Current Repertory

Machinal. The Musical

after The Adding Machine by Elmer Rice

Machinal. The Musical

after The Adding Machine by Elmer Rice

Translation: Geanina Jinaru-Doboș
Joshua Schmidt
Jason Loewith și Joshua Schmidt
Alexander Hausvater
Musical Director:
Alexandru Burcă
Musical coordinator:
Mădălina Ene
Adina Mastalier
Assistant Scenography:
Źarić Ina și Mihnea Zemba
Florin Fieroiu
Assistant Director:
Patricia Katona
Music production:
Vlad Vedeș
Musical training:
Mădălina Ene, Andreea Dobia
Lighting design:
Bogdan Golumbeanu, Ion Vlașcu
Technical Director:
Cristian Paraschivescu

Premiere: 28.09.2022

Duration: 1 h 45 min / Pause: No

A co-production of the Bucharest National Theatre and the CREAS Association, the musical Machinal. The Musical, directed by Alexander Hausvater, is based on Elmer Rice's 1923 play The Adding Machine, considered at the time "the most original and intelligent play ever written by an American, the toughest, but also the most visionary play about modern society ever seen on Broadway".

A satire on the enslavement of human beings in the machine age, the play presents the life, strange death and then afterlife of a dull accountant, Mr. Zero. When Mr. Zero, a mere cog in the wheel of a business, learns that his work is to be taken over by a machine, he snaps and kills his boss. For the first time in his life, Mr. Zero takes his destiny into his own hands, an act whose consequences will send him to the next world, where he is offered a new chance at love, life and redemption.

In 2007, Joshua Schmidt transformed the play into a musical, giving the original text, as Michael Billington put it, "a comical and joyous wildness". Machinal. The Musical, a world premiere in Romania, directed by one of Romania's leading directors, Alexander Hausvater, is an exciting and comic noir musical, a story about the price of the human soul, underpinned by Joshua Schmidt's haunting score with gospel, opera, jazz and rock and roll influences.

More than two decades ago, Alexander Hausvater staged another masterpiece of the American expressionist drama at the National Theatre, Sophie Treadwell's Machinal. Many of the actors from the cast of Machinal reunite with Alexander Hausvater in this new theatrical adventure.

"Based on the classic play The Adding Machine by Elmer Rice, this musical has profound relevance to today's world where technology, electronic communication and automation have led to an unsettling conflict between man and his morality. As modern society has advanced technologically and scientifically, the relationship between humans within a community has deteriorated and increasingly falls under the banner of selfishness and materialism.

Dedicated to a general audience of all ages, this musical aims to express the protagonist's struggle for dignity, respect and truth. The civic side of the creation lies precisely in this struggle of an individual for his own rights. A struggle that will ultimately benefit the society to which the protagonist will return to, strengthened by his experiences.

From a theatrical point of view, this musical offers the opportunity for a group of different artists to express themselves in a musical manner, a genre that is still rather neglected in our country, both in theatres and in theatre schools. The performers in this show will have to become performers and combine acting with music and dance. Preparing for the show is longer and more complex than for a regular theatre performance, as the actor has to rehearse the music and choreography long before rehearsals with the director. Joshua Schmidt's music is also complex and innovative. It blends many styles from choral pieces to pop rock, from opera to music of the 20-s, 30-s. The expected impact is to familiarize the Romanian audience with a new and varied wave of musical genres that will undoubtedly lead to a better understanding between man and society, between the individual and the collective.

The show will emphasize the primary link between today's Romanian youth and music, which is the most preferred form of expression for any young person. The dynamism and energy of the story of a man who lives between two worlds has as its starting point the literature through which young people are warned about the mistakes made by the generation of their predecessors. Today's youth is drawn more than any other generation to the charms of modern technology in the form of mobile phones, computers, machines, tablets and apps of all kinds. How easy it is to get lost in this virtual world and forget about love, kindness, spirituality, communication and moral aspirations.

The show is meant to be a lesson in song and movement. It emphasizes the need for the modern man to fight against technological temptation, to reach a deeper understanding of the self and of the individual capabilities and potential.

It's a wake-up call. It's an apocalyptic vision. What happens to the protagonist could happen to any of us.” Alexander Hausvater               

A production of CREAS Association in partnership with the National Theatre Bucharest
Producer: Victor Bucur                                                                


Translated by Andreea Codrea-Boeriu 


Foto Florin Ghioca

Mr. Zero: Ioan Andrei Ionescu Ms Zero: Natalia Călin
Oana Berbec
Daisy: Florentina Ţilea
Medeea Marinescu
Shrdlu, Witness A: Istvan Teglas
Petre Ancuța
The Boss: Tomi Cristin Ms One, Ms Three, Witness B, Mother: Monica Davidescu
Iuliana Moise
Mr One, Mr. Eight, Witness C: Petre Ancuța Ms Two, Ms Three, Betty, Cook, Witness D: Fulvia Folosea
Mr Two, Witness E: Silviu Biriş Witness E, Police Officer, The Guard: Silviu Mircescu
Witness G, Pastor, Killer: Mihai Munteniţă Witness H: Daniel Burcea
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