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One of the world's most heralded and lauded writers spins the most hauntingly beautiful,
musical tale of the aging Wycherlys on the occasion of their 40th anniversary.
All told by 'Mr. Marrionette's Shadow Show' and his company of
robots, dancers and fugitives from the law.
Ray Bradbury's '2116'

CDs on sale now at

Something Musical This Way Comes!!!

There's visual pleasure aplenty!

The most endearing, artful entry into Bradbury's
theatrical collection.

-Broadway World

A feast for the eyes, ears, and heart
-American Chronicle

A spectacular, inspiring new musical! a sparkling new jewel in Ray Bradbury´s crown of stories and plays, as amazing and memorable as the Hope Diamond.
-California Chronicle

A wildly entertaining winner!...
This visually stunning and quirky story
mesmerizes the audience throughout

-The Tolucan Times
Welcome to the audienceWhat to do!Cherchez le FemmeCome Love

Ray Bradbury's '2116'
A New Musical

Book & Lyrics by

Music by

Conceived and Directed by





It's Official
Ray Bradbur'ys '2116'
is an official finalist for
"Best New Musical"
at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival

Musical Theatre Matters

Review: Ray Bradbury's 2116

This is a slick, well-rehearsed production with some strong dance and a couple of very good voices, too. A circus-like feel to the design and staging complimented by use of puppets and creative props all contribute to a magical feel, augmented by the almost musical-box score.

The back-story of how this musical came into being is also rather magical - this show has been waiting to be made since the 1950s when Ray Bradbury was asked to create a musical vehicle for Charles Laughton and his wife. Working with Steve Josephson, this production finally makes its World Premiere in Edinburgh 2010.

Josephson is a charismatic figure on stage and this show is at its most successful when he is leading the company.

The First Act is a simple parable, similar to the Babaoushka story, where an aged couple commission marionettes of themselves when they were young to give to their spouse as a Christmas present. Opportunities to really send up the comedy are missed to an extent and the lyrics are somewhat pithy: ‘what to do/what a stew/God bless/what a mess'.

The Second Act is telling the story of the ‘Renegades' who make up the company giving the show in the First Act. There was an opportunity here to ‘step up the ante' and it is disappointing that the music is so similar to that in the parable - a greater contrast with more variation in tempo and key would have lifted this show to somewhere far more exciting.

Nonetheless, a magical show.


The Public Reviews

Ed Fringe 2010: Ray Bradbury’s 2116 – C Plaza

Book & Lyrics: Ray Bradbury & Steve Josephson

Music: John Hoke

Director: Steve Josephson

Reviewer: John Roberts

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★½

I didn’t know what to expect from this production, I have to admit to not knowing who Ray Bradbury is, and being aware of any of the work from Gallimaufry Performing Arts, but after experiencing 2116 at C Plaza, I will be keeping a firm eye on their work and future projects.

2116 is a hard production to categorise, whilst being a musical it has the visual style and level of dedication of a Cirque du Soleil show, throw into the mix some Vaudevillian magic not far off The Tiger Lillies and you are coming pretty close to getting an idea of what 2116 is like.

The story centres around a touring Marionette company, and through the imaginative staging we are enlightened on the tale of Husband & Wife Mr & Mrs Wycherly – who after reaching their 40th Wedding Anniversary seek to spice things up for each other by creating a Robot for each other of all the things they feel they don’t have in their old age anymore. Needless to say their are some excellent twists in the tale and to mention them would only spoil your enjoyment of the evening.

Steve Josephson is a highly talented man not only playing the central narrator figure of Mr Marionette, but he has also co-written the book and lyrics with Ray Bradbury and directed this slick and visually stunning production – his portrayal of Mr Marionette is sublime with enough magic energy to come across a sinister yet hugely captivating. Christian Marriner is excellent throughout and gives a stunning performance in his solo number ‘Farewell, Lafyette’. Jonathon Lamer and Lisa Morrice as Mr/s Wycherly are captivating from start to finish. Whilst giving 100% in smooth crispslike performance and vocals is Jessie McLean as the lovable Bride-Bot.

There are a few issues to arise, some of the dancing was a little out of time and one chorus member was so out of pitch and tune during most of the harmonies that it started to become a little uncomfortable when she was singing, however This is a highly original and captivating musical, it is a visual and aural smorgasbord of delights and a show that you should not miss.

Edinburgh Spotlight
FRINGE REVIEW – Ray Bradbury’s 2116, C


5-30 Aug (not 17), 2100 (2215) @ C Plaza
By Julie Dawson

If you are wary of Fringe theatre thanks to one too many badly produced amateur production, this show should come as a pleasant surprise.

The sets, costumes, props and makeup are all first-rate, the music is of a professional level, the movement is as fluid as you will see in many dedicated dance pieces and the acting is also very good indeed.

The show opens with Mr and Mrs Wycherly preparing to celebrate their 40th anniversary and pondering their mortality. Into this rather fraught occasion steps Mr Marionette, who creates life-size robotic puppets to order.

Those familiar with Ray Bradbury will not be surprised by what ensues. But whilst the first act tells a simple cautionary tale, the second act tackles some of Bradbury’s recurring themes, some of which now seem a little outdated. But any shortcomings are forgivable thanks to some nice ensemble pieces from a beautifully athletic cast.

With a carnival-grotesque aesthetic that should appeal to fans of burlesque and cabaret, some surprisingly sexy choreography, high-quality staging and a hugely charismatic front-man in the form of Steve Josephson’s Mr Marionette, this is a wonderful find for fans of real theatrical flair.


