Best Musical - 2009
Joshua Schmidt and Jason Loewith's Adding Machine at GableStage at the Biltmore
1200 Anastasia Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Art communicates first to the heart and then climbs its way to the brain on a ladder of associations — memories, snippets of things once seen or heard, allusions to the past. No recent musical has used association so evocatively as Adding Machine. In it, the industrial U-turned dystopia of early 20th-century modernism was conjured up through music that nodded to Brecht and Weill, coupled with an aesthetic derived in equal parts from Henry Ford, Fritz Lang, Tristan Tzara, and Le Corbusier. A story of a worker both made redundant by and subsumed into a brave new world of automation, Adding Machine is an old-school Marxist critique of frightening acuity: Singing out a series of numbers in dazzlingly precise polyrhythm, Adding Machine's characters transform into automatons themselves. If we, too, weren't a little too machine-like, the sight would send us running from the Biltmore, with the bad old future like a dead wind at our backs.