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Adding Machine: A Musical

Musical adaptation of Elmer Rice's incendiary 1923 play.

  • Full Length Musical
  • Drama
  • 105 minutes

  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Target Audience: Teen (Age 14 - 18), Senior, Adult
  • Set Requirements: Unit Set/Multiple Settings
  • Cautions: Mild Adult Themes, Strong Language
  • Orchestra Size: Small/Combo

  • Performance Group:
  • College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Large Stage, Professional Theatre

  • Accolades:
  • Winner! 2008 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical
    Winner! 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and Outstanding New Score
Darkly comic and heartbreakingly beautiful, Adding Machine, a musical adaptation of Elmer Rice's incendiary 1923 play, tells the story of Mr. Zero, who after 25 years of service to his company is replaced by a mechanical adding machine. In a vengeful rage, he murders his boss. 

An eclectic score gives passionate and memorable voice to this stylish and stylized show, which follows Zero's journey to the afterlife in the Elysian Fields where he is met with one last chance for romance and redemption.


CRITICS PICK! "A brilliant musical! A superb libretto by Loewith and Schmidt and music that gets under your skin and stays there."

 The New York Times

"Exciting and adventurous!"

NY Post


Time Out New York

"A marvel! Joshua Schmidt's music sneaks up on us until we are begging for more! Adding Machine dazzles!"

"A masterpiece of expressionism. Brave and bold!"


Premiere Production:

Adding Machine: A Musical was developed and received its world premiere at the Next Theatre Company, Artistic Director Jason Loewith.

Adding Machine: A Musical was produced in New York by Scott Morfee, Tom Wirtshafter and Margaret Cotter at the Minetta Lane Theatre, opening night February 25, 2008.

  • Casting: 5M, 4F
  • Casting Attributes: Ensemble cast, Flexible casting, Non-Traditional casting, Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Casting Notes: Plus SATB chorus
  • Chorus Size: Small

  • MR. ZERO (Tenor/Baritone) - Male, 40s-50s. "Antihero" who murders his boss after being replaced by an adding machine after 25 years on the job.
  • MRS. ZERO (Soprano) - Female, 45. Mr. Zero's wife of 25 years. Chronic complainer and gossipy unkempt housewife.
  • DAISY DOROTHEA DEVORE (Mezzo-Soprano) - Female, middle-aged. Mr. Zero's assistant book-keeper who is infatuated with him.
  • SHRDLU (Tenor) - Male. Jailmate who bears a great amount of guilt and confides in Mr. Zero.
  • THE BOSS (Same actor plays FIXER & CHARLES; does not sing) - Male, middle-aged.
    BOSS: Mr. Zero's boss. Informs Mr. Zero about his termination which results in his own death.
    FIXER: an allegorical figure with wings suggesting an angel. Points out Zero's life has been worthless.
    CHARLES: an immortal, he functions in the place where souls are prepared for reincarnation and is charged with dispatching Zero back to earth.
  • Name Price
    Perusal Material Shipped immediately. This is optional. Order Now

    1 x Vocal Chorus Book
    1 x Piano Vocal Book

    Libretto This is optional. Order Now

    The LIBRETTO is for SALE ONLY and is not available for hire as part of the Rehearsal Material set. It must be purchased separately and is available for purchase through our office.

    Rehearsal Material Shipped a minimum of 3 months before the last performance. This must be hired as a condition of the License to produce this show.

    15 x Vocal-Chorus Books
    1 x Piano-Vocal Book

    $150.00 +$25.00/pm
    Orchestral Material Shipped a minimum of 1 month before the last performance. This is optional.

    1 x Full Conductor's Score
    1 x Synthesizer
    1 x Percussion

    $50.00 +$25.00/pm