Source: The List (Issue 664)
Date: 12 August 2010
Written by: Suzanne Black

A dreamy fairytale about the perils of creating perfection.
Creepy. Macabre. Childish. Puppets are dangerously captivating. In this new musical by speculative fiction guru Ray Bradbury Mr Marionette leads a dreamy gothic fairytale about the perils of creating perfection. The production, masterminded by Gallimaufry Performing Arts’ Steve Josephson, offers quality songs, great dancing and a Tim Burton-esque aesthetic. The second act, written by Josephson jars a little, but is ultimately more rewarding, revealing who is really pulling the strings.

The Scotsman
Review: Ray Bradbury's 2116 The Musical, C Plaza
Published Date:
11 August 2010
By Josie Balfour
Ray Bradbury's 2116 The Musical
C Plaza

It's hard to decide if the Fringe programme write-up for Ray Bradbury's 2116 is enticing or, frankly, disturbing.

The last sentence alone features robots, marionettes and fugitives from the law - in that order.

Fortuitously, this is the production's world premier so any preconceptions as to the show's content can be conveniently suspended. Yet, it is difficult to escape comparisons to that other futuristic morality tale including marionettes, robots and fugitives from the law - Blade Runner. And if you ever paused to wonder what the movie's toymaker JF Sebastian's creations got up to while he was out at work, then this is probably as close as you will get to an answer.

Beautifully choreographed and directed, Gallimaufry Performing Arts' production shifts setting and situation with effortless grace. As much physical theatre as a musical, one can't help but feel that it's what Tim Burton would do if they gave him The Nutcracker with which to play.

The use of a toy box for the performers to enter and exit the stage is particularly evocative. The make up and staging is cohesive and in keeping with the production's themes.

The first act, The Tale Of The Wycherlys, is at once beguiling, sinister and riveting. Jonathon Lamer and Lisa Morrice's duet, Forty Years, as Mr and Mrs Wycherly, is a poignant highlight.

Playing the puppet master Mr Marionette - an unsettling lovechild of Iggy Pop and The Joker - Steve Josephson is apt if vocally weak. The script, by Bradbury and Josephson, is tight, darkly comic and has moments of genuine lyrical beauty.

Exploring the fears we have for those we leave behind when we die and our vanity in creating a legacy, act one is a thought-provoking and inspiring piece that deserves further development.

Fringe Guru

 (Richard Stamo) 6 August 2010

Ray Bradbury's 2116 is a visually arresting, highly stylised rock musical - lead singer has an amazing voice. Hope to see more of that one.

The Arbelos News

Ah, the joy of living in Edinburgh. Every year all these wonderful and exotic shows, concerts and performers all come to my town. It’s like living in Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Something Wonderful This Way came last night, and is still here until the end of August.

2116 is musical theatre based on  a musical written by Ray Bradbury, originally for the actor Charles Laughton.  It’s full of colour and light and dark; its music is  lilting lyrical, haunting, beautiful,with an thrilling touch of unease that echoes the best of Ray Bradbury’s writing. A mix of dance, theatre, song and drama; 2116 is a fairy story for grown-ups who don’t want to grow up.

As someone who has written a song based on Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, I was delighted with this, and will be sad when this show leaves town.

To find out more visit the Ray Bradbury 2116 website, but better yet, come to Edinburgh over the next few days and make your way to the George Square Theatre.

Posted 22nd August, 2010 by Noel and filed in Writing

Ray Bradbury's '2116'

5 August 2010 - 30 August 2010
9:00 PM
(no performance Tuesday 17 August)


c plaza (George Square Theatre)
30 George Square
Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9LJ
United Kingdom

C plaza (George Square Theatre)- Edinburgh


£9.50 - £11.50
£8.50 - £10.50
£8.50 - £10.50

Buy Now
c plaza (George Square Theatre)
30 George Square
, Edinburgh EH8 9LJ
Order tickets Online


Ray Bradbury
RAY BRADBURY (Book & Lyrics) has published more than 60O short stories over a period of sixty years. He has written short stories, novels,  screen plays, plays and poetry. His best known books are The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 45I and Dandelion Wine. He wrote the screenplay for Moby Dick for John Huston in 1953 and other films based on his stories are forthcoming. In the past several years he has published new books including Farewell, Summer, Somewhere a Band is Playing, From the Dust Returned, One More For the Road, Let's AII KiII Constance, The Cat's Pajama's and a book of essays, Bradbury Speaks, as well as a huge volume of short stories, Bradbury Stories. His latest book is We'll Always Have Paris. In 2001, he received "The National Book Award" for his contribution to American Literature, and in 2OO4 he was awarded "The National Medal of Arts" by President Bush and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2007 he was made a COMMANDER OF THE ORDER OF ARTS AND LETTERS (France's highest literary honor) and was awarded a PULITZER PRIZE CITATION for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career.

