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Academia Nuts

Book and Lyrics by Becca Anderson & Dan Marshall; Music by Julian Blackmore

Academia Nuts

at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre  [map]

  • Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 8:00 pm
  • Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm
  • Friday, July 11, 2014 at 9:00 pm
  • Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm
  • Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Chasing your dream is never a trivial pursuit.

It’s the National High School Quizbowl Championship! Dreamy-eyed brainiac Maggie McCutter hopes to win a scholarship so she can escape her controlling mother. Maggie’s world is hilariously turned upside down when she falls for Tyler O'Neil, a football-loving opponent from rival team, the Walla Walla Walruses. As she's torn between the family she’s got and the friendship she's found, will Maggie’s trivial pursuits be in jeopardy? ACADEMIA NUTS is the uproarious nerd-rock musical everyone will be buzzing about!

Running Time: 1 hour and 50 minutes, plus one intermission.

If you experience any technical difficult while trying to purchase tickets, please call (212) 664-0979 x19.

Becca Anderson

Becca Anderson (Book/Lyrics)

is the co-author of the musicals ACADEMIA NUTS, Hatter, and Period Piece and the author of the plays Baby Factory, Bedtime, and Over-Ripe. Her works have been finalists for the Ronald M. Ruble New Play Award, the Leah Ryan FEWW Prize, the NuVoices Playwriting Prize, and the Trustus Playwrights Festival. She holds both an MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She also writes comic books.

Dan Marshall (Book/Lyrics)

The Suicide Club (GMTWP @ NYU); Christmas Carolyn (Development: The York Theatre); Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever (Development: Two River Theatre). Contributed to the book Yesterday Once More, a musical based on the songs of the Richard and Karen Carpenter, produced by Jim Brickman. Songs featured at Barrington Stage, Merkin Concert Hall and "Broadway's Future at Lincoln Center." Bachelor of Musical Theatre: B-W Conservatory; MFA: Tisch GMTWP

Julian Blackmore (Music)

Julian is an Englishman in New York, where he is a regular performer on the Greenwich Village music scene. He is the composer for musicals Spandex, A Year With... Veronica Sexton, and The Suicide Club. His music is used around the globe in theatrical and television productions. Julian is a member of the Dramatists Guild and holds an MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. His dog, Parsley, ghostwrites all of his music.

Alison Lea Bender

Alison Lea Bender (Mi Cha Kwak)

Alison is honored to be back at NYMF! This is her second time appearing at the festival, having last been seen in 2012 in Requiem for a Lost Girl. Select theatrical credits include Carousel directed by Baayork Lee, Next To Normal, Miss Saigon, Hair, A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Many thanks to the writers and team. Love to my amazing family, friends and BJ.

Todd Cerveris

Todd Cerveris (Melvin Jessup)

Broadway: South Pacific, Twentieth Century. Off-Broadway: Southern Comfort; Almost, Maine; The Booth Variations; The Butcherhouse Chronicles; Time and the Conways; Somewhere, Someplace Else; Dick In London. Tours: War Horse; Spring Awakening; Twelve Angry Men; Acting Company. Regional: Arena Stage; La Jolla Playhouse; Old Globe; Actors Theater of Louisville; George Street Playhouse; Cincinnati Playhouse; Portland Stage. International: Edinburgh Fringe; Actor’s Touring Company (UK/Greece). Nurse Jackie; White Collar; One True Thing; Living and Dining; Law & Order.

Stephanie D

Stephanie D'Abruzzo (Sergeant Tina Van Wyke)

is happily NYMF’ing again after 2007’s Austentatious. NYC Stage includes: Avenue Q (Tony/Drama Desk nominations, Theatre World Award, OCC Ensemble Award); Greed: A Musical For Our Times; Tomfoolery; The Mad Show; Love and Real Estate; It Must Be Him; I Love You Because; and then some. Regional: [title of show] (St. Louis Rep), Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical (Kennedy Center). TV ranges from Sesame Street (21 seasons) to Scrubs (“My Musical”).

Khris Davis

Khris Davis (Tyler O'Neil)

Khris Davis is thrilled to be a part of NYMF this season. Coming off of the Motown: The Musical press tour. He has worked primarily out of Philadelphia, at The Quintessence Theatre Group, leading in shows like Othello, Antigone, and at the Adrienne, in First Breeze of Summer. Khris has worked regionally at Arena Stage in Love In Afghanistan, The Philadelphia Theatre Company in Ruined, The Walnut Street Theatre, and the Arden Theatre Company, to name a few.

