Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

Gutenberg! The Musical!

Also see John's review of Sleuth

Wayne LeGette and Francisco (Pancho) Padura
The Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre presents the comedy Gutenberg! The Musical!.  The musical is a two-man spoof about aspiring playwrights and best friends, Bud and Doug, who are filled with hopes of writing a musical worthy of Broadway.  They eagerly pitch their idea of a big, splashy musical about the life of the man who invented the printing press, Johann Gutenberg, to an audience peppered with prospective Broadway producers.  They enact the entire show, by playing all the roles, singing all the songs, and dancing all the dances while changing hats labeled with the different characters' names. 

The characters of Bud and Doug are written as goofy and lovable nerds. They tell bad jokes and perform silly choreography, but what they lack in polish and experience they compensate for with heart.  True to their characters, Wayne LeGette as Doug and Francisco (Pancho) Padura as Bud sing, dance and act this show with all of their heart and talent. They change accents and mannerisms as rapidly as they change hats. They do everything short of stand on their heads naked to try to make Gutenberg! The Musical! enjoyable, but no amount of talent or hard work can make this show palatable. With a hokey premise, poorly written dialogue, tacky lyrics and a hodge-podge of forgettable melodies, it would be kind to say that Gutenberg! The Musical!  possesses the artistic value of a drunken, college fraternity talent show.  The truth is, this show is so badly written, if Johann Gutenberg had know that his press would someday be used to print the script to this musical, it is likely that the first thing he would have printed is a letter of apology.

With book, music and lyrics by Scott Brown and Anthony King, the original production of Gutenberg! The Musical! opened at the Actors' Playhouse in New York.  It was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award in 2007, and won three New York Musical Theatre Festival awards.

This production of Gutenberg! - The Musical! will be appearing through January 4, 2009 at the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre. Actors' Playhouse is a Florida Presenting Cultural Organization and a nonprofit professional regional theatre hiring local and non-local Equity and non-Equity actors. In addition to its Mainstage season, Actors' Playhouse produces a year-round five-show season of Musical Theatre for Young Audiences, a National Children's Theatre Festival, and a Theatre Conservatory and Summer Camp Program. Actors' Playhouse is located at 280 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, FL. Information and tickets may be obtained by contacting the theater at their box office at (305) 444-9293, or online at

Doug Simon: Wayne LeGette*
Bud Davenport: Francisco (Pancho) Padura*
Larry/Piano: David Nagy

Direction/Staging: David Arisco
Musical Director: David Nagy
Scenic Design: Gene Seyffer
Lighting Design: Patrick Tennent
Sound Design: Steve Shapiro
Costume Design: Ellis Tillman
Production Stage Manager: Carl Waisanen

*Denotes a member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage managers in the United States.

Photo: Alberto Romeu

See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere

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