Steve Josephson
STEVE JOSEPHSON (Book & Lyrics / Director / Choregrapher) Gallimaufry Performing Arts’ Executive Artistic Director is a graduate of the BFA conservatory program at the University of Southern California (USC). His association with USC extended for 20 years as he became Resident Director/ Choreographer and a Playwright in Residence with Festival Theatre USC/USA at the Edinburgh Fringe. For Festival Theatre he directed the European premieres of A. R. Gurney’s The Perfect Party, Christopher Durang’s Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Alan Menken’s Weird Romance, Harold Arlen and Truman Capote’s House of Flowers, William Finn’s March of the Falsettos, Kenneth Lonnergan’s This is Our Youth, as well as productions of his own works Tea & Crumpets and The Aspern Papers. In New York he wrote, directed and produced the Off-Broadway Musical Farce Some Summer Night which was a winner of the New American Musical Writers Festival. In San Francisco he wrote, directed and choreographed Tea & Crumpets which won the S.F. Bay Area Theatre Critics Award for “Best New Musical.” In Los Angeles he produced the wildly successful Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes and produced, directed and choreographed the West Coast premiere of Weird Romance. For Scottsdale’s Ensemble Theatre Company he directed productions of Loot, The Lonesome West and 2 -1/2 Jews which later performed in Baltimore’s Gordon Center for the Arts. For Fox Sports and Primeticket he wrote and directed the USC “Inaugural Sports Hall of Fame Induction” hosted by Frank Gifford which included his writing one of the last public addresses for former president Ronald Reagan. For Gallimaufry Performing Arts he has produced and/or directed a staggering 62 productions since 2004. Gallimaufry at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: In 2007 he produced and directed the world premiere of Harlem Renaissance: The Life of Florence Mills and the European premiere of Del Shores’ Sordid Lives and in 2008 A Night at the Movies by the Gallimaufry & Greene dance company.

John Hoke
JOHN HOKE (Composer / Musical Director) As a session guitarist and singer, John Hoke has performed on movie soundtracks, commercials and albums in Los Angeles, Nashville, New York and London.  Three songs he wrote with MCA recording artist Bob McGilpin have made the Billboard charts.  John produced and played on the John Stewart album Bullets In The Hour Glass, featuring Rosanne Cash, for Shanachie records and has toured extensively in North America and Europe with the John Stewart Band.  He also produced the new John Stewart album Darwin’s Army, featuring one of his own songs, on Appleseed records.  He arranged and produced four albums for award winning Disney/Muppets songwriter Dave Kinnoin as well as playing and singing on numerous Disney projects including singing the title track on ten Winnie The Pooh videos.  John has written and produced jingles and source music for Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, the Cartoon Network and the television shows Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy.  His own brand of rock, pop & roll can heard on his self-produced album Fortunato, on Homecoming Records

Jonathon Lamer

JONATHON LAMER ( Mr. Wycherly / Professor Faber) Originally from East Alton, Illinois, Jonathon has worked professionally from The Midwest (St. Louis) to New England (Northampton and Cape Cod, MA) to The South (Memphis and Little Rock) to The West Coast (Los Angeles and Orange County).  Theatrical Credits include Much Ado About Nothing, The Seagull, L.A. Views II, Frozen, Rabbit Hole, Evita, Sunday in the Park with George, Take Me Out, The Goat or Who is Sylvia?, Copenhagen, Angels in America, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Guys and Dolls, Man of La Mancha and many more.  Film credits include Lovely by Surprise and Eli Parker is Getting Married?, as well as the HBO features Truman and Soul of the Game.  Thanks to Steve for bringing me onboard and to Jessie for putting in a good word or two.

Lisa Morrice

LISA MORRICE (Mrs. Wycherly / Clarisse McClellan) Lisa is honored and thrilled to be a part of the world premiere of Ray Bradbury’s '2116' after creating the role of Mrs. Wycherly in both workshop productions of Merry Christmas 2116 and Widom 2116.  Morrice has sung and performed professionally in theatres, clubs, and concerts in Europe and the U.S.  In 2007, she performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Gallimaufry's European premiere production of Sordid Lives.  Theatrical credits include “Chanteuse/Kit Kat Girl” in Cabaret, “Jack’s Mother” in Into the Woods, “Queenie” in Honk,“Tessie Tura” in Gypsy, and “Carmen” in Sweet Charity. Other musical comedy credits include “Kate” in Kiss Me, Kate, “Mary” in Of Thee I Sing, “Irene” in Irene, “Jenny Diver” in The Beggar’s Opera, and soprano lead in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.  Theatre pieces include “LuLu” in Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, “Trina” in 40 Karats and female lead in Pinter’s The Lover.  Her tenure with the Laguna Beach Community Concert Band, (LBCCB), spans several years.  She recently co-produced and performed in Songs in the Sand, a joint venture featuring LBCCB and Gallimaufry Performing Arts.  Morrice has appeared with the band at Irvine Valley College’s Performing Arts Center and was part of the band’s showcase during the Festival of the Arts in July and August 2008.  She holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts and an M.A. in Psychology.  Morrice lives in Laguna Beach.

Jessie McLean
JESSIE MCLEAN (Pink / Bride-bot) Jessie trained at the LA County High School for the Arts, New York University, the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts, and received her BFA from the College of Santa Fe. Her most memorable roles are “Anne Shirley” in Anne of Green Gables: The Musical, “Nora” in A Doll's House, “Baker's Wife” in Into the Woods, “Roxanne” in Cyrano de Bergerac, “Christina” in Dancing at Lughnasa, and “Reggie Fluty” in The Laramie Project.  Jessie created the role of the “Bride-bot” in both previous workshops of 2116.

Christian Marriner
CHRISTIAN MARRINER (Blue / Groom-bot / Captain Wilder) is honored to be working with Gallimaufry once more in a brilliant production by the great Ray Bradbury. Christian has performed several great shows with Gallimaufry; Seussical (Cat in the Hat) A Chorus Line (AL) Meet Me In St. Louis (John Truit) And Sordid Lives (Ty). His New York Credits include Miss Saigon (Marine Captain) and The Rink (Lucky) while finishing his BFA in Musical Theatre at The New School in NYC. Marriner Would like to thank the Josephsons, Phillips, MacGillivrays, Foley, Begun, Hadley's, and my awesome family. Too Norm.