Alexander Ferguson

Alexander Ferguson (Dexter Sanchez)

graduated from the Integrated Program at AMDA in 2011. Since then, he was in NYMF 2013 Swiss Family Robinson and on the 1st National Tour of Teacher from the Black Lagoon with Theatreworks USA. He also served as part of the entertainment crew aboard the Disney Fantasy (Lumiere/Prince Naveen/US Aladdin/Iago). He wants to thank his agents at The Mine Agency, his roommates, and his wonderfully supportive family.

Alyse Alan Louis

Alyse Alan Louis (Maggie McCutter)

Broadway: Mamma Mia! (Sophie). Off Broadway: The Civil War (Lucille Lortel Theatreworks USA); Camp Wanatachi (LaMama ETC); Bells Are Ringing (City Center Encores). Associate Artist with The Civilians. Regional: NERDS; Spring Awakening; POP! Who Shot Andy Warhol?Xanadu; Bright Lights, Big City; Hair; The Goodbye Girl. Greatest joy: performing new work! Many thanks to the entire ACADEMIA NUTS team.

Melody Madarasz

Melody Madarasz (Mary McCutter)

Melody is a recent grad of Emerson College '13-BFA in Musical Theater. New York: Mr Chickees Funny Money (world premiere, Atlantic Theater Company); Spears; The Gospel According to Britney (Foxwoods Theater); We are Lyons and Pakchar (54 Below); TEETH (ArsNova). Regional: The Winan's Workshop (dir. Charles Randolph Wright, ArtsEmerson, MA); Cafe Variations (dir. Ann Bogart, ArtsEmerson); Spring Awakening; Crimes of the Heart (Gloucester Stage); Papermill Playhouse Summer Conservatory. Next up, you can see her playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid at TriArts Sharon Playhouse. Check out her song "Sweet Pea" (iTunes) on the Lyons and Pakchar debut album #LOVE.

Will Roland

Will Roland (Joseph McCutter)

Recently: The Black Suits at CTG and Barrington Stage, The Bus at 59E59, Billy Witch, The Joe Iconis Christmas Spectacular, and lots of new work at past NYMFs, Fringes, and zillions of concerts. Will is a Studio 42 resident artist (, and Musical Theatre Factory member ( Thanks Mom, Dad, Val, Station3, and my many teachers for their support throughout this crazy endeavor.

Jennifer Simard

Jennifer Simard (Chrystal McCutter)

NYC/Broadway: Sister Mary Downy in Disaster!; Rona opposite Mo Rocca in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; The Wicked Witch in Shrek; Sister Act; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; The Thing About Men; Unbroken Circle; and Forbidden Broadway: SVU. TV: The King of Queens; Law & Order; and Law & Order: SVU. Film: The Flintstones Viva Rock Vegas; Wish You Were Dead; Non-Stop; Respect the Jux. Theater nominations for featured actress/performer include 1 Lucille Lortel, 2 Drama Leagues and 4 Drama Desks.

Thomas Caruso (Director)

Southern Comfort (Barrington Stage & CAP21), Matilda (Associate Director), Ghost (National Tour), Barefoot In The Park (Surflight), Shipwrecked, Around The World In 80 Days (Penguin Rep), Wood, Therapy Rocks (NYMF), The Chalks, Earth To Bucky (Bay Street Theatre), Zombie (Off-Broadway), Mimi Le Duck (Off Broadway), Bingo (Off-Broadway), The Butcherhouse Chronicles (SPF), Off Season (Gloucester Stage), Master Class (National Tour), Two Boys (Rattlestick). Broadway Associate Director credits include: Matilda, Ghost, Mamma Mia!, Bombay Dreams, and Follies.

Ryan Kasprzak (Choreographer)

NBC's Smash (Asst. Choreographer). Nat'l Tours: Billy Elliot (Associate Resident Choreographer / Dance Captain), Fosse (Dance Captain). TV: Fox's So You Think You Can Dance, commercials for Hershey's, White House Black Market, Sun Drop. Ryan creates new work with multi Drama Desk Award nominated Parallel Exit: Physical Comedy Theater. Their production of This Way, That Way prompted the NY Times to say Kasprzak, "can get laughs simply by breathing" and their comic tap musical Time Step has been seen at the New Victory Theater, Joyce SoHo, Lincoln Center Institute and Cos Festival in Spain. Their show Exit Stage Left was presented at the Queens Theater and is currently playing variety theaters throughout Germany. Ryan recently choreographed Volleygirls at NYMF (Best of Fest). Resident faculty at The Performing Arts Project. Guest artist and alumnus of Marymount Manhattan College. Love, gratitude to Family and MSA.

