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The Nerd
Larry Shue

Kevin Symons, French Stewart, Ed F. Martin, Faith Colie Salie

Producing Director
Scenic Design
Lighting Design
Costume Design
Sound Design
Set Construction
Properties Design
Production Stage Manager
Marketing/Public Relations
Technical Director/Master Electrician
Light Rigging

Production Photography
Cover Photo
Promotional Materials
Production Stage Manager
House Manager
Lighting Operator
Sound Operator
Back Stage Crew


David Rose
Barbara Beckley
Bradley Kaye
David Flad
A. Jeffrey Schoenberg
Michael Fracassi
Sets To Go
Dana DePaul
David Elzer
Red Colgrove
Anthony Bradshaw, Jeremy Briden, 
Ondina Dominguez, Jennifer Henderson, 
Gabriel Holguin, Donna Lazar
Michael Lamont
Marina Rice Bader
Ty Donaldson
Dana DePaul
Marja Harmon 
Darshann Smyth
Jennifer Henderson
Tracy Larson, Donna Lazar 
(in order of appearance)
Willum Cubbert
Tansy McGinnis
Axel Hammond
Warnock Waldgrave
Clelia Waldgrave
Thor Waldgrave
Rick Steadman
Ed F. Martin
Faith Coley Salie
Kevin Symons
Jonathan Palmer
Cindy Warden
Justin M. Bretter
French Stewart

Terre Haute, Indiana

Act I - November 4, 1980
Act II - Scene 1 - Six days later
  Scene 2 - The following day

There will be one intermission.

Larry Shue: An Appreciation
  By David Rose

Larry Shue, a talented young actor and playwright, had his career cut short at the age of 39 by the crash of a commuter plane in Weyer's Cove, Virginia, in 1985. He left behind a small but celebrated body of work including a children's musical, My Emperor's New Clothes, a one-act comic memoir about his college years, Grandma Duck is Dead, a bittersweet political drama, Wenceslas Square, set in 1974 Prague after the Soviet invasion, and two twin comic achievements in The Nerd and The Foreigner, which have enjoyed remarkable success worldwide.

Shue was born in New Orleans in 1946 and grew up in Eureka, Kansas where he directed his own plays in his family's garage on weekends, charging a penny admission. He graduated cum laude with a degree in theatre arts from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1968. From 1969 to 1972, Shue served in the U. S. Army at Fort Lee, Virginia, playing an active leadership role in the post's Entertainment Unit. The next several years were spent working around the country as a professional actor. 

He was invited to join the resident acting company of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in 1977, and within two years was their Playwright-in-Residence. The Nerd was Larry Shue's first full-length play, and was produced by Milwaukee Rep. in 1981 starring the playwright as Willum. In 1982 the play crossed the Atlantic, playing first in Manchester, England, and later in a hugely successful West End run starring Rowan Atkinson. As of 1990, The Nerd was the all-time top grossing American play in Londonís West End. The Nerd opened on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre in 1987, and has been produced in all 50 states since. He followed up with The Foreigner at Milwaukee Rep. in 1983, which moved Off-Broadway the following year with Shue himself in the New York cast. It went on to become the fifth longest-running Off-Broadway play in history.

By 1985 Larry Shue had won two Obie Awards, two New York Drama Critic's Circle Awards, was performing in his own works as well as othersí (including Joseph Papp's production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood), had finished Wenceslas Square for his friends in Milwaukee, was honing ideas for new plays and musicals including, in his words, "a comedy about growing old, death, disease and rock 'n' roll." 

By all accounts I've read, Mr. Shue was a good deal like The Nerd's protagonist Willum Cubbert: warm, big-hearted, decent, loaded with talent and kindness. No one knows how much more Shue would have contributed to the American theatre. We do know that the plays he left behind were funny, spirited, ridiculously silly romps with a lot of heart - a comic actor's dream. I'm not the first to wonder what else might have sprung forth from the imagination of this inventive comic mind. We'll never know, but I suspect that a lot of actors and theatre lovers have missed out on what might have been, if only Larry Shue were alive and writing today. 

Talking about the effect of his comedies on audiences, Shue once said: "You have tired, neurotic people filing in and you have kids coming out giggling and flirting." Given the state of the world on any given day - I say, Amen to that.

Special Thanks to

Bardwell's on the Boulevard, Ruth Bader, Anjali Bal, Priscilla Davis, Doug Haverty, Art + Soul Designs,
Rich Lippman, Phyllis Massing, Salvador Palacios,  California Lighting & Power, Mi Piac, Miriam Schneider, Bill Shaw, San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, Mike Thayer, Wadler Data Systems, Tom Ware, The Pasadena Playhouse, Conwell Worthington II, Conwell Worthington III

The Los Angeles Times says:

"The play combines low humor, deft wit and the kind of broadly comic characterizations that actors the world over would sacrifice their birthrights to play..."

"[T]he play's wedding-cake plot is a towering but solid structure upon which one-liners, double-entendres and sight gags are layered in sticky abundance." With "pitch-perfect comic timing" French Stewart [3rd Rock from the Sun] plays "a painfully clueless goofball who drives everybody to distraction and beyond."

"Stewart isn't the only one with terrific timing. This evening is very much about the acting, and the sum of all these performances equals a hoot and a half." Ed F.Martin "excels at sweet haplessness." Jonathan Palmer "is humorously humorless." Faith Colie Salie "is a straight woman who can rattle off a scathing quip or two.... Kevin Symons is formidably tart [and] Cindy Warden is a scream...even young Justin M. Bretter plays...with the panache of an old pro.

Back Stage West Review