- Book by Joe Meno
- Music & Lyrics by Adam Gwon
- Based on novel The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno
- Scenic Design Derek McLane
- Costume Design Kathleen Geldard
- Lighting Design Chris Lee
- Sound Design Matt Rowe
- Orchestrations Andy Einhorn
- Music Directon Gabriel Mangiante
- Choreographed by Karma Camp
- Directed by Joe Calarco
The Boy Detective Fails, based on Joe Meno’s acclaimed novel, tells the story of Billy Argo, “boy detective.” In the twilight of a childhood full of wonder, a broken-hearted Billy faces a mystery he can’t comprehend – the shocking death of his young sister and crime-solving partner, Caroline. Ten years later, a 30-year old Billy returns to his quiet New Jersey town after an extended stay at St. Vitus’ Hospital for the mentally ill. Although determined to solve the mystery of Caroline’s death and right old wrongs, he instead discovers a world full of unimaginable strangeness, beauty and love.
“An extremely talented composer and lyricist” who “is seriously going places.” — The New York Sun, StageSpace.com
Read director Joe Calarco’s blog on the artistic process!
Click here to read an excerpt of Joe Meno’s The Boy Detective Fails novel.
American Musical Voices Project Repertory Series
Signature Theatre’s 2011/12 season launches with the pioneering AMVP Rep: a pair of world premiere musicals that make theatre history by running full productions in rotating repertory.
Sponsored by the Shen Family Foundation.
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Evan Casey (Killer Kowalzavich / Dale Hardly / Ensemble) SIGNATURE: Holiday Mayhem Cabaret, Tamar and the River (21/24 workshop), Urinetown, Ten Unknowns, Allegro. NEW YORK: NYMF: River's End. DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Snow White, Rose Red (and Fred), Tales of Custard the Dragon; Ford’s Theatre: Little Shop of Horrors, Meet John Doe, Shenandoah; Olney Theatre: Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof, Lend Me a Tenor; Studio Theatre 2ndstage: TempOdyssey, Dog Sees God; Shakespeare Theatre, Round House Theatre, Rep Stage, Theater of the First Amendment, Imagination Stage, Bay Theatre Company. REGIONAL: North Carolina Theatre, Everyman Theatre, New London Barn Playhouse. FILM: Bare Knuckle, Treasure Hunt, Flanking The Sentinel, Jargon. TV: Missing Person’s Unit, Stage Fright. OTHER: Capitol Steps. EDUCATION: Catholic University, London Dramatic Academy. TEACHING: Signature Theatre Stage One, National Conservatory of Dramatic Art, Howard Community College, Round House Theatre, Adventure Theatre.
Sherri L. Edelen (Therapist / Ensemble) SIGNATURE: Side by Side by Sondheim, Walter Cronkite is Dead., Sweeney Todd, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award), Urinetown, Elegies (Helen Hayes nomination), Side Show (Helen Hayes Award). DC AREA: Kennedy Center/Sondheim Celebration: Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along; Shakespeare Theatre: Design for Living; Olney Theatre: She Loves Me (Helen Hayes nomination); Rep Stage: Kimberly Akimbo; Round House Theatre: The World Goes ‘Round, The Diary of Anne Frank; Arena: Cabaret (Helen Hayes nomination); REGIONAL: NY Fringe Festival: Citizen Ruth; Arden Theatre: Our Town; Caroline, or Change (Barrymore nomination); Philadelphia Theatre Co.: The Light in the Piazza (Barrymore Award), Elegies (Barrymore nomination); Stages St. Louis: The Music Man, Annie Get Your Gun.
