Best Director - 2009
Joseph Adler is a big personality with a big voice, big hair, and a big heart. So Adding Machine must have been quite a trick for him. The musical, composed in 2008 by Joshua Schmidt and written by Schmidt and Jason Loewith, is a modernist horror story based on Elmer Rice's nearly forgotten 1927 play The Adding Machine. Its story follows the spiritual decay of a man who loses his job to a machine, just when he is on the verge of turning into a machine himself. The show is meant to summon the feel of an early 20th-century industrial utopia gone awry — a world of smokestacks and conveyor belts, of perfectly conditioned workers diligently plunking away for their pay and rations of leisure time. The individual is invisible in such a world, and for one and a half hours at Adler's GableStage, the personalities of all involved in Adding Machine's production were notable only by their absence. Adler and his cast hardened their hearts, stepped away from the footlights, and let us see the only personality that mattered in this context: the blind and hungry void of industry gone mad.