Chesterton Tribune



CHS grads direct star in 'Gutenberg, The Musical' Aug. 3-5, 10-12 at Art Barn

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I’d just like to say, it was pretty scary trying to set the most important moment in history to music.

So remarks Bud Davenport, a character in the Ensemble Theatre Company’s (ETC) production of Gutenberg! The Musical! by Anthony King and Scott Brown, directed by and starring CHS graduates Zachary Gipson and Dustin Ritchea with Rachael Lauer on piano.

This musical comedy will run Friday through Sunday, Aug. 3-5 and Aug. 10-12, at The Art Barn, 695N 400E in Jackson Township.

Performance times: 8 p.m. on Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at or by calling (800) 838-3006.

This hilarious two-person musical production showcases the creative work of characters Doug Simon and Bud Davenport, who’ve just finished writing an “original musical” about Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. These aspiring playwrights are eager to get their musical on Broadway and decide to present it to an audience chock-full of Broadway producers. By playing over 20 characters, Doug and Bud take the audience on a wild, comedic ride they’ll be hard “pressed” to forget.

“After 40 great years, The Art Barn is experiencing a ‘renaissance,’” says Sharon Angelina, the office manager at The Art Barn. “Hosting Gutenberg! The Musical! is bringing a whole new dimension of artistic excitement to our unparalleled community venue. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Gutenberg! The Musical! was originally produced as a 45-minute one-act at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York before it moved to Off-Broadway, where it was nominated for Best Musical at the Lortel and Outer Critic's Circle Awards, as well as Best Book and Best Director of a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards. The musical promises to be “Awfully good and hilariously bad,” or--as Gipson and Ritchea’s tongue-in-cheek marketing claim--“This show is to musical theatre what the McRib is to McDonalds.”

“We’re very excited to be doing this show,” says Gipson, who will be performing Doug Simon and is the creative director of Ensemble Theatre Company. “ETC’s mission is to create accessible art with outstanding individuals who strive for excellence. This is an incredibly creative piece that I have wanted to produce for years, and I am happy to be working so closely with such passionate individuals.”

Gipson was a CHS Sandpiper who graduated in 2006. He is a freelance scenic designer in the Chicagoland and NWI Region and is the current Assistant Director of Theatre at Culver Academies. He is also a Chicago Non-Equity Jeff-nominated scenic designer with multiple Northwest Indiana Excellence in Theatre Foundation (NIETF) awards and nominations, including the Actor of the Year Award.

“This is probably the most difficult production I have ever worked on,” says Ritchea, who will be performing Bud Davenport, “but it is definitely the funniest. Zach and I are performing over 20 characters in little more than an hour-and-a-half. We play everything from women to monks, and it’s really rewarding to be producing theatre in my hometown for an organization that has never put on a production before.”

Ritchea graduated from CHS in 2009 and was also a Sandpiper. He has been performing since he was 5 years old and was nominated by NIETF for best principal actor in a play for his role in Chicago Street Theatre's production of Orson's Shadow. Ritchea currently works as the Promotions Director for Indiana Dunes Tourism in Porter and as a therapeutic dramatist for Parkdale Recovery Center in Chesterton.

Both Gipson and Ritchea are thrilled to be back in The Region producing theatre for their old stomping grounds. “We’re artists,” says Gipson, “and we want to entertain our community.”

“Sometimes a piece of theatre has something profound to say,” Ritchea says. Other times it just wants to make your day a little brighter. I’ll let you take a guess which one Gutenberg! The Musical! is.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit



Posted 7/17/2018




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