Calvin Berger

Full-Length Musical, Comedy  /  2f, 2m

Book, Music and Lyrics by Barry Wyner

Orchestration by Doug Besterman
Original Direction by Kathleen Marshall
Scene Change Music Arranged by Aron Accurso

Based loosely on Edmond Rostand's play Cyrano de Bergerac, Calvin Berger is the hip and hilarious story of unrequited feelings, love notes and physical insecurity among four high school seniors.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    2f, 2m
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)
  • Winner! 2005 Jerry Bock Award
Licence details
  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.
Calvin Berger


At a contemporary high school, Calvin Berger is smitten by the beautiful Rosanna, but he feels insecure because of the size of his nose. Rosanna, in turn, is attracted to the good-looking newcomer, Matt, who is painfully shy and inarticulate around her, although the attraction is mutual. Hoping to get closer to Rosanna through his eloquent love notes, Calvin offers to be Matt’s “speech writer,” all the while ignoring the signals of attraction from another girl, his best friend, Bret. When the deception unravels, everybody’s friendship is seriously jeopardized, but Calvin eventually realizes that his preoccupation with his appearance had led him astray, and his eyes are opened to Bret, who'd been there all along.
Calvin Berger made its world premiere on August 31, 2006 at the Gloucester Stage Company in Massachusetts. In 2007, it was produced by the Barrington Stage Company at the Athanaeum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Its third production took place at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 2010, under the direction of  Kathleen Marshall.

Act I

On the first morning of their last year of high school, we see four seniors having a "Security Meltdown." Calvin frets about the size of his nose, which prevents him from pursuing the girl of his dreams, Rosanna. Rosanna is having a meltdown of her own, yearning to find her "thing" and be more than just a pretty face. Calvin’s best friend, Bret, longs to be seen as a potential girlfriend and not just a girl friend. Matt, the handsome new kid in school, fears that his poor speaking skills will keep him from making friends.

Calvin’s school year starts with a bang: Rosanna speaks to him for the first time, inviting him to a meeting for a new charity she is starting. She then has a bumbling encounter with Matt, and though they are perfect strangers, there is instant attraction ("I Can See Him Now").