Andy Lawson ANDY LAWSON (Green / Hip-hop-bot) is honored to be debuting his professional career this year with Gallimaufry Performing Arts.  Andy started dancing at the age of 4, growing up in Southern California, and is keeping his dance training well rounded with classical ballet, tap, lyrical modern, jazz, hip hop, and musical theater.  Credits include Oliver! (Oliver Twist), Nightmare Before Christmas (Jack), Cinderella (Steward), and others.   He spent the past two summers training at the American Ballet Theater’s intensives and spent the summer of 2007 performing with "Team Rave" San Diego, managed by Liz Ferri, dancing at nonprofit charity events for the Cancer Foundation, Leukemia Society’s “Light the Night”, and Carlsbad Art Splash.  Andy would like to thank Steve Josephson and Francisco Gella for this fantastic opportunity to dance and perform with Gallimaufry.

Monica Thibodeaux
MONICA THIBODEAUX (Lavendar) Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Monica Thibodeaux Theriot started dancing at age 2.  In 2007, she obtained a B.F.A in Dance from California State University Long Beach.  Monica has trained under such choreographers as Keith Johnson, Sean Greene, Susan McLain, Sharon Kinney, and Holly Johnston.  She also trained at both the Paul Taylor and Diavolo Summer Intensives. Monica has performed in numerous concerts while studying at CSULB in addition to dancing professionally with Of Moving Colors Modern Dance Company, CAGED, and Gallimaufry and Greene Contemporary Dance Company.  After a brief hiatus due to injury, Monica is thrilled to be dancing again.

Samantha Morrice
SAMANTHA MORRICE (Yellow) has just finished her 3rd year of musical theatre training at the CAP21 conservatory at NYU. Most recently she was seen as a featured soloist at Joe's Pub. Favorite credits include The Bacchae 2.1 (Agave), The Merchant of Venice (Portia) at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, The House of Bernarda Alba (Bernarda Alba), Assassins (Proprietor) and A Tribue to Mary Rodgers (Soprano soloist). She also won third place in the NATS vocal competition. Previous productions with Gallimaufry Performing Arts include: Cabaret, The Jungle Book, Seussical, A Chorus Line and several concerts. Thanks to my amazing mother Lisa, you inspire me every day!

SARAH SCHUESSLER (Costume Design) Sarah holds a bachelor's degree from USC's School of Theatre, and she is currently pursuing an MFA in costume design at UCLA's School of Theatre, Film and Television. At USC, she was the Artistic Director of Brand New Theatre (BNT), a company devoted to new student work. Through BNT, she had the chance to act, design, write, and produce. She also costume designed productions of Cabaret and Measure for Measure for USC's Take the Stage. At UCLA, she is in her third year, with design credits on The Last 5 Years and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. Other design credits include Children Civic Light Opera's productions of Little Shop of Horrors and Once Upon a Mattress

STUART A. FABEL (Lighting Design) his summer marks the 5th year Stuart has been the Resident Lighting Designer for Gallimaufry Performing Arts.  Stuart is delighted and considers himself fortunate to be a part of the world premiere of Ray Bradbury’s '2116' after creating the original lighting in both workshop productions of Merry Christmas 2116 and Widom 2116.  He designed the lighting for the European premier of Gallimaufry and Greene’s dance piece A Night at the Movies at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in 2008, as well as many of their other dance pieces.  Other credits include Meet Me In St. Louis, The Jungle Book, Six Degrees Of Separation, Cabaret, Scared Money, Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Glass Menagerie. He was the Head Electrician/ATD for the American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker 2008 tour.  Stuart previously was the Lighting Designer for the Key Club at Morongo Casino, lighting such rock and roll artists as The Damned, Lisa Loeb, BuckCherry, The Smithereens, Berlin and Antigone Rising. As the Assistant Technical Manager at the Palm Springs Art Museum, he was fortunate to work with Brian Wilson, Richard Marx and John Waters. Theatre credits at the Palm Canyon Theatre (Palm Springs, CA) include Sweeny Todd, The Rocky Horror Show, A Few Good Men, West Side Story, Noises Off and Hair. At present Stuart is the Lighting Designer for CalTech (California Institute of Technology) in Pasadena, CA.

  DARLENE KRANTZ (Makeup Design)



Broadway World

BWW Reviews: Ray Bradbury Charms With WISDOM 2116

Wednesday, January 20, 2010; Posted: 09:01 AM - by Don Grigware Bradbury's Wisdom 2116/ conceived, directed & choreographed by Steve Josephson/Fremont Centre Theatre/through February 27.

A Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (France's highest literary honor) since 2007, Ray Bradbury is perhaps the best living short story writer. He has also written novels, plays and musicals. In fact, some 55 years ago, in honor of his dear friends actors Charles Laughton and wife Elsa Lanchester, he penned the sci-fi piece, now titled, Wisdom 2116 for them to perform on stage. But both passed away before having the opportunity to mount it. Now resurrected after all these years, it echoes a sweetness unlike any other and because of a richly talented creative team Wisdom 2116 becomes the most endearing, artful entry into Bradbury's theatrical collection. Not all of his stories play well as theatre; this one assuredly does.

