International Theatre production with a local connection

From a corporate break room to the tents of the Occupy movement, a displaced accountant struggles to remain relevant in an unconventional approach to the award-winning Adding Machine: A Musical. Performed by the University of Rochester's International Theatre Program, the musical opens at the University's Todd Theatre on Thursday, April 12.

"The production takes a fresh look at what happens when a person is pushed to the limit and is forced to re-examine life and priorities," said Nigel Maister, artistic director of Rochester's International Theatre Program and director of this production.

Based on the 1923 play by Elmer Rice, the celebrated musical is about an accountant, aptly named Mr. Zero, whose job is taken over by a machine. This drives the embittered and emotionally repressed man to murder and, eventually, to his death. Finding himself in the afterlife, he discovers the possibility of radical self-actualization and is given a second chance at life and love.

The musical, like Rice's original, is set in the 1920s and features multiple musical styles and genres. According to Maister, the production "demonstrates the unsettling relevance of Elmer Rice's story to our community," and even has a local connection to the subject of the musical: the adding machine.

Longtime University supporter George W. Todd built his fortune manufacturing check-writing machines, founding a corporation called the Todd Protectograph Company. The technology of the Protectograph paved the way for the development of the adding machine. Todd went on to use some of his fortune to become one of the University's first major donors and, subsequently, the namesake of Todd Union, the home of the University's Theatre Program.

Adding Machine's artistic team includes musical director John Baxandine, who has worked on and off-Broadway in orchestration and musical direction; Elliott Reiland, a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts; and award-winning scenic and costume designer Marsha Ginsberg. Sound design is by Will Pickens, a frequent collaborator with the Rochester International Theatre Program and Geva Theatre Center. Thomas Dunn designs the lighting and C. Andrew Bauer joins the team as the video and productions designer.

Adding Machine opens on Thursday, April 12, and runs through Sunday, April 29, in Todd Theatre on the River Campus. Tickets are $10 for Rochester students; $10 for alumni, faculty, staff, and seniors (55 and over); and $15 for the general public. Tickets may be purchased up to an hour before each performance at the box office. They also are available online at, or by calling (585) 275-4088.