James Gardiner (Fenton) SIGNATURE: I Capture the Castle (21/24 workshop), [title of show], Chess, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Ensemble), Kiss of the Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, The Witches of Eastwick, Saving Aimee. BROADWAY: Glory Days (book writer). DC AREA: Ford's Theatre: Liberty Smith, A Christmas Carol (Associate Director); Library of Congress: West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Concert; Everyman Theatre: A Tribute to Irving Berlin; Olney Theatre: Call of the Wild; Woolly Mammoth/UM: The Distance From Here; Kennedy Center: The Phantom Tollbooth, The Brand New Kid; Round House Theatre: A Prayer for Owen Meany; Studio Theatre: Dog Sees God. REGIONAL: Williamstown Theatre Festival: Home Free!, Create Fate, This is a Chair. FILM: Boys (Kellogg Curry Jr.). EDUCATION: University of Maryland, BA, Theatre. UPCOMING: Olney Theatre: You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Anika Larsen (Penny Maple) BROADWAY: Avenue Q, Xanadu, All Shook Up, Rent. OFF-BROADWAY: Zanna, Don’t!; How to Save the World and Find True Love in 90 Minutes; Miracle Brothers; Shafrika, The White Girl. NATIONAL TOUR: Avenue Q, Xanadu, Rent. EDUCATION: BA, Theater Studies, Yale University. Member, Actors Equity Association. Co-Founder, Jaradoa Theater.
Tracy Lynn Olivera (Violet Dew / Nurse / Ensemble) SIGNATURE: Les Misérables (Fantine, Helen Hayes nomination), Anyone Can Whistle in Concert, ACE, The Happy Time, Merrily We Roll Along (Helen Hayes nomination); Allegro (Helen Hayes nomination); Follies; Side Show; Sweeney Todd; Mack and Mabel in concert, and many concerts and cabarets. BROADWAY: Ragtime (2009 revival). DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Ragtime, Sunday in the Park with George, Passion, Merrily We Roll Along; Shakespeare Theatre: Candide; Ford’s Theatre: Liberty Smith, Meet John Doe, Shenandoah, A Christmas Carol, Songs from the Tall Grass; Folger Theatre: Comedy of Errors; MetroStage: Closer Than Ever, The Last Five Years; Olney Theatre: West Side Story, Grease, Carousel (Helen Hayes nomination); Rorschach: company member, Rough Magic, J .B., God of Vengeance. REGIONAL: Goodman: Candide. EDUCATION: Catholic University. Faculty, Catholic University.
Margo Seibert (Caroline Argo) SIGNATURE: Tamar and the River & The Boy Detective Fails (21/24 workshop), Saving Aimee. NEW YORK: Old Vic New Voices: Taming of the Shrew; Barrow Street Theatre: Josh Schmidt: Songbook; Columbia University: Hypochondria. REGIONAL: Goodman Theatre & Shakespeare Theatre: Candide (dir. Mary Zimmerman); Two River Theatre & Folger Theatre: Orestes: A Tragic Romp, Arcadia, School for Scandal; Ford’s Theatre: A Christmas Carol; Olney Theatre: Fiddler on the Roof, Of Mice and Men, Cinderella; Studio Theatre: Reefer Madness. NATIONAL TOUR: The Kennedy Center: The Phantom Tollbooth. EDUCATION: American University. www.margoseibert.com.
Thomas Adrian Simpson (Professor Von Golum) SIGNATURE: Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award), The Witches of Eastwick, My Fair Lady, Pacific Overtures, Urinetown, Twentieth Century, 110 in the Shade (2004 Helen Hayes nomination), Floyd Collins, Grand Hotel, Over and Over, Vera, The Raft of the Medusa, Mack and Mabel. DC AREA: Ford’s Theatre: Liberty Smith, Meet John Doe, 1776, A Christmas Carol; Arena Stage: The Light in the Piazza, The Fantasticks; Shakespeare Theatre: Candide; Kennedy Center: Regina (w/ Patti LuPone); Olney Theatre: Oh, Coward!, 1776, Oliver; Studio Theatre: Adding Machine, A Musical. REGIONAL: Goodman Theatre: Candide; Wayside Theatre: Shenandoah, Man of La Mancha; Delaware Theatre Co.: A Murder A Mystery and A Marriage. EDUCATION: N.C. School of the Arts.
Stephen Gregory Smith (Billy Argo) SIGNATURE: Sunset Boulevard, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award for Best Ensemble), Kiss of the Spider Woman, Into the Woods (Jack), My Fair Lady, Assassins (Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald), Pacific Overtures, The Highest Yellow, One Red Flower (Billy), Allegro (Charlie), 110 in the Shade (Jimmy, 2004 Helen Hayes Award), Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Grand Hotel, Gypsy. DC AREA: DCAC: High Fidelity (Rob) Studio Theatre: Adding Machine: A Musical (SHRDLU) MetroStage: tick, tick…BOOM! (Jon); Ford’s Theatre: The Civil War, Meet John Doe; Arena Stage: Damn Yankees; Kennedy Center: Regina; Wolf Trap: Street Scene (Dick); Olney Theatre: The Secret Garden (Dickon) CABARET: Swinging Santas, The Stephen Gregory Smith Show, Insomneioke, Ebony and Ivory, The Last Garage Hurrah, Use What You Got. www.stephengregory.blogspot.com.