The message is clear and simple. A couple married for over 40 years cannot bear to think of the loneliness that will ensue after a partner's death. One Christmas, they decide on most unusual but loving gifts. Each, without the other's knowledge, commissions the village Marionette maker to fashion a youthful Robotic machine that will serve the function of a husband/wife. Alas, the overly energetic and over-zealous young do not make a perfect match for the old, and when they meet they quickly realize the disastrous consequences that will come of living together. The older couple accept their folly and out of complete love for one another resolve to make the most of the time that remains to them both.
In this musical version, Bradbury has fashioned the lyrics from his poetic words and John Hoke has created a hauntingly beautiful score to envelop them. The evening is more performance piece than play, like a lovely European cirque or ballet. Emerging from a trunk, six dancers, along with the main characters, proceed to entrance us with their harmonious moves. Director Josephson, David Stoneman, Rob Harryman, Lisa Morrice, Jessie McLean, Andrew Ruesch, Anthony Scarano, Sarah Mann, Christine Reese, Shanti Harter, Samantha Marcella, and Monica Thibodeaux blend magically together.

Lighting design by Stuart A. Fabel, set by J. W. Layne, costumes by Sarah Schuessler add lush touches and enhance the richness of Bradbury's message. We feel it all the more.

The perfect Valentine's Day evening or anytime. Bring someone you love!

The Tolucan Times

As the holidays fade off in the distance…

By Pat Taylor on January 20th, 2010

Finally, local theatres are presenting their first productions of 2010. I do hope many of you will get out this year and support their efforts. We live in a city brimming over with creativity, dedication and talent just waiting to be shared… and “live” theatre is a rewarding and entertaining way to spend an evening! I love it!

“Ray Bradbury’s Wisdom 2116”
A World Premiere Musical
Photo by Luann Pirillo
(L-R): Samantha Marcella, Lisa Morrice and Steve Josephson.

A “wildly entertaining winner!” One of the world’s most beloved master storytellers, Ray Bradbury’s vision always takes us to the depths of our psyches… and the teetering edge of possibilities. Well into his eighties, he can still open minds, touch hearts and “spin a yarn” like no other! This visually stunning and quirky story mesmerizes the audience throughout, as the beauty, loyalty and wonder of the depth of love between a man and a woman charmingly unfolds. A romantic gem in these fast-paced, fleetingly unsure times, Ray dedicates this one to his friend/mentor, Charles Laughton, and his wife, Elsa Lanchester, whose marriage deeply inspired him some fifty years ago. To our delight, on opening night, Mr. Bradbury colorfully spoke to the audience pre-show and then did a lobby “book signing” afterwards. This whimsical musical, presented in a surreal European style, felt like a cerebral “Cirque du Soleil” of the heart and soul. In a fantasy-like, androgynous world of marionettes, robots, dancers and “magic,” we meet “The Wycherlys” (delightfully played by Rob Harryman and Lisa Morrice). A loving married couple approaching their 40th anniversary, each one secretly explores the act of buying android replicas of their younger selves as celebratory gifts to each other. A lovely gesture… as each learns a lot in the process. Under the mystical and magical direction and eye-popping choreography of Steve Josephson, a mesmerizing and gifted cast takes us on an exciting journey! Amazing dancers/vocalists… all their energy was electric! Book and lyrics by Bradbury and music by John Hoke, blended nicely in offering nearly a dozen entertaining and fun songs. Kudos also go to the “behind the scenes” wizards! J.W. Layne (“trippy” set), Sarah Schuessler (fab costumes), Stuart A. Fabel (inspiring lighting), Darlene Krantz (brilliant makeup), Gregg Barnette (whacky wigs), and the precious Czech Marionettes! This is an ingenious, expertly-written, performed and produced production, folks—suitable for all ages. It will make you “smile” non-stop and leave you wanting more… Do catch it! Running through February 27th at The Fremont Centre Theatre (1000 Fremont Ave. in South Pasadena). Call (323) 960-4451. Admission: $20, seniors $15, students $10.

L.A. Splash Magazine Worldwide
Chicago Splash Magazine Worldwide
Atlanta Splash Magazine Worldwide

Ray Bradbury's Wisdom 2116 Review - An Age Old but Futuristic Tale
By Serita Stevens

Best known for his Martin Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury is also a screen and playwright.  Despite his physical handicaps, he was there for the opening of his new play.

Ray Bradbury’s Wisdom 2116 might have been written fifty years ago to honor Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester, his mentors, but the message it delivers is just as powerful today.  Directed and choreographed by Steve Josephson, produced by Ray Bradbury and Raquel Lehrman, and Pandemonium Theatre Company as well as Gallimaufry Performing Arts, the event is short, but intense.  

Presented at the Fremont Theatre in South Pasadena, the operatic musical dances its way through the story with songs as Forty Years, Marionettes, The Gift and others.  Dancers include David Stoneman (Mr. Marionette), Rob Harryman (Mr. Wycherly), Julie McLean (Bride-bot/dancer), Samantha Marcella (Dancer/Robot) , Christine Rsees (Dancer/Robot), Steve Josephson and Drew Ruesch (Groom-bot), Anthony Scarano (Dancer/Hip Hop-bot), Shanti Harter (Dancer/Robot), Sarah Mann (Dancer/ Hip hop-bot), Monica Thibodeaux (Dancer/Robot.)

In this age old but futuristic story, a husband and wife, having been married forty years and aging together, each decide, without the knowledge of the other, to purchase android replicas of their younger selves to give to their spouses as presents.  In the vein of O Henry’s story, Gift of the Magi, each learns a lot about the other and the ways of life.  They both find they are happy with who they are and with each other, as they are and return the dolls to the Marionette Man, but not before rededicating themselves to each other. 

Besides the dancing and singing, the music by John Hoke made the evening worthwhile. 

