“American Idol” Season 3 first runner-up Diana DeGarmo will star as Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs’ girlfriend Sally in the North Carolina Theatre‘s pre-Broadway engagement of Nerds, a frisky new PG-13-rated musical comedy about the birth of Microsoft Corporation and Apple. Broadway veterans Stanley Bahorek and Darren Ritchie will co-star as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in the NCT production, which runs Feb. 18-20 and 22-27 and Jan. 29-Feb. 3 in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh, NC.
Directed by Marc Bruni and choreographed by Denis Jones, this sassy show will feature music by Hal Goldberg and book and lyrics by Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner, Emmy Award-nominees for Cartoon Network’s “Robot Chicken.” Earlier versions of Nerds played in 2005 at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and as part of the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 2007 season. The musical — then called Nerds://A Musical Software Satire — earned the 2007 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Original Music and the Barrymore Award’s 2007 Independence Foundation Award for Outstanding New Play.
According to the North Carolina Theatre:
“[We are] thrilled to announce that Diana DeGarmo will star in [the] upcoming production of Nerds, A New Musical Comedy ….
“Diana DeGarmo (Hairspray, Hair) is perhaps best known as the  runner-up in ‘American Idol’ Season 3. She has been cast as ‘Sally,’ love interest to Steve Jobs. Darren Ritchie (Wonderland, Thoroughly Modern Millie) has been cast as the iconic Jobs. Stanley Bahorek (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) plays Bill Gates with Leslie Kritzer (Elf, Legally Blonde) as ‘Myrtle,’ Gates’ love interest.
“[Nerds] is a cheeky original musical that celebrates the birth of computer technology and the two pop-culture icons that made it possible, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The show follows the lives of the founding fathers of modern computing as they rise from nerds to billionaires, making a mark on history, and defining the golden age of technology as we know it.
“Of Nerds, author Erik Weiner said: ‘Take a look inside your pants. In the pocket. More than likely, you’ll find a computer. Thirty years ago that wouldn’t have been possible, unless people wore pants the size of circus tents. The point is: computers and the internet have become a part of our daily lives. We have many people to thank for this golden age of technology, but perhaps the two biggest innovators are Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.’
“North Carolina Theatre is producing this pre-Broadway engagement, a first for the Raleigh arts community. Local audiences will have the unique opportunity to be a part of the creation of a show aiming for a future Broadway run.
“The [show’s] creative team includes book and lyrics by Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner …. Music is composed by Hal Goldberg.
“Additional creative team members include director Marc Bruni (Old Jews Telling Jokes, associate director — Anything Goes), choreographer Denis Jones (associate choreographer — Legally Blonde), and Casey Hushion (NCT artistic director). Carolee Baxter and Lisa Grele Barrie are producing for North Carolina Theatre by special arrangement from Vicki Halmos and Carl Levin.”
SECOND OPINION: Jan. 12th Raleigh, NC NBC-17 interview with Diana DeGarmo, conducted by Sharon Delaney for “My Carolina Today”: http://www2.nbc17.com/entertainment/2013/jan/12/diana-degarmo-46094-vi-55203/; Jan. 8th Raleigh-Durham, NC Triangle Tech Talk by Mark Easley, Sr.: http://triangletechtalk.com/1/2013/01/a-unique-startup-in-raleigh-nerds-the-musical/; Nov. 17th New York, NY BroadwayWorld.com preview by the BWW News Desk: http://broadwayworld.com/article/Diana-DeGarmo-Darren-Ritchie-Leslie-Kritzer-and-More-to-Lead-Pre-Broadway-Engagement-of-NERDS-Full-Cast-Announced-20121115; and June 19th New York, NY Playbill.com preview by Adam Hetrick: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/167237-Nerds-Reading-Booting-Up-for-Broadway-Will-Include-Michael-Arden-Kate-Shindle-Charlie-Pollock-and-More and Nov. 15th preview by Adam Hetrick: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/172265-North-Carolina-Staging-of-Broadway-Aimed-Nerds-to-Feature-Darren-Ritchie-Stanley-Bahorek-Leslie-Kritzer-Diana-DeGarmo.
The North Carolina Theatre presents NERDS at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 and 20, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22-25, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26 and 27, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29-Feb. 1, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 and 3 in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
TICKETS: $64.20-$80.10 (including fees), except $25 (cash only) Student Rush Tickets.
NCT Box Office: 919-831-6941, ext. 6944.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115202/1761293.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-831-6941, ext. 5204, or http://nctheatre.com/theatre/group_sales.html.
VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJNKVPQ71o4&feature=player_embedded.
NOTE: Arts Access (http://www.artsaccessinc.org/) of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2nd, performance.
Nerds: http://www.nerdsmusical.com/ (official website).
Hal Goldberg: http://www.theofficialhalgoldbergwebsite.com/ (official website).
Jordan Allen-Dutton: http://www.jordanallendutton.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Allen-Dutton (Wikipedia).
Erik Weiner: http://www.erikweiner.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Weiner (Wikipedia).
Diana DeGarmo: http://www.dianadegarmo.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_DeGarmo (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Review, a FREE weekly e-mail arts newsletter. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Review.
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