UPDATE, 3 P.M.: Veteran Broadway producer Elizabeth Williams, a co-producer of nerds, told Deadline: “It’s a great show — smart, funny and irreverent — and I hope it will go on to a long future at a later date. I got the call this morning that we were postponing. I’m deeply saddened for the nerds team and that the show that I’ve termed my “jolt of joy” won’t be on Broadway this Spring.” Williams said that, not being a general partner on the show, she didn’t yet know who had dropped out of the financing.
EARLIER: Last in, first out: nerds, a long-aborning musical about the rivalry between Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs announced Tuesday that a planned late-April opening won’t happen after all. The show was a late entry in the spring lineup and would have just made the cut-off for this season’s Tony Awards eligibility.
Citing a sudden capital shortfall, producers Carl Levin, Vicki Halmos, Elizabeth Williams, Greenleaf Productions and Clear Channel Spectacular made the decision even as rehearsals for the show were underway. The cast and company were called together onstage at the Longacre Theatre and informed earlier this afternoon, shortly before the move was made public. It’s the second time the show was in spitting distance of a Broadway opening, only to have the plans dashed.
“It is with great disappointment that we will be postponing the Broadway opening of nerds due to the loss of a major investor,” 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.”
nerds was scheduled to begin previews April 1 and open April 21 at the Shubert organization-owned theater. Featuring book & lyrics by multiple Emmy Award nominees Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner (Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken, Bomb-itty of Errors) and music by Hal Goldberg (The Children), nerds was directed by Casey Hushion (associate resident director on Aladdin), choreographed by Emmy winner and Tony nominee Joshua Bergasse (On The Town, NBC’s Smash), with additional choreography by Denis Jones (Honeymoon In Vegas).
Initially presented at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and later by the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the show won Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Original Music and Outstanding New Play in 2007. A move to Broadway was planned then, with $5 million raised in backing. But the financial crisis gave investors cold feet, and the money disappeared along with the move.
The Philadelphia Inquirer called nerds “generation defining,” “visually hot and musically adept filled with one knockout, high-velocity number after another” and “with surgical precision [like] How To Succeed meets Urinetown, nerds nails such themes as the cost of dreams and the emptiness of revenge. And, is full of class, insight and wit.”