Sarah Schuessler designed the costumes and Darlene Krantz did make up.  The simplistic yet beautiful set design was by J. W. Layne.  Stuart A Fabel did lighting.  Stage Manager was Elliot Woodruff and graphic design was Kiff Scholl.  The marionettes were produced by Czech Marionettes and the wigs by Greg Barnette.  
The piece was a bit short for my taste, but it was stunningly performed and the acting and dancing were superb.  The beauty of it makes it well worth the $20 admission (seniors and students have discounts.)  The musical will run until February 27, 2010.  Show times are 8 p.m. for Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

My only complaint was the theater seating made it hard to see some of the marionettes as they danced along the stage and something should be done to bring them more to eye level of the patrons.  As a result of not seeing the dolls, it made me feel as if I was missing something.  However, there was enough seen to understand the musical.  

This is indeed a show worthy of the creative majesty of Ray Bradbury and short as it is, shines on it’s own.  

For more information and reservations call 323 960 4551 or online
Ray Bradbury´s Gift of Love
Gayle Bartos-Pool
January 18, 2010
A feast for the eyes, ears, and heart is the World Premiere engagement of the astounding musical play, Ray Bradbury´s Wisdom 2116 now playing at the Fremont Centre Theatre in Pasadena, California.

As with all of Bradbury´s stories, there is a story behind the story. Over fifty years ago, the venerable author met esteemed actor Charles Laughton and his wife, Elsa Lanchester. Laughton had originally asked Bradbury to write him a science fiction tale. Bradbury dashed off Fahrenheit 451, but to his dismay, the actor said it won´t work. (Would that he knew how that story eventually came out.)

Nevertheless, Laughton, mentor and friend to the young writer, asked if he would pen a musical. Again Bradbury said yes and came up with Wisdom. But circumstances beyond everyone´s control halted production. And finally, Laughton´s death seemed to curtail all thoughts of reviving the project.

But dreams never die and in a new century, Ray Bradbury brought back the tale he wrote for his friends those many years ago. Dedicated and inspired by Mr. Laughton and his wife, this tale is both a Christmas present and Valentine.

Developed, Directed, and Choreographed by the uber-talented Steve Josephson, with music by John Hoke, book and lyrics by Ray Bradbury. Set Design by J.W. Layne. The fantastic costumes designed by Sarah Schuessler. The astounding make-up by Darlene Krantz, and wigs by Gregg Barnette. Lighting by Stuart A. Fabel. Featured also were the delightful Czech Marionettes, so artfully crafted, they needed recognition.

The performance begins with Mr. Marionette, played by magnificent baritone, David Stoneman, seated on a large trunk. With flute in hand, he pipes the opening notes, then lifts the trunk´s lid and out comes a life-size marionette. She is followed by another and then another, until five marvelous dancers have taken the stage. The Opening Night performance featured Christine Reese, Samantha Marcella, Jesse Mclean, Steve Josephson, and Anthony Scarano. Alternating in the roles are Shanti Harter, Sarah Mann, Monica Thibodeaux, and Drew Ruesch.

The wonderful story centers around an elderly couple celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. Each wishes to provide something special for their respective spouses in case of their demise. Shades of "Gift of the Magi," this futuristic couple, Mr. and Mrs. Wycherly, see Mr. Marionette´s delightful puppets (the Czech Marionettes) and then hear him say he can make any size life-like robot, so they each seek him out and ask for a replica of themselves, but younger, and with all their imagined attributes. She wants the robot to have a high I.Q., be a sexual volcano, etc., etc. He wants an even higher I.Q., know every song ever written, and be a veritable fount of information. Their desires become so obviously exaggerated that Mr. Marionette says in an aside that "they are so full of pomp and flatteries, there will be no room for the batteries."

Lisa Morrice, who plays Mrs. Wycherly, has both an amazing voice and incredible facial movements that captures the older character perfectly. Rob Harryman plays the elderly husband. The young actor mastered the senior physicality with stooped shoulders and shuffling gait.

Mr. Marionette enlists his own robots to build the duplicates. One of the robots, Anthony Scarano, was a Wow! doing his "mechanical man" dance. (Note: all the characters on stage, human and robot, sport a barcode on their neck. So very "Bradbury" to think of that for our future.)

Once the robots are finished, two large wrapped gift boxes are delivered to the anxious couple. Mr. Wycherly opens his first. The fetching bride doll amazes him, so he winds her up and lets her perform. With a coy smile and saucy stance, she entreats him to "Just squeeze me." He does, and this little hottie with the bawdy repartee quotes passages from famous books, recalls incidents from Wycherly´s married life, and talks and talks and talks. Jessie Mclean plays the Bride-bot with sass and charm.

Mrs. Wycherly discovers a bare-chested Chippendale-like robot in her box. He loves to dance. He dances her off her feet. The incredible Steve Josephson did the honors first night.

Mr. Wycherly manages to get the Bride-bot back in the box and pleads for Mr. Marionette to "unscrew her," because he can´t shut her up. The older couple cling to each other, distressed over these young androids who know nothing of life. Lessons are learned before Mr. Marionette puts all the dolls back in the trunk.

The remarkable performances run through February 27, 2010, at the Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave. (at El Centro), South Pasadena, CA.

Performances: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 3 p.m. Admission: $20. Seniors, $15. Students, $10.
"Ray Bradbury's Wisdom 2116" A spectacular, inspiring new musical!

Jackie Houchin
January 22, 2010
--- Theatre review

It´s said that "Love covers a multitude of sins," and in Ray Bradbury´s witty new musical "Wisdom 2116" playing at the Fremont Centre Theatre, love blinds an aging couple´s eyes to each other´s faults and failures, wrinkles and sags, frail strength, balding pate and limp libido.

