Einstein is a Dummy

Book & Lyrics by Karen Zacarías
Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma


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


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”.

Einstein is a Dummy is published by the Dramatic Publishing Company in two versions: Large Cast and Small Cast.

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



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)

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

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

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


KAREN ZACARÍAS (Book & Lyrics) was recently hailed by American Theatre magazine as one of the most produced playwrights in the United States. Her plays include Destiny of DesireNative GardensMariela in the DesertLegacy of LightThe Book Club Play and The Sins of Sor Juana; adaptations include Into the Beautiful NorthJust Like Us and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. Zacarías has written 10 TYA musicals with composer Debbie Wicks La Puma including Oliverio: A Brazilian TwistElla Enchanted: The MusicalChasing George Washington: A White House AdventureEinstein Is a DummyLooking for Roberto ClementeFrida LibreJane of the JungleCinderella Eats Rice and BeansFerdinand the Bull and The Magical Piñata. She collaborated on the libretto for Sleepy Hollow and Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises for the Washington Ballet at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Her plays have been produced at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Goodman Theatre, South Coast Repertory, the Guthrie Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Round House Theatre, GALA Hispanic Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Dallas Theater Center and many more. Zacarías is a core founder of the Latino Theater Commons, a national network that strives to update the American narrative to including the stories of Latinos. She is the founder of Young Playwrights’ Theater, an award-winning theatre company that teaches playwriting in local public schools in Washington, D.C., and she is proud to be Arena Stage’s first resident playwright. Zacarías lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and three children.  www.karenzacarias.com.

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

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