Q. How did The Candy Project get its start?
CH. The Candy Project was formed by a group of actor-friends who loved musical theatre but felt that area stages were too often retelling the same stories over and over again. We wanted to see more contemporary musical theatre and have the chance to perform in some of our favorite new titles but felt that metro stages were “playing it safe” by only offering tried-and-true shows. We hoped that by offering new works we could open musical theatre to a younger audience. We’re happy to say that not only did Omaha audiences love experiencing contemporary musicals, area stages have also become more bold about offering similar shows!
Q. What has it been like reviving this show?
CH. Dan Chevalier and Steve Krambeck did such a thorough, hilarious job of crafting these characters six years ago. While that is a long stretch of time, the basics of their characters were easily resuscitated. We joked that they were on “week 3” of music rehearsals by day 1 which was a huge benefit for a vocally challenging piece. With as much time as had passed though, this isn’t the exact same show you might have caught the first time around. With the lapse in time, a change of venue and the ideas of a new director, Gutenberg! has kept its heart while morphing into something uniquely its own for this production.
SK. Surreal and intimidating! We had great success six years ago, so people have some expectations that they didn’t before. But working with the talented Dan Chevalier is so great and just a ton of fun! I am thrilled to be able to do so again!
DC. It’s a very strange experience! I’ve remounted shows before–in fact, I was in a production of A Christmas Carol seven years in a row–but I’ve never had a six-year break in between. Much of the show I only vaguely remembered from 2015 and some of it I had completely forgotten. It’s been fun going back and rediscovering things with Steve.
Q. You play a lot of different characters in the show, which one is your favorite?
SK. The script does a great job of giving each character a chance to shine, but I think mine’s gotta be Historical Heavy Hitter Mr. Johann Gutenberg.
DC. Monk is my favorite. I rarely get cast as the bad guy, so it’s fun playing the villain from time to time, especially a villain who is evil in the most ridiculous ways.
Q. What is your favorite line in the show?
SK. There are so many one liners and non-sequiturs, that any of them can really get you on any particular day. As a default, my favorite line is the only one where I curse like a sailor.
DC. “I stole a bunch of cookies.”
Q. If you could write a musical about anyone, who would it be and why?
DC. Jim Henson, because he produced so many creative, hilarious and innovative characters and stories. I’m sure his life story would be a compelling one to write a musical about. Also, I’ve always loved anything Muppet related.
SK. I’m a big fan of Ancient Mythology, so I think I would really enjoy writing a musical based on some of those.
CH. Satan the Cat. He makes a cameo in Gutenberg! The Musical! but I think he has more of a story to tell. How did he get to this point? What drove him to become the fluffy evil henchman we know and love today? Really, there is so much to unpack here, and I’d love to hear him meow it out.
Q. How do you prepare for a performance of Gutenberg!?
SK. 6 years ago, I made Dan run the first act lines with me. Then during intermission, I made him run act two. This time will probably be the same, but maybe I’ll change it up and have a taco bar backstage.
DC. Lots of vocal warmups–for as silly as this show is, it’s also incredibly vocally challenging. I have to be able to growl some low notes as Monk and then hit super high falsetto notes as Daughter. Also, last time around, six years ago, Steve and I would do a speed run-through of Act 1 before the show and a speed run-through of Act 2 during intermission. Maybe we’ll keep that tradition alive this time around, too.
Q. Why should people come see Gutenberg!?
CH. Bud and Doug are ridiculous, completely off-base and terrible writers. But they do everything with such unbridled, naive gusto that you can’t help but root for their dumb, bad idea to be a success. The actors are a comedic tour-de-force that can’t be missed. I’ve seen these scenes dozens of times and I still laugh out loud at their perfect nuances and new bits that get layered in all the time. After the year we’ve all had, we deserve this good, hard laugh.
DC. Gutenberg! The Musical! is a show so filled to the brim with joy that it’s got two exclamation points in the title! If you want to smile and laugh and have songs stuck in your head for weeks, come see this show.
SK. Come out to have a good time and laugh and smile. It feels good! Also, Dan’s talent is worth the price of admission. He’s incredible!!