The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School


The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School


The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School


Concert Choir Visits NYC to See “Gutenberg! The Musical!”

Choir members pose for a photo with the stars of Gutenburg! Courtesy of Barry Wyner

The LHS concert choir embarks on trips to Broadway approximately two times a year. These trips are a special tradition for the advanced chorus; in the past, chorus teacher Barry Wyner chaperoned the musicians to performances of musicals such as Moulin Rouge!, Beetlejuice, Into the Woods, and Hadestown. The choir’s trip to the Theater District on Tuesday, Oct. 10, however, was special in a new way; the students watched the penultimate preview of Gutenberg! The Musical!, followed by a talkback with none other than the stars of the show, Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells. 

The concert choir’s history with Gutenberg! goes back further than when they were informed that seeing the musical was on the agenda. Many years ago, Wyner was instrumental to the production and writing of Gutenberg!, as he was responsible for the original arrangements of the music. “It was just surreal to the nth degree. It was beyond surreal. That show was a big part of my life, a certain chapter for a few years in the early 2000s, and I played it every week for about two years with two of my closest friends, and we developed it together,” Wyner reminisced.

When it went off-Broadway, Wyner thought it was the end of the show’s journey, but 15 years later, the show is now being produced on Broadway with two celebrities. “It was surreal to think that this little project you did with your friends could reach Broadway, but seeing it with my students, I feel so much affection for it,” Wyner said, smiling. He is still friends with the writers of the musical, Scott Brown and Anthony King.

On the day of the trip, the fourth period class was bustling with excitement. The first 10 minutes of class time that Tuesday consisted of watching Jimmy Fallon’s interview with Gad and Rannells, along with scouring a student’s Playbill from a previous screening to find Wyner’s credit.

At 4:43 pm, students departed from Lynbrook to Penn Station. Countless selfies were taken on the LIRR ride amidst countless questions: What will we eat for dinner at the restaurant? What questions will we ask at the talkback? What merchandise will we buy during intermission? Will we have enough room in our stomachs for dessert?

No concert choir Broadway trip is complete without food, and the students dined at concert choir’s traditional Broadway trip dinner location, the Playwright Celtic Pub. As they sipped Shirley Temples and munched on Messy Burgers, they discussed what they were most excited about for the show, which for many students, was the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a talkback with the stars. The early dinner reservation and later showtime even allowed time for dessert, an extra special treat for what would continue to be an extra special evening.

Concert Choir huddles for a photo outside theater. Courtesy of Zachary Buxton

At 8 pm, the show began. Choir members settled in the James Earl Jones Theatre as they posted the stereotypical Broadway photo: the Gutenberg! Playbill with the stage in the background. Gutenberg! is unique from other Broadway musicals in that it is a musical inside a musical, and there were only five performers on the stage at any given time: two actors and three pit orchestra musicians. In other words, Gad and Rannells played every single role in the musical. How can only two men portray the myriad of different characters in Gutenberg!? The answer: hats. Over 100 different hats are used throughout the nearly two-hour musical; Gad and Rannell’s utilization of them included stacks of multiple hats being worn at one, hats attached to one another on a stick, and hats being arranged together in a sort of hanging curtain.

Funnily enough, both Gad and Rannells enjoy the moments in the show where they’re not wearing any hats. Rannells’ favorite hat that he wears is that of Beef Fat Trimmer, who also happens to be Gad’s favorite character in the show. In the talkback, the two stars both joked that Beef Fat Trimmer deserved more stage time, maybe even a solo song. Gad expressed, “I love playing the Monk, but my body does not.” The producers have their favorite show moments, too. King commented that he loves when Rannells plays Helvetica, Gutenberg’s young female assistant; Rannells manages to make the audience cackle without saying any actual jokes. 

The choir members were starstruck for the entire evening, but the excitement continued when a celebrity guest producer was brought out at the end of the show. The guest was none other than Leslie Odom, Jr., most known for his role as Aaron Burr in Hamilton. “I am a huge Hamilton fan, so getting to see Leslie Odom, Jr. was definitely one of the best moments of the night. I love his work, and it was so cool to see him in person,” reflected sophomore Jackson Reiser.

Perhaps the most surreal part of the night for many was the talkback at the conclusion of the show with Gad, Rannells, and King. The students migrated from their mezzanine seats to the front two rows of the orchestra section and had only 15 minutes to ask the actors, King, and the stage manager their burning questions. In this short talkback, the students learned about what the rehearsal and preview processes were like and discovered that both Gad and Rannells prefer stage acting over screen acting. Additionally, choir members who are a part of the upcoming school musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, sang a snippet of “Go, Go, Go Joseph” with Gad, who was able to successfully identify junior Jack Ceglie as the show’s title character, Joseph. For sophomore Sophia Schoen, this talkback was the most memorable part of the night: “[Rannells and Gad] are both such genuine people offstage, and it was an honor getting to talk to them.”

Of course, there was not enough time for all questions to be asked. Reiser was hoping to hear how both Gad and Rannells started acting. “I want to know how they got started and where they found the confidence to do what they do,” Reiser shared.

At 10:25 pm, the race home began. The most ambitious choir members ran the 15 blocks back to Penn Station in 15 minutes; nonetheless, everyone made it on the 10:52 train back to Lynbrook. Albeit tired, the students were going home having had the experience of a lifetime.


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About the Contributor
Gianna Longo
Gianna Longo, Managing Editor
Hey there! My name’s Gianna, and I’m a member of the Class of 2025, along with many clubs here at LHS. In my spare time, you can find me on the stage, in the music wing, at my dance studio, or writing and editing for Horizon. Happy reading!