Don’t Call It a System Error: Why Nerds Is Still Worth the Hype

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by Brooke Robinson

The Broadway community came together last week to support the cast and crew of Nerds, who received the disappointing news that their show would be postponed following the announcement that the new musical had lost a major investor. The show, which had been previously been slated to begin previews on April 1, was to be Casey Hushion’s directorial debut.

The love shown to everyone involved in the show in the wake of this notice was palpable, but so was the grief felt by the company, fans, and other Broadway performers. The road to Broadway is long and arduous, and to have a show come so close only to have the rug ripped out from under it is heartbreaking.

However, there is still real, tangible hope for Nerds.

Let’s keep in mind that producer Carl Levin’s statement did not mention the word “cancelled.” Levin said, “We are grateful to the one-of-a-kind creative team and cast of this incredibly funny and heartwarming musical that audiences have so enthusiastically adored thus far and we look forward to Nerds taking the country by storm.”

Those aren’t the words of a producer who is giving up on his show.

Nerds has a lot going for it. First and foremost, the cast was filled with accomplished performers who really love this musical. Rory O’Malley, a Tony nominee for his performance as Elder McKinley in The Book of Mormon, was cast as Bill Gates. Starring alongside him as Steve Jobs was Bryan Fenkart from the original Broadway cast and the touring production of Memphis.

Two of Broadway’s most beloved actresses, Patti Murin and Lindsay Mendez, were set to star as female leads Sally and Myrtle. Also featured in the cast are Benny Elledge, Rob Morrison, and Kevin Pariseau, among others.

The cast commiserated together with wine and pizza, and even ran the full show for the first time the day after the news broke for an audience of family and friends. They chose to view the situation in an optimistic light, celebrating the relationships they had formed as a cast and the work they had accomplished together.

Fans of the show showed their support through remarks on Instagram and Twitter. A recurring theme ran through these comments: they had been looking forward to seeing the show. They admired the cast’s strength and resilience. Show business sucks sometimes, but the cast members are incredibly talented and deserve to be recognized for the work they did on this show.

Besides the excellence of its company, Nerds also planned on introducing new technology onto Broadway that would transform each performance into a unique and immersive night (or afternoon) at the theatre. Production notes mentioned the use of “on-stage holograms; project mapping, and an enhanced theatergoing experience through app integrations that allow users to interact with the set and other audience members, choose the show’s ending, and more special features soon to be announced.”

It would be a shame for these innovations to go to waste, but they won’t have to.  The good news that Nerds fans can cling onto for now is that despite having no definite future plans for Broadway as of this moment, a national tour of the musical has been planned. No concrete information has been released yet, but theatres across the country will surely soon be filled with theatergoers who believe in this show.

Nerds is ultimately a musical about underdogs. Two nerdy guys who were bullied in school grew up to be two of the greatest tech giants the world has ever known. Like its super smart main characters, this show is also an underdog. This may not be the right time for Nerds on Broadway, but that doesn’t mean it will never make its way there. In the meantime, look out for Bill and Steve in a  regional theatre near you.

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About Brooke R.

"Don't wait for people to tell you who you are. Show them." - Laura Benanti

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