Ira Brind School of Theater Arts Presents Philly Premiere of 'The Adding Machine'

Barrymore-nominated alumna directs production of show hailed as 'best musical of 2008'

September 21, 2010

The Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at the University of the Arts presents the Philadelphia premiere of "The Adding Machine," a musical by Jason Loewith and Joshua Schmidt based on Elmer Rice's groundbreaking 1923 play, September 23 - 26 at the Caplan Studio Theater.

After 25 years of faithful service as a clerk, Mr. Zero learns he is being replaced by an adding machine. He appears at first to be the victim of modernization, but the story is far more than a critique of industrialization and technology; it is a provocative investigation of the nature of freedom and the yearnings of the human heart. A landmark of Expressionist theater, this inventive musical adaptation of Rice's work was hailed as "the best new musical of 2008."

Megan Nicole O'Brien, a 2004 graduate of the Brind School who is currently the Resident Director for Philadelphia's 11th Hour Theatre Company, will direct the production. The two-time Barrymore nominee is also directing musicals at Act II Playhouse and Drexel University this fall.

Corey Regensburg, a senior in the Brind School's Musical Theater program, plays the role of Mr. Zero, while Kat Borelli, also a Musical Theater senior, plays his wife, Mrs. Zero. Musical Theater junior Danielle Lovier plays Daisy, a co-worker with a crush on Mr. Zero, and MT junior Brendan Dalton plays the Boss, who becomes the target of Zero's homicidal rage once he learns he's been fired. Other cast members include Greg Laucella, Sarah Spangenberg, Leigha Kato, Ian Sparks, Blake Aburn and Dan Kiernan, all students in the Musical Theater program.

The musical director for the production is guest artist Michael Borton, a composer and professional teaching artist who has worked extensively at the Walnut Street Theater. Mike penned the score for the Berenstain Bears musical "Family Matters" (currently on a national tour) and is the choral director for Waldron Mercy Academy in Merion Station, Pa.

Loewith and Schmidt's musical adaptation of "The Adding Machine" had its premiere at the Next Theater in Chicago in 2007 and won the Jefferson Award for Best Musical that season. The show opened off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theater in 2008, where it was nominated for six Lucille Lortel Awards that season and won the Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. New York Times critic Charles Isherwood praised it as an "improbably brilliant little musical" and observed that "it radiates the unmistakable heat, the entrancing light, of esthetic inspiration."

"The Adding Machine" will be performed September 23 - 25 at 8 p.m. and September 26 at 2 p.m. in the Caplan Studio Theater, located at 211 South Broad Street (Broad and Walnut Streets) on the Avenue of the Arts. General admission tickets are $5; tickets are free to members of the UArts community. Tickets can be purchased online at uarts.ticketleap.com

Above: Students in the Brind School's Musical Theater program star in "The Adding Machine"

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