Martyn Axe (Musical Director)

Martyn has Music Directed, Composed, and produced music all over the world for theater including the West End and Broadway. Credits include Cats, Dirty Dancing, Tarzan, Saturday Night Fever, Mamma Mia, Nine To Five, Frankenstein, Starlight Express, and Trip Of Love. He is very excited to be a part of ACADEMIA NUTS.

James J. Fenton (Scenic Design)

Off-Broadway: Drop Dead Perfect (St. Clements); Fall to Earth (59E59); Navy Pieir (Theatre Row). Selected NY: When We Met; Southern Comfort, the Musical (CAP21); Sight Unseen; Maiden’s Prayer; Orange Flower Water (InProximity Theatre Company); God Steeling (Theatre 54); Speaking in Tongues (Australian Made Entertainment). Selected Regional: Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith; Mrs. Mannerly (Merrimack Repertory); Southern Comfort the Musical; Dancing Lessons (Barrington Stage); The How and the Why; Hound of the Baskervilles (Penguin Repertory); Kunstler (Hudson Stage Co).

Sam Gordon (Lighting Design)

is thrilled to be working on ACADEMIA NUTS. A few recent projects include Driving Miss Daisy (Harbor Lights); Bella's Dream (Going to Tahiti Productions); 2014 Distinguished Faculty Dance Concert (NYU Steinhardt); Rhythm in Motion (American Tap Dance Foundation); Since Africa (Red Fern). Sam is also a guest artist at several high schools throughout the tri-state area. When not in the theatre, Sam can be found figure skating or playing with ducks and geese. Thank you to the entire ACADEMIA NUTS team for this opportunity to collaborate together. For more information please visit

Andrew Keister (Sound Design)

Broadway: Godspell, Company, Taller Than a Dwarf. Off Broadway: Book of the Dead, 2nd Avenue at the Public Theater; The Water Engine at the Atlantic Theatre; Power Plays; The New Bozena. Regional: Tommy at the Stratford Festival, Company at Cincinnati Playhouse; Palm Beach at the La Jolla Playhouse; Mineola Twins at Trinity Repertory Company. Associate Sound Design credits include: Catch Me If You Can, Jersey Boys, Hairspray, and Mary Poppins.

Bryan Prywes (Props Design)

Bryan, an ex-trivia host, is proud to be part of the ACADEMIA NUTS team. Past credits include: Props: John W. Engeman Theatre (Wait Until Dark, Boeing Boeing, Other Desert Cities, Plaza Suite, Deathtrap), Barrington Stage Company (2013 Summer Season – including On the Town, The Chosen, Much Ado About Nothing), Stoneham Theatre (I Capture the Castle, Lumberjacks in Love, Double Indemnity), Company One (The Aliens). Scenic: Riverside Theatre Works (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Our Town). Carpentry: Blue Man Group, Barrington Stage Company, American Repertory Theatre. For more info please visit

Jason A. Quinn (Stage Manager)

Broadway: Tale of Two Cities, Cabaret, Phantom, Urban Cowboy, Candide with the NY Philharmonic, pre-Broadway Normal Heart, First Date, Annie Get Your Gun, In My Life. Tour: Tommy Tune’s Dr. Dolittle. Big Apple Circus. Off-Broadway: Criss Angel Mindfreak, Rooms: A Rock Romance, Scott Wittman’s Jukebox Jackie, Roundabout’s Howard Katz, Beyond Glory, The Overwhelming. For BC/EFA: Broadway Bares, Easter Bonnet, Broadway on Broadway; for The Actor’s Fund: The Visit, Nothing Like A Dame. Events: Reopening the Statue of Liberty after 9/11, GLAAD Media Awards, US Open, Clinton Global Initiative; events for Miller Light, VH1, New Yorker Magazine, NY Yankees, and the NFL.

Sarah Tschirpke (Assistant Stage Manager)

Broadway/Radio City: Zarkana (Cirque du Soleil/Radio City & Madrid), The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, Jersey Boys, Phantom of the Opera. National Tours: Anything Goes, Jersey Boys, Little Shop of Horrors, Porgy & Bess, Young Frankenstein, 101 Dalmatians, Little House on the Prairie. Off-Broadway/NY: Irish Repertory, LaMama, Signature Theatre, Flambe Dreams (NYMF). Regional: Paper Mill, Denver Center, North Shore, National Theatre Conservatory, Northern Stage, Colonial Theatre, Ogunquit, NJ Ballet.