Russell Sunday (Detective Brown / Ensemble) SIGNATURE: Chess (Walter Anderson), Sweeney Todd (Ensemble, Sweeney u/s), Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Ensemble, Jean Val-Jean u/s performed). DC AREA: Studio Theatre: Jerry Springer: The Opera (Chucky, Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Ensemble); MetroStage: Closer than Ever, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!); Theatre J: David in Shadow and Light (Goliath); Toby’s Dinner Theatre: Jekyll and Hyde (Jekyll/Hyde, 2003 Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Male Lead), Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd), Titanic (Andrews), Aida (Radames), Miss Saigon (Chris), Kiss Me, Kate (Fred), Beauty and the Beast (Gaston & The Beast), Damn Yankees (Young Joe), Annie Get Your Gun (Frank Butler), Carousel (Billy Bigelow).
Harry A. Winter (Larry / Ensemble) NATIONAL TOURS: Gigi, Jolson: the Musical. DC AREA: Allegro, 110 in the Shade, Sunset Boulevard, Racing Demon, The Laramie Project, Circle Mirror Transformation, Pins and Needles, and Bringing Up Amy.
Joe Meno (Playwright and Author) REGIONAL: House Theatre of Chicago: Star Witness; Girl Go Bang: Don the Army Blue; Greasy Joan Theatre Company: Lady Into Fox; Redmoon Theatre: Once Upon a Time or the Secret Language of Birds; House Theatre of Chicago: The Boy Detective Fails; O Theatre: Love in Your Arms and a Knife in Your Heart. NOVELS: The Great Perhaps, The Boy Detective Fails, Hairstyles of the Damned and the short story collection Demons in the Spring. AWARDS: Nelson Algren Award, a Pushcart Prize, The Great Lakes Book Award, and a finalist for the Story Prize.
Adam Gwon (Music and Lyrics) NEW YORK: Roundabout Theatre Company: Ordinary Days. WEST END: Trafalgar Studios: Ordinary Days. REGIONAL: South Coast Repertory, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Human Race Theatre Company, Pennsylvania Centre Stage, Serenbe Playhouse, Peppermint Creek Theatre Company, others. RECORDINGS: Ordinary Days (Ghostlight Records). AWARDS: Kleban, Ebb, and Loewe awards for excellence in musical theater writing; ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Writing award; MAC John Wallowitch Award for outstanding songwriter under 35. COMMISSIONS: Signature Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Broadway Across America, EST/Sloan Project. FELLOWSHIPS: MacDowell Colony, Dramatists Guild. EDUCATION: NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. UPCOMING: Cloudlands (w/ Octavio Solis; world premiere, South Coast Repertory, spring 2012); Bernice Bobs Her Hair (w/ Julia Jordan; NAMT, 2011).
Joe Calarco (Director) SIGNATURE: Walter Cronkite is Dead., Assassins (Helen Hayes Award), Urinetown (Helen Hayes Award), Sideshow (Helen Hayes Award), Nijinsky’s Last Dance (Helen Hayes Award), Nest (world premiere), writer of the last five Signature in the Schools plays. OFF-BROADWAY: Playwrights Horizons: The Burnt Part Boys, Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky; Primary Stages: In Transit, Boy; Second Stage: in the absence of spring (writer/director); Lucille Lortel: Sarah, Plain and Tall; The Transport Group: Bury The Dead, The Audience (contributing book writer); Dream Light Theatre Company: Fugitive Songs. Shakespeare’s R&J (adaptor/director, Lucille Lortel Award, also West End and Tokyo). NATIONAL TOUR: Ring of Fire. REGIONAL: The Old Globe: Lincolnesque, (world premiere), The Glass Menagerie; Barrington Stage Company: The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (book writer/director), The Burnt Part Boys, The Memory Show; Philadelphia Theatre Co.: The Light in the Piazza (Barrymore Award), The Last Five Years (Barrymore Award Best Musical), Elegies, M. Butterfly; Drama League Directing Fellow, Executive Board SDC.
