Tony Award-nominated actors Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad will return to Broadway this fall. The original “Book of Mormon” costars will headline “Gutenberg! The Musical,” a two-hander slated to play a 20-week limited engagement at the James Earl Jones Theatre. Tony winner Alex Timbers will direct the production, scheduled to begin previews on Sept. 15 and officially open on Oct. 12. The production will run through Jan. 28, 2024.
“Gutenberg! The Musical” is written by Scott Brown and Anthony King — the Tony-nominated book writers behind “Beetlejuice” (also directed by Timbers). The story follows Bud (Gad) and Doug (Rannells), a pair of aspiring playwrights, who perform a backer’s audition for their new project: a musical about printing press inventor Johannes Gutenberg. Bud and Doug sing all the songs and play all the parts with the hope that one of the producers in attendance will give them a Broadway contract.
Rannells and Gad first appeared on the Main Stem together when they originated the roles of Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, respectively, in “The Book of Mormon.” Their performances earned them each a Tony nomination. Since then, Rannells has appeared on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Hamilton,” “Falsettos” (earning another Tony nomination) and Mart Crowley’s drama “The Boys in the Band.”
“Gutenberg!” will mark Gad’s first Broadway appearance since “The Book of Mormon.” In that time, he has made a global name for himself as the voice of Olaf in the Disney-animated “Frozen” franchise. Among Gad’s many other credits, he voiced characters for the animated musical series “Central Park” on AppleTV+. He is currently starring in the series “Wolf Like Me.”
Gad said in a statement, “It’s been 12 years since I’ve been on a Broadway stage. And after 12 years, the only person who would agree to take the stage with me again was my costar from 12 years ago. I am grateful that Andrew Rannells said yes, because I really didn’t have the energy to do a one-man show.”
Rannells added, “After years of relentless stalking and countless restraining orders, Josh Gad has finally gotten me to agree to share the stage with him again. I decided it was best to just give in and, honestly, it feels right to be reunited with my onstage missionary companion. Also, it was clear he would not leave me alone until I said yes.”
The creative team of “Gutenberg!” will feature Tony Award-winning scenic designer Scott Pask, Tony-nominated costume designer Emily Rebholz, Tony-nominated lighting designer Jeff Croiter and sound designers Cody Spencer & M.L. Dogg. Casting is by C12 Casting. Rachel Sterner will serve as production stage manager.
“Gutenberg!” was developed at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) Theatre and was a part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2005 and 2006. It also played the Jermyn Street Theatre in London in January 2006. The musical was last seen in New York in a 2007 staging at the Actors’ Playhouse, starring Christopher Fitzgerald as Bud and Jeremy Shamos as Doug. Notably, “Gutenberg!” marked the first Off-Broadway transfer of a work from UCB.
“We always said there’s no way we’d do our show about two dreamers hoping to go to Broadway on Broadway unless Josh Gad, Andrew Rannells and Alex Timbers did it with us,” Brown and King said in a joint statement. “And dammit, they called our bluff. And we couldn’t be more thrilled. That our warped little valentine to musical theater will have the chance to reach a Broadway audience – it means the world to us.”
“Gutenberg!” is being produced on Broadway by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Patrick Catullo, Bad Robot Live, Seth A. Goldstein, Isaac Robert Hurwitz, Kristin Caskey and Mike Isaacson.