If two outings on the silver screen hadn't yet fulfilled your fictional Steve Jobs quota, you're in luck: Apple's co-founder and former CEO is being resurrected for yet another mythological adventure — this one on the Great White Way.
Per Rolling Stone, both Jobs and longtime rival Bill Gates are the lead roles in Nerds, a musical theater production heading to Broadway's Longacre Theatre on April 21. Penned by Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner (of Robot Chicken fame) and scored by Hal Goldberg, the show has actually been around in various forms since 2005.
After an initial premiere at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, the buddy-comedy satire won Barrymore Awards for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Original Music during its 2007 Philadelphia run, and returned to Philadelphia stages again in late 2013.
Now, Nerds appears set for a Broadway run — with a bevy of new tech that includes:
... onstage holograms, projection mapping, and an interactive, in-show app that will let audience members engage with each other and select the show's ending.
Now, I love musicals, as anyone who's seen my Hamilton-obsessed Twitter feed can attest. And I love technology. But I can't say the idea of being in a theater lit by smartphone screens — while watching yet another portrait of Jobs take the stage — particularly enthuses me with joy or anticipation.
I get that theaters are trying to get butts in seats and worried about the smartphone's hold during a show, but the answer does not lie in integrating your iPhone into the theatrical process. Choose your own adventure? Really?
While I'm glad we're not seeing yet another biopic variation on the lives of the two tech titans, I wonder just how different the show's creators are thinking. Will Nerds go into alternate-universe territory? Are audiences expected to vote throughout the show, like a demented focus group? "Rather than clapping after Bill and Steve's exuberant song about making a dent in the universe, please pull out your smartphones and tell us whether Steve should call Bill a jerk and storm off to his pirate tech lair or they should form a new tech company together."
Don't get me wrong: Nerds likely has satiric joy buried within its technological terrors — Allen-Dutton and Weiner both have the writing chops and the tech background to make the piece sing. I just wonder why Broadway is digging up an 11-year-old pseudo-biographical show and praying its gizmos, gadgets, and guffaws will intrigue audiences enough to go buy a ticket. Does anyone really want to see another Steve Jobs fabrication this decade?
I suppose I should look on the bright side: At least the updated show isn't planning to parody Hamilton.