Hold On to Your Hats

The Candy Project Returns to Benson.

BY WILLIAM GRENNAN, The Reader 04.02.1015

Gutenberg framesThe Candy Project has returned after a long hiatus to present its latest offbeat show, Gutenberg! The Musical! at The Pizza Shoppe Collective in Benson. The show revolves around two friends, Bud and Doug, who have a passion for musical theatre. As such, they’ve written an important new show about Johann Gutenberg and the invention of the printing press; a show they hope to one day take to Broadway. To make their dreams come true, Bud and Doug will perform a reading for several famous Broadway producers (that’s us, the audience).

“They’ve written a show that they feel really passionate about and they are really excited about it,” said Dan Chevalier, the actor who plays Bud in the show. “They may not be Shakespeares necessarily. Also, the history of what we know about Johann Gutenberg is scant so they fill in the blanks with their own creative imagination. The resulting show is two guys who feel very passionate about a show that is a little bit ridiculous.”

Chevalier and his costar Steve Krambeck play the two musical hopefuls as they attempt to portray every single character in Gutenberg! The Musical! To accomplish this, a table is laid out covered with different colored hats bearing the names of each character in the show. Bud and Doug whirl around each other changing hats, changing voices, changing pitches, all the while selling us on just how good the show is. Chevalier said the sheer amount of character changes, along with the surprisingly technical hat choreography, were a truly unique challenge.

“One thing that sets this show apart from anything else that I’ve done is that there are two actors in it,” he said, “But there are some songs that have a quartet written into it. So we have to sing all the characters…we have a hat in each hand, switching over from one hate to the other, singing both parts as we go. The fast-paced switching is something, as an actor, that is unlike any other show I’ve experienced before.”

And the music is just as varied as the characters.

“The music also goes in many different directions. The characters are wildly different and so are the songs.  There’s a little bit of Elvis, a little bit of soft folk music. We have our big ‘11 o’clock numbers’ where we belt for the heavens. Music-wise, there’s something for everyone. Each character has their own flavor of music.”

The Pizza Shoppe in Benson might be the last place anyone would expect to find a hit musical in Omaha. But over the last 7 years, The Candy Project has made its mark producing little-known, small-scale, quirky musicals that might not fit in any other theatre around town. It’s a mission, Chevalier says, makes The Candy Project one of the most rewarding organizations to be a part of.

“The Candy Project tries to find those show that are smaller, shows that you wouldn’t necessarily see in any other theatre in Omaha. We can’t compete with the bigger theatre that have these huge, amazing sets, beautiful spaces, and a 10 person orchestra. Small but mighty, that’s a good way to describe the types of shows The Candy Project selects.”

The Candy Project’s latest production of Gutenberg! The Musical! will run from April 10th-19th at The Pizza Shoppe Collective in Benson. For more information on the show, visit www.thecandyproject.wordpress.com, email info@thecandyproject.com, or call 402-957-2827.

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

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