Einstein is a Dummy

Book & Lyrics by Karen Zacarías
Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma
Published as Large Cast and Small Cast versions by the Dramatic Publishing Company.

Synopsis

As an adult, Albert Einstein changed our view of the universe. But as a boy, he struggled with the same issues any twelve year-old might – keeping up with violin lessons, impressing the girl next-door and – oh yeah, comprehending the fundamental relationship of space and time to the speed of light, of course. This uplifting play about a fictional day in young Einstein’s life confirms that each of us is both ordinary and special. With an engaging, original score, a healthy dose of imagination, and the help of a mysterious cat, Einstein is a Dummy reveals life’s atomic possibilities.

Young Einstein’s geeky streak is reason to rock…’Einstein’ abounds with the energy of its subject matter…The verdict: Sheer energy, musicalized.” – Susan Elliott, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

History

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Naya Allen, Luke Hardy and Leah Bozajian at the Norris Center for the Performing Arts. Photo Credit: Karin Cooper

Einstein is a Dummy was first seen at the Kennedy Center’s 2004 New Visions/New Voices Festival, and went on to premiere at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in 2005 under the direction of Rosemary Newcott.  Since then it has enjoyed productions at theaters throughout the country, including Chicago Playworks, UNC Charlotte, Oregon Children’s Theatre, and Nashville Children’s Theatre.  In 2011 a revised and expanded 90 minute youth cast version was premiered  at the Norris Center for the Performing Arts under the direction of Corey Jones.  It is one of the featured plays in the book “New Visions/New Voices: 25 years/25 plays”.

I loved the production and was very impressed by how well it captured both the coming of age of a ‘different’ teenager AND the unique scientific insights that led to Einstein’s remarkable year of publications…It was the most creative approach to communicating physics that I’ve ever seen.” – Matthew S. Grober, Associate Professor of Biology, Georgia State University

Musical Numbers

1. PLANETARY OPENING - Albert, Ensemble



2. WHICH WAY IS UP - Albert, the Cat, Ensemble



3. ELSA'S WALTZ - Albert, Elsa



4. BROWNIAN MOTION LIMBO - All
4. BROWNIAN MOTION LIMBO - All



5. BORING BALLAD IN C MAJOR - All
5. BORING BALLAD IN C MAJOR - All



6. RAY OF LIGHT - Albert



7. E=MC2 - Albert, Constantine, Elsa, Cat
7. E=MC2 - Albert, Constantine, Elsa, Cat



8. BORING BALLAD REPRISE - Constantine, Elsa, Herr



9. CATCH THE LIGHT (FINALE) - Albert, the Cat, Ensemble



Additional songs available in the Large Cast Version:



DON'T MESS UP - Mama, Maja, Chorus
DON'T MESS UP - Mama, Maja, Chorus



THE TWIN PARADOX POLKA - Albert, Greta, Helga and Chorus
THE TWIN PARADOX POLKA - Albert, Greta, Helga and Chorus


Oregon Children’s Theatre. Photo Credit: Owen Carey

Production Elements

Kylie Brown and Derek Manson, Alliance Theatre. Photo Credit: David De Vries
Kylie Brown and Derek Manson, Alliance Theatre. Photo Credit: David De Vries

Cast: 1 woman, 3 men, 1 either gender
(Youth Cast version expandable up to 5 women, 3 men, 4 either gender and optional Chorus)

Female
ELSA – A beautiful sweet viola player. A perfect bow on her head (Mezzo)

Male
ALBERT – A clumsy and curious kid. A violin player. A small bowtie. (Bari-Tenor)
CONSTANTIN – a snotty cello player. An enormous bowtie. (Tenor)
HERR SCHLOPPNOPPDINKERDONN – a very neurotic and uptight music teacher (Baritone)

Either Gender
THE CAT – a scrawny stray tom-cat.

Music: Pop/Rock/Pastiche score.  Accompaniment tracks available.
Musical Difficulty: Moderate
Technical Requirements: Minimal
Suggested Audience: Middle School/Families

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Nashville Children’s Theatre

Loaded with laughs and packed with lively melodies, Einstein Is A Dummy will also raise your I.Q. by about 50 points” – Performing Arts Live.com

Authors

KAREN ZACARÍAS (Book & Lyrics) is hailed by American Theater Magazine as one of the ten most produced playwrights in the U.S. and the most produced Latina playwright in the nation. Her comedy Native Gardens,  about race, class, plants, and fences, hit a political zeitgeist and was one of the top produced plays of 2019. Her musical homage to the telenovela Destiny of Desire, “a terrifically entertaining theatrical roller coaster”(Charles McNulty, LA Times) has sold-out the largest regional theaters from East to West (Arena Stage, The Goodman, Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and is now heading to Broadway. Her gripping drama The Copper Children,  about a controversial child separation case in 1905, just had an acclaimed world premiere at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and her bilingual translation of Romeo y Juliet will premiere at California Shakespeare Festival in September of 2021.  Other award-winning plays include  The Book Club PlayLegacy of LightMariela in the DesertThe Sins of Sor Juana, and the adaptations of Just Like UsInto the Beautiful North, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. Her work has also been produced at The Kennedy Center, The Guthrie, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Goodman, South Coast Rep, and many more.

 

Karen is also one of the most produced children’s theater playwrights in the country. She is the author of ten renowned TYA musicals with composer Deborah Wicks La Puma including Ella Enchanted, Einstein is a Dummy, Ferdinand the Bull, Looking for Roberto Clemente, Chasing George Washington, Jane of the Jungle, and Frida Libre.  Karen is also the author of the Marvel play Squirrel Girl Goes to College, and the librettist of several Ballets. She is one of the inaugural resident playwrights at Arena Stage, a core founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons – a large national organization of artists seeking to update the American narrative with the stories of Latinos – and she is the founder of the award-winning Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT). YPT was cited by the Obama administration as one of the best arts-education programs on the nation.

Karen was voted 2019 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine for her advocacy work involving the arts. She is an inaugural 2019 Sine Fellow for Policy Innovation at American University for advocating for the intersectionality of art and policy and was selected by The League of Professional Theatre Women to receive the 2019 Lee Reynolds Award given annually to a woman in theater who has helped illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural, or political change. She was awarded the 2019 Medallion by the Children’s Theater Foundation of America for excellence and craft and a 2019 speaker at TEDEX Broadway. A graduate of Stanford University and Boston University, Karen lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and three children. She is represented by the Gersh Agency. www.KarenZacarias.com

DEBORAH WICKS LA PUMA (music) – see her bio page

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