If you’re looking for a night of spectacle and a world wide web of LOLs that even the least tech-savvy of us can appreciate, then you’re in for a good time at Philadelphia Theatre Company’s production of NERDS. This motherboard musical follows technical titans Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as they go from garage-based inventors getting hit on by headgear-wearing, chess-playing chicks to ruling the world with their innovations and embracing their inner nerds.
The cast, led by Stanley Bahorek and Matt Bradley (who play Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, respectively), work hard to fill the stereotypes that run rampant in dialogue suffering from some serious lag time. Bahorek and Bradley bring great characterization and a unique sense of humor to both their roles. The real heart of the show, however, lies in its supporting cast, most notably Benny Elledge (who plays Steven “Woz” Wozniak), Briana Carlson-Goodman (Sally, Oracle), and Rob Morrison (Paul Allen).
The performers do their best with a rather predictable musical. All the basic elements of a modern musical are present, including a tango number, a white boy rap, and an inspirational, “you better work, girl,” diva showstopper.
In a show about technology, it is safe to say that the design team reigns supreme. The set, designed by Lee Savage, is a complex web of screens (over 20 fill the stage, one even serves as a doorway), images, sounds, and lights. The interaction of cyber and reality are layered so well into the show that the digital world acts as an additional actor: providing the audience with much of the production’s humor (I’m looking at you Spinning Beach Ball of Doom/Mac Color Wheel of Death). Jason Lyons (Lighting Designer), Nevin Steinberg (Sound Design), and Daniel Brodie (Projection Designer) all must be applauded for bringing pizazz and sparkle to a script that feels slightly outdated by something even newer and flashier.
Such is the world of technology. (And the arts!)
If you’re looking for a light, fun, easy night out with laughs that everyone can enjoy – NERDS is for you. I suggest you check it out and see for yourself!
NERDS is running now until December 29, 2013 at the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Suzanne Roberts Theatre at Broad and Lombard. Tickets are available at the Box Office (Broad and Lombard Streets) from 10:30 – 5:30 (Monday – Friday) and 12:00 – curtain during production. Visit www.philadelphiatheatrecompany.org or call 215-985-0420.
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