Mr. and Mrs. Wycherly are blissfully in love and have been through 40 years of married life. But as they see their vitality and beauty fading, they worry that the other will become disappointed and perhaps grow cold. Even more distressing: if one should die, who would "do" for the other?

They reveal these inner thoughts and worries in the delightful "Forty Years" number, even as their outer images, in bizarre wigs and makeup (everyone has a bar-code tattooed on his neck), are "framed" in off-kilter picture frames that follow their movements.

Following this, they each come up with an idea for the perfect anniversary gift (one that could only be possible in a futuristic Ray Bradbury story).

Separately and secretly they seek out a robot maker to build new and improved replicas of their younger selves. Mr. Wycherly (Rob Harryman) wants "a robot like a bull" to satisfy and fulfill his wife. Mrs. Wycherly (Lisa Morrice) wants her robot to be "a sexual volcano" with an intellectual, book-filled mind. (How like Bradbury!)

They go to Mr. Marionette (played by David Stoneman who shares the role with director and choreographer, Steve Josephson) who says that he sells life-size robots (never toys!) to meet everyone´s needs.

In the opening scene, Mr. Marionette plays a flute (a nod to the pied piper?) and lithe dancers (Anthony Scarano, Steve Josephson, Christine Reese, and Samantha Marcella) in diaphanous costumes flow from the ancient trunk on which he´d been sitting. (He also orchestrates miniature vignettes that tell the Wycherly saga, using the exquisitely crafted 'Czech Marionettes.')

Stoneman´s stature and stage presence totally captivates the audience. He has a way of peering into individual faces that draws us into the story and makes us "believe." A remarkable actor.

Now he parades his life-size marionettes in the marketplace for prospective customers, girls in skintight attire, boys shirtless, all in garish make up. These sleek, muscled, and shapely "dancer-bots" are breathtaking in their form and athletic skill. They mesmerize the audience with their fluid or syncopated movements and alternative interpretations of both modern dance and hip-hop. It is stunning choreography masterfully performed!

One at a time the Wycherly´s approach him with their special orders and he promises to build them "robots so full of pomp and flatteries that there´s scarcely room for batteries." When he's finished, the Bride and Groom bots are boxed and delivered to the Wycherly's.

On the appointed day, they open their "surprise" boxes. What follows is both amusing and poignant, for the young and virile or voluptuous replicas are not suited to their older, human versions.

While Mr. Wycherly struggles to "turn off" his brainy and robust mechanical lady (Jessie McLean), Mrs. Wycherly is being ravished and perhaps injured by her "stallion buck" (Steve Josephson). Mr. Wycherly longs for "the plain and gentle, the soft and sentimental," while Mrs. Wycherly yearns for the "comfortable and real," not the "sizzling ideal."

As they finally escape their younger selves and fall into each other's arms, they understand that the "mellow flavor" of their elder love is like "vintage wine" to be savored to the last drop.

"Wisdom 2116" is a sparkling new jewel in Ray Bradbury´s crown of stories and plays, as amazing and memorable as the Hope Diamond. A fantastical, feel-good, musical not to be missed.

"Wisdom 2116" plays Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 3:00 pm through Saturday, February 27, 2010.

General admission is $20. ($15 for seniors, $10 for students)

For info and reservations call (323) 960-4451 or visit

The FCT is located at 1000 Fremont Ave (at El Centro), So. Pasadena, CA 91030 (ample free parking)
Ray Bradbury's 2116
The musical 2116, originally written 55 years ago by legendary author Ray Bradbury, is only now finally seeing its debut, and it is a true slice of history. It feels authentic to its bygone time, not only in the innocence and naïveté of the musical theatre genre of 50 years ago, but also to that generation's vision of what was then the distant future. The staging builds on a vaudevillian Cirque du Soleil styling in costumes and set, the dances are clean and simple, and the music is sweet lending charm to an otherwise amply surreal story that is part O. Henry, part Bladerunner.
– Kenneth Hughes

Ray Bradbury's Wisdom 2116
 (Fremont Center Theater, South Pasadena, Calif.; 78 seats; $20 top)
A Pandemonium Theater Company and Gallimaufry Performing Arts presentation of a musical in one act with book and lyrics by Ray Bradbury, with additional material by Steve Josephson. Music by John Hoke. Developed, directed and choreographed by Josephson.
Wisdom 2116
Christine Reese, left, Jessie McLean, David Stoneman and Samantha Marcella are featured in 'Ray Bradbury's Wisdom 2116.'

With: Rob Harryman, Shanti Harter, Steve Josephson, Sarah Mann, Samantha Marcella, Jessie McLean, Lisa Morrice, Christine Reese, Andrew Ruesch, Anthony Scarano, David Stoneman, Monica Thibodeaux.

Almost 50 years ago, legendary sci-fi author Ray Bradbury tailored to Charles Laughton and wife Elsa Lanchester a tiny chamber tuner only now unveiled as "Ray Bradbury's Wisdom 2116" at the Fremont Center Theater. Neither a visionary tract nor a neglected masterpiece, this sweet fable about seeking contentment with one's lot is closer to performance art than traditional dramaturgy. Prodigious use of dance, masks, puppetry, Expressionist stagecraft and John Hoke's lilting melodies lends heft to the familiar theme and skimpy (45 minutes) running time.

This is one of those Pierrot/Pierrette things in which props and cast alike are brought out of a trunk by a Dr. Coppelius type (David Stoneman), the perpetually leering emcee whose knowing grin presages nothing in particular. This dude hawks marionettes with a thriving robot business on the side, albeit a quaintly retro version of artificial intelligence one can easily believe was conceived in 1957.