Cindi Rush Casting (Casting Director)

NY: Under My Skin, Silence!, Anthem, Homo, Legacy Falls, Mother Wife, God’s Country, Bonnie and Clyde, Foreverman, My Mother’s Jewish Lesbian Wiccan Wedding, Rooms, Jacques Brel, Urinetown. Upcoming: Disenchanted, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, Serrano, Freed, Madam, Galactic Cigarettes. Many Regional Theaters including Triad Stage, Hudson Stage Company, Penguin Rep, Pittsburgh Public, Charleston Stage Co. Film: The Woman (Sundance 2012), Ghoul, Theresa is a Mother, Jugface (Slamdance 2013), In The Family (Independent Spirit 2012), The Grief of Others. Consultant, NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

Joe Trentacosta (Press Representative)

Joe Trentacosta is president of JT-PR, a full service boutique public relations firm. With over 15 years of experience, he has handled numerous projects on and Off-Broadway, films in release, film festivals, non-profit organizations, special events, and corporate launches.

Ulmer Theatricals – Liz Ulmer (General Manager)

Credits include: Wing-Man (Ars Nova); Independents (Soho Playhouse) (NY Times Critic's Pick); I Got Fired: The Revenge Musical (Daegu Opera House/South Korea); and Twilight: A Musical Parody Concert (New World Stages). Award-winning productions with NYMF include The Awakening of Angel DeLuna, Flambé Dreams, Date of a Lifetime, and Baby Case. Her charity concerts have benefitted Artists Striving to End Poverty and the Human Rights Campaign, among others. Member, Off-Broadway Alliance. Graduate, Ithaca College.

Charissa Bertels (Producer)

Charissa is proud to make her producing debut with ACADEMIA NUTS, having been with it from the beginning! Performer credits include: A Christmas Story (Broadway & Madison Square Garden), Gentleman Prefer Blondes (Encores! and cast album), Saving Aimee (New York Workshop & 5th Avenue Theatre) and Stunt Girl (Manhattan Theatre Club). Her greatest artistic passion is for new musicals and she is a sight-singing ninja.

Samantha Saltzman (Assistant Director)

Directing credits include: Madam Fury's Traveling Show, MTA Cabaret (Barrington Stage), 10 Minute Musicals (Barrington Stage), the 2012 NYMF Hub concert series, Composers Sing Composers, In Trousers, No Moves Back, No More Waiting, Line. Associate and Assistant directing credits include: Sarah Brightman's Dreamchaser World Tour, On the Town (Barrington Stage), Southern Comfort (Barrington Stage), Man of Rock (NYMF), Trails (NYMF). Production credits include: Rock of Ages (Broadway and Off-Broadway). Drama League Directing Fellow.

07/07/2014 - TheaterMania - Avenue Q's Stephanie D'Abruzzo Explains Geek Culture, High School Oddballs, and NYMF

07/07/2014 - - Academia Nuts at the New York Musical Theatre Festival

07/01/2014 - - New ‘Academia Nuts’ musical features WW Walruses

07/01/2014 - Review Fix - Review Fix Exclusive: Becca Anderson Talks ‘Academia Nuts’: Sneak Peek

07/01/2014 - Theater in the Now - Spotlight On...Jennifer Simard

06/27/2014 - - Snow Queens! Abraham Lincoln! Oprah? 10 NYMF Shows That We're Excited About This Summer

06/25/2014 - Garden State Journal - NYMF Highlight: Academia Nuts

06/24/2014 - - Photo Flash: Sneak Peak - In Rehearsal with NYMF's ACADEMIA NUTS

06/18/2014 - - Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Jay Thomas and More Will Rock NYMF Musicals

06/12/2014 - TheaterMania - Academia Nuts to Be Featured During the New York Musical Theatre Festival

06/12/2014 - - ACADEMIA NUTS Kicks Off This Year's NYMF, 7/9-13

01/28/2013 - - Dee Hoty Appears in Nerd-Rock Musical ACADEMIA NUTS at Lincoln Center Tonight

10/19/2012 - Emerging Musical Theatre - I Speak (Musical Theatre) Geek

05/03/2012 - NYU Tisch - GMTWP Writer's Group Helps Students Transition After Graduation