Review: ‘Gutenberg! The Musical!’ at Epic Productions, Inc.

David Jennings and his talented actress wife Jamie are the co-founders of Epic Productions, Inc. and their first production in their new home at St. Mark’s on the Hill Church in Pikesville is the two-man musical comedy Gutenberg! The Musical! The show opened off Broadway in 2006. It was also part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2005 and 2006. It closed in September 2007, and made its west coast premiere in 2008. Along the way, it was nominated for The Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off Broadway Musical in 2007, and in that same year, it was also nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical.

Justin Calhoun (left) and David Jennings (right) performing in 'Gutenberg! The Musical!' Photo by Jamie Jennings.
Justin Calhoun (left) and David Jennings (right). Photo by Jamie Jennings.

A fellow by the name of Jerry Mayer was very instrumental in Epic Productions permission to use St. Mark’s. He is a member there and thought since the hall is under-utilized a theatre group doing shows would be a great idea. And to me it looks like it is. It has a stage, space for chairs and wing space. Also an outer lobby where tickets can be sold and guests greeted. It can seat about 100 comfortably. And yes there is parking.

Gutenberg! The Musical! is a little different from the musical theatre you might be accustomed to. It’s a two-man show with the multi-talented David Jennings as Doug Simon and Justin Calhoun, another seasoned performer, as Bud Davenport. These two fine actors are funny guys, and have great stage chemistry, and the show is a lot of fun.

The premise is these two guys are performing a show for a theatre filled with Broadway producers. Kind of like a backers audition. They want one of them to buy the show and take it to Broadway. There are many parts and characters which are all performed by David and Justin – simply by putting on different hats with the name of the character(s) on it. Gutenberg is one of them. The actual writers are Anthony King and Scott Brown, both New York based.

There is a piano player on stage – Charlotte Evans – and she does a very good job in keeping up with the guys – and that’s not easy with all their cyclonic energy.

Some of the song titles are “Biscuits,””Stop the Press,” “I Can’t Read,” “Haunted German Wood,” and “Tomorrow is Tonight.” The songs are very important for the story and they have humorous lyrics and help the story to move along. My favorite? “Words, Words, Words”- I laughed and the audience loudly laughed along.

David Jennings and Justin Calhoun. Photo by Jamie Jennings.
David Jennings and Justin Calhoun. Photo by Jamie Jennings.

I don’t want to give all the songs and plot away, because I want you to come and see the show and have a great time. Epic Productions, Inc. needs your support and after you come see Gutenberg! The Musical! I know you will want to spread the word and help fill up the rest of the run. These two guys will be grateful!

And you can print that!

Running Time: 90 minutes, including one intermission.

Gutenberg! The Musical! plays through May 29, 2016 at Epic Productions Inc. performing at St. Mark’s on the Hill— 1620 Reisterstown Road, in Pikesville, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (443) 791-2671 or purchase them online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1553.gif


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