We're not much beyond "Forbidden Planet" here, but helmer-choreographer Steve Josephson sculpts an attractive troupe of dancers -- equally at home with ballet, Fosse sizzle and hip-hop -- into Mr. Marionette's inventory for our central couple's Christmas shopping pleasure.

It takes nothing away from the likable, topiary-headed Rob Harryman and Lisa Morrice to confess the fun of imagining the crusty Laughtons as the fading Wycherlys, each of whom commissions a robot version of him- or herself to serve as a post-death replacement. But these vain gift-givers design flattering avatars with no thought to what the recipient might want in a companion: She demands to be reborn as a combination scholar and sexual wildcat, he as a stud with a 79 IQ and the works of Zane Grey in his head.

Once the packages are opened, hijinks ensue, and everything is danced and acted with considerable wit by Jessie McLean as the Bride-bot (squeeze her and a pensee comes out) and Josephson himself, on press night, as a Chippendale-bot. There's visual pleasure aplenty on the Fremont's crackerbox stage but nothing quite so touching as real, tiny marionettes representing Mr. and Mrs. in youth and old age, achieving the same heart-tugs as a similar sequence in Pixar's "Up" in affirming the joy of finally accepting life's terms.

Hoke's ravishing principal waltz, and explorations with more modern styles, mesh nicely with Bradbury's naively charming lyrics. Sometimes the author gets off a wryly cynical snap, as in a reference to one sign of Christmas approaching as "pumpkin heads rotting on the porch."

But grace, not bite, is the order of the day here.

Sets, J.W. Layne; costumes, Sarah Schuessler; lighting, Stuart A. Fabel; makeup, Darlene Krantz; marionettes, Czech Marionettes; stage manager, Elliott Woodruff. Opened, reviewed Jan. 16, 2010. Runs through Feb. 27. Running time: 45 MIN.

Sunday Calendar Section
December 13, 2009

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury's '2116' debuts at long last

The celebrated author wrote the Christmas-themed piece, his first story as a musical, decades ago. It's set to premiere in January at South Pasadena's Fremont Centre.

By Mike Boehm

"2116," a musical Ray Bradbury wrote more than 50 years ago for Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester, will have its long-deferred premiere Jan. 16 at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena.

Even without the Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Bride of Frankenstein, it's an occasion: It is the first story the 89-year-old L.A.-based author wrote as a musical.

In past musical adaptations of his novels, such as "Fahrenheit 451," "Dandelion Wine" and "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit," Bradbury has written lyrics and new dialogue.

As a warmup, the 81-seat Fremont Centre offered three Saturday night preview performances this month, all sell-outs, under the title "Ray Bradbury's Merry Christmas 2116." Last month, audiences saw a workshop run at the Forum Theatre in Laguna Beach. The eight-member cast will perform to recorded music.

The original plan in the mid-1950s was for Laughton and his wife, Lanchester, to perform the show, then titled "Happy Anniversary, 2116," as part of an evening of one-act musicals staged in London.

James Whale, who had directed Lanchester and Boris Karloff in the movie "The Bride of Frankenstein" (after making its precursor, "Frankenstein") and Laughton in " The Old Dark House," was going to stage the production. ( Ian McKellen portrayed the director in the 1998 film "Gods and Monsters.")

Veteran Tin Pan Alley songwriter Ray Henderson ("Bye, Bye Blackbird") was engaged to set Bradbury's lyrics to music.

But Whale's suicide in 1957 sidetracked those plans and Laughton's death in 1962 seemingly finished them.

Until, that is, Bradbury dusted the script off early this year as a potential project for his own stage troupe, Pandemonium Theatre Company, which last year offered a long-running, non-musical version of "Fahrenheit 451" at the Fremont Centre.

Alan Neal Hubbs, Pandemonium's artistic director, turned to director-choreographer Steve Josephson to realize the piece using new music. By late spring, Josephson had found a composer who feels a strong connection to Bradbury's oeuvre in John Hoke, an L.A.-based musician who became a fan of Bradbury as a boy growing up in Nebraska.

Hoke first met with Josephson at a Starbuck's in Norwalk, where he played some of the music he'd set to the Bradbury lyrics he'd been sent.

"It was a perfect match," Josephson said. "He saw the story in the context of Ray's entire works. I knew he would capture it perfectly, and that's how it's been through the entire process."

The story, which may owe a debt to O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi," concerns a loving couple, married 40 years, who separately hit upon the same idea for a Christmas gift: buying younger, nearly-human "marionette" versions of themselves, so the recipient can enjoy once more what time has eroded.

"Marionettes, Inc.," a tale from Bradbury's 1951 collection, "The Illustrated Man," presaged the musical with its depiction of what happens when two husbands buy duplicates of themselves for their wives, but it's much darker than the show.

Josephson said he did have one fresh assignment for the author: write a Christmas carol.

The result, "Christmas Comes," is in the show.

When it opens next month, the seasonal "Merry Christmas 2116" will have its name abbreviated to "2116." It will be performed with a non-musical companion piece by the author, "Wisdom (1916)." The production's overall title will be "Ray Bradbury's Wisdom."

After its premiere run ends, Josephson says he'd like to expand this hour-long version of "2116" into a full-length musical, incorporating story lines and characters from other Bradbury writings.

Bradbury's new collaborators say the author is happy with what they've done with his long-aborning work. When Bradbury introduced the show one night during its Laguna run, Hoke said, he wore the medal he received in 2007 when the French government appointed him a commander in its Order of the Arts and Letters.

"He held up the medal and said, 'I now command you to love this play,' " Hoke said.