Musical Comedy-Drama/ Multiple Characters, 5 actors minimum (gender-blind casting encouraged)/ Full Length, Two Acts
Synopsis (from the Globe and Mail [Toronto]): “McLuhan: The Musical is nothing less than an attempt to dramatize the ideas of the late media theorist who was briefly the toast of the Western world (remember his cameo appearance in the film Annie Hall?) before his notions fell into obscurity in the Eighties.
“Moher, like media heavyweights such as Lewis Lapham, believes McLuhan’s time has come again simply because the world he predicted has come to pass . . . . Rummaging in his playwright’s toolbox, Moher decides to recount this hyperspace narrative as a medieval morality play. Herbert Marshall McLuhan is born, about the same time as radio, on a farm near Edmonton. He endures the torment of being a colonial hayseed at Oxford, and makes his way to a teaching post in America, where he becomes fascinated by advertising’s grip on the human mind. He returns to Canada just in time for the invention of TV.
“Bright, childlike theatrical trickery attends the tale. Teenage Marshall twists a radio dial. Suddenly the stage blacks-out and two puppets — little Marshall and a sort of radio spirit — are hovering in an electronic void . . . . Here he learns about Electronic Space, with its wonderful promise of being everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
“McLuhan panics as his ideas take on a life of their own, and his warning about the future — because, in truth, he hates and fears the new electronic world — is twisted into a celebration . . . . The play ends with McLuhan longing for the dense, sun-baked real-ness of his childhood prairie soil.”
“All the senses were gleefully aggressed and we were in for a night of razzle-dazzle . . . A very entertaining, lively, and intelligent show.”
– CBC Radio (Ottawa)
“A revelatory experience . . . . A good review of McLuhan: The Musical is almost redundant: the word of mouth is doing it all.”
– The Ottawa Express
“McLuhan succeeds because it never loses its sense of fun . . . . [it] conveys the life story of Marshall McLuhan, but more important, it compares the utopian aspirations of a generation which saw the introduction of the electronic mass media to the complex reality of a wired society.”
– The University of Ottawa Charlatan
“Combines fantasy, humour, and great musical numbers for an evening of enjoyable intellectual stimulation . . . . Whether you’re a communication theory buff, or a musical theatre patron, McLuhan: The Musical is sure to please.”
– The Fulcrum (Ottawa)
“McLuhan would probably be amused. And, in one or two transcendent moments, perhaps even a little honored.”
– The Ottawa Citizen
Performance rights must be secured before production
Amateur and professional rights:
Single Lane Entertainment,
650 Little Blvd.,
Gabriola Island, B.C.,
Ph.: (in North America) 1-855-757-9216 or 250-247-9216
Playwright’s website: FrankMoher.com
About the Playwright: Frank Moher’s plays have been produced internationally, at theatres including South Coast Repertory (Costa Mesa, Calif.), Detroit Repertory Theatre, Round House Theatre (Silver Spring, Maryland), the Canadian Stage Company (Toronto), the Wellington Repertory Theatre (Wellington, New Zealand), Workshop West Theatre (Edmonton, Alta.), the Asolo Theater (Sarasota, Fla.), Alberta Theatre Projects (Calgary), Dodona Theatre (Prishtina, Kosova), The Mingei Theatre (Tokyo), and OmaDa Theatre (Athens, Greece). He has won a Los Angeles Drama-Logue Award for Writing (for Odd Jobs), the Edmonton Sterling Award for Outstanding New Play (for both The Third Ascent and Prairie Report,), and is published by both ProPlay and the Playwrights Guild of Canada.Frank has taught at the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta (where he was a Distinguished Visiting Artist), and is currently an instructor in scriptwriting and journalism at Vancouver Island University. He has also worked professionally as a literary manager and dramaturg, and writes regularly for various magazines and newspapers, including backofthebook.ca. His most recent play, Big Baby, has been seen in Calgary, Los Angeles, and widely in Europe, and a musical, Moonbound!, with music co-written by Antonio Gradanti, which premiered in 2014, is now available on ProPlay.
McLuhan: The Musical
was premiered by The Great Canadian Theatre Company, Ottawa, in October, 1994.Also by Frank Moher on ProPlay: