History in the Telling

Ray Bradbury’s ‘2116’ has had a most unlikely road to the stage. Back in the 1950’s, film legend Charles Laughton and wife Elsa Lanchester asked Ray Bradbury if he would be interested in writing a musical for the two to perform in London. Ray told them that he would be delighted. The Laughtons then contacted eccentric director James Whale who designed the sets and began working on developing the project with Bradbury and composer, Ray Henderson. Before it could be completed director Whale was found dead and the project suffered the same untimely end.


Flash forward to 2009. Ray Bradbury still had the desire to make his “miniscule musicale.” The story was brought to Gallimaufry’s artistic director, Steve Josephson. With the story idea and some book & lyrics (no music had survived), Josephson contacted composer John Hoke. The two men fleshed out the material under the guidance of Mr. Bradbury. The new concept (with additional book and lyrics by Josephson) made its debut in November of 2009 in Laguna Beach and had a subsequent production in Pasadena that garnered rave reviews.


In 2010, Josephson premiered an expanded two-act version at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The new material, written by Josephson and approved and supervised by Bradbury, garnered the group more rave reviews and it became a finalist for "Best New Musical".


Up until Bradbury's death, he and Josephson would meet regularly to discuss its life "beyond the Fringe". The two were set on premiering the final version in Prague and, finally, '2016' will bring us '2116'.