Karma Camp (Choreographer) SIGNATURE: over 35 productions, including Sunset Boulevard, Chess. Recipient and 7-time Helen Hayes Award nominee. BROADWAY: Avery Fisher Hall: Broadway Showstoppers w/ NY Philharmonic, The Graduate w/ Kathleen Turner. OFF-BROADWAY: Never the Sinner. NATIONAL TOUR: Ring of Fire, big. DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Merrily We Roll Along (Sondheim Celebration); over 30 plays at the Shakespeare Theatre; Arena Stage, Round House, Studio Theatre. REGIONAL: Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, McCarter Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, The Prince and Wilma Theatre. OPERA: Goya (w/ Placido Domingo); Washington Opera: Vanessa; Wolf Trap Opera Co.: Kurt Weill’s Street Scene. TV: In Performance At The White House-The Motown Sound, The Sounds of WWII (PBS), All My Children (ABC), over 25 international commercials. FILM: I Wanna Know. OTHER: Disney Entertainment: Villains Tonight, Snow White, Twice Charmed; 1992 Inaugural Gala for Al Gore (director/choreographer), NSO Pops with Marvin Hamlisch. Ms. Camp is a Signature Theatre Artistic Associate.
Andy Einhorn (Orchestrator) BROADWAY: Brief Encounter (Music Director), Sondheim on Sondheim (Conductor, Grammy nomination for Original Cast Album), The Light in the Piazza. NATIONAL TOURS: South Pacific, Sweeney Todd (Music Director), White Christmas, The Light in the Piazza, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!. REGIONAL: Houston Grand Opera: Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine/LaChiusa’s Send (Audra McDonald’s coach/pianist); Adirondack Theatre Festival/Roundabout Theatre Company: Ordinary Days (Orchestrations); PaperMill Playhouse/Philadelphia Theatre Company: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Music Director); Oregon Shakespeare Festival: She Loves Me (Orchestrations); Goodspeed: Radio Girl (Music Director); Flight of the Lawnchair Man, The Boy Friend; 92nd Street Y: Lyrics and Lyricists: Stage Door Canteen (Music Director/Orchestrations). MUSIC DIRECTOR/PIANIST: Audra McDonald (NY Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony), Barbara Cook (Feinstein’s, Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music), F. Murray Abraham (Carnegie Hall). EDUCATION: Honors graduate, Rice University.
Derek McLane (Scenic Design) BROADWAY: Anything Goes, How to Succeed…, Bengal Tiger, Million Dollar Quartet, Ragtime, 33 Variations, Grease, Lestat, Little Women, Grease, The Pajama Game (2006 Tony Award, Best Revival); The Threepenny Opera; Little Women; I Am My Own Wife (Tony Award, Best Play); Lestat; The Women; Present Laughter; London Assurance; Holiday; The Three Sisters. OFF-BROADWAY: Lie of the Mind, Starry Messenger, The Voysey Inheritance, Two Trains Running, Macbeth (Shakespeare in the Park), Hurlyburly, Abigail's Party Modern Orthodox, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Creadeux Canvas. DC AREA: Kennedy Center, Shakespeare Theatre, Arena Stage. OTHER: Resident theater work in London, Dublin, Glasgow, Moscow, Krakow, Caracas, Sydney, and Warsaw. Exhibited in the 2003 and 2007 Prague Quadrennial. AWARDS: 1997 and 2004 OBIE Awards, 2004, 2005, 2007 Lucille Lortel Awards; 2009 Tony Award, 2011 Drama Desk Award, Helen Hayes Award nominations.
Kathleen Geldard (Costume Design) SIGNATURE: Art, And the Curtain Rises (world premiere), Sunset Boulevard, Walter Cronkite is Dead. (world premiere), A Fox on the Fairway (world premiere), Chess, Sycamore Trees (world premiere), Sweeney Todd, I Am My Own Wife, Show Boat, See What I Wanna See, Les Misérables, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Happy Time. REGIONAL: La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Vineyard Playhouse, Studio Arena Theatre. DC AREA: Woolly Mammoth Theatre: Eclipsed; Round House Theatre: Permanent Collection, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Eurydice, Orson's Shadow, Life x 3; Imagination Stage: The Neverending Story (2008 Helen Hayes nomination), Twice Upon a Time, The Hundred Dresses; Kennedy Center's Theatre for Young Audiences, Olney Theatre Center; Folger Theatre; Studio Theatre Secondstage; Everyman Theatre; Theater J; Rep Stage. DANCE: Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.
Chris Lee (Lighting Design) SIGNATURE: Chess, Sweeney Todd (2010), Kiss Of The Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, The Word Begins, The Witches Of Eastwick, Saving Aimee, Into The Woods, Assassins, One Red Flower, Follies, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Grand Hotel, … in the absence of spring … , Side Show, Urinetown, Elegies: A Song Cycle. BROADWAY/WEST END: Fame Becomes Me, Linda Eder Live, Shakespeare’s R&J (Tokyo & London). OTHER: The Pajama Game (National Tour), The Backyardigans (National Tour), Barbie™ Live In Fairytopia™ (National Tour), Jesus Christ Superstar (European Tour). Twice Charmed, Remember The Magic, Disney’s Believe, and Disney’s Believe for Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, Peep Show for Planet Hollywood Las Vegas, the feature film Camp, and over 200 Off Broadway and Regional Theatre productions. His studio, Unit 10 Lighting, conceives and designs lighting for clients such as Coca Cola, Ford Motor Company, Sony Ericsson, American Express, and Intel. AWARDS: 2009 Helen Hayes Award, Kiss Of The Spider Woman.
Matt Rowe (Sound Design) SIGNATURE: Side by Side by Sondheim, And the Curtain Rises, Sunset Boulevard, Walter Cronkite is Dead., A Fox on the Fairway, Chess, Sycamore Trees, [title of show], Sweeney Todd, Show Boat, First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb, Dirty Blonde, Giant, The Little Dog Laughed, Les Misérables, Anyone Can Whistle in Concert, The Visit, The Happy Time, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Glory Days, Merrily We Roll Along, The Witches of Eastwick. DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Snow White, Rose Red (and Fred); Nobody’s Perfect.
Julie Meyer (Production Stage Manager) SIGNATURE: I Capture the Castle (21/24 workshop), Art, Sunset Boulevard, Walter Cronkite is Dead., Chess, Tamar and the River (21/24 workshop), [title of show], I Am My Own Wife, Show Boat, Dirty Blonde, The Boy Detective Fails (21/24 workshop), Giant, Glory Days, Les Misérables. OFF-OFF-BROADWAY: Fist in a Pocket: Washing Machine. REGIONAL: Lyric Theatre: Stephen Schwartz’s new musical Snapshots: a Musical Scrapbook, Disney’s High School Musical, Oklahoma! Evita, Singin’ in the Rain, Once on This Island; ReVision Theatre: Hair!, Scrooge in Rouge; Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre: Jane Eyre; Little Me; Dirty Blonde; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. EDUCATION: Rutgers University, MFA, Stage Management.
Walter Ware III (Assistant Director) ASSISTANT DIRECTION: SIGNATURE: Tamar and the River (21/24 workshop), 21/24 I Capture the Castle (21/24 workshop). DC AREA: Limelight Theatre: The Last Five Years; Montgomery College: Aida; CUA: Sweeney Todd, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Man of La Mancha, 1961 (Millennium Stage), The Lyrics of Dorothy Fields (Millennium Stage), Journey: Jason Robert Brown Revue; Mini: Our Town, The Diviners; DIRECTION: SIGNATURE: Family Cabaret (Target Open House). OTHER: How Do You Measure a Year: Jonathan Larson Revue, Dreams Do Come True: A Disney Revue!, Approaching Zanzibar, Promise Me. UPCOMING: Bat Boy.
Jeremiah Mullane (Assistant Stage Manager) SIGNATURE: Walter Cronkite is Dead., Chess, Tamar and the River (21/24 workshop), [title of show], Giant. DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Follies; Shakespeare Theatre: As You Like It, The Alchemist, The Way of The World, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Major Barbara. REGIONAL: Remy Bumppo Theatre Company: Fiction; Theatre Building Chicago: Tomorrow Morning, So Happy I Could Scream; North Shore Music Theatre: 2005/06 season; Kitchen Theatre Company: We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!, Swimming in the Shallows.