 2015. As a founding Artist and Producer of award-winning interactive theatre company non zero one, Alex has co-devised and produced productions at the Barbican, National Theatre, Bush Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Science Museum and the Edinburgh Fringe. Alex joined Playful Productions in 2014 as Production Assistant to work across productions including Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, Blithe Spirit, Wicked, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Shrek The Musical UK tour, Dirty Dancing, American Buffalo, The Audience, Kinky Boots and currently works on No Man’s Land and as Development Assistant. He has previously worked for the Barbican Centre, Theatre Delicatessen, Royal Shakespeare Company, Frantic Assembly and Kate Morley PR. For non zero one, Alex was also a visiting lecturer on the Undergraduate Drama and Theatre degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Producer Effie Stevenson is Company Director of SDWC Productions Ltd, a theatre production company based in London’s West End. She is currently producing four shows at the London Fringe during 2016 and is planning the Company’s 2017 season of London shows. She is a recipient of a Stage One bursary for new producers, a member of ITC Arts, the Institute of Fundraising and the Institute of PR. Recent productions include Thoroughly Modern Millie (Landor Theatre), I’m Getting My Act Together And Taking It On The Road (Jermyn Street Theatre) and The Burnt Part Boys (Park Theatre).