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'Nerds' rule at Philadelphia Theatre Company

Stanley Bahorek is Bill Gates and Rob Morrison is Paul Allen in “Nerds.” Credit: North Carolina Theatre and Curtis Brown Photography Stanley Bahorek is Bill Gates and Rob Morrison is Paul Allen in “Nerds.”
Credit: North Carolina Theatre and Curtis Brown Photography

The geeks have inherited the earth. And now there’s a musical about them.

Philadelphia Theatre Company’s “Nerds” runs Nov. 29-Dec. 29 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on Broad Street.

The focus is on the two nerds, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who changed the world.

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“There is a rivalry between these two outcasts and there’s a different color to the two of them,” says “Nerds” director Casey Hushion. “Gates is the nerdiest of the nerds, and Jobs the coolest of the nerds. Watching those two guys transform from their earliest years into the celebrity icons they’ve become later in life and tracking the rivalry over the course of those years is such great territory for a musical.”

Gates is, of course, the co-founder of Microsoft and a pioneer of the personal computer. Jobs, who died in 2011, is the co-founder of Apple and driver of the company’s products, including the iPhone.

“The core of the show is about that nerd or that eccentric part in all of us we kind of let shine and what it does and how it can transform lives,” Hushion says. “It really celebrates the eccentricity and individuality of people. That’s why I think nerd-dom has become kind of popular. Socially we’re embracing that, and being different is being cool.”

“Nerds” was popular during its first run in Philly, in 2007. Back then, it won Barrymore Awards for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Original Music. Now, it’s been revamped from a MySpace time to a Facebook world. The book and lyrics are by Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner and the music is by Hal Goldberg.

“It’s the same but it’s more polished, less sketchy, with a more fully realized book,” says Philadelphia Theatre Company’s producing executive director Sara Garonzik.

It’s also geek-approved, says professed theater nerd Hushion, artistic director of the North Carolina Theatre. This version of “Nerds” was previously staged at the North Carolina Theatre.

“I’m a 500-percent theater nerd from a very early age and I have many, many pictures to prove it,” quips Hushion, whose credits on Broadway include “Elf — The Musical” and “In the Heights.” “As a young kid who didn’t fit in, the theater was the place I found where I could let all the eccentricities out.”

‘Nerds’
Nov. 29-Dec. 29 (previews until Dec. 4)
Philadelphia Theatre Company
at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre
480 S. Broad St.
$51 to $79, 215-985-0420
www.philadelphiatheatrecompany.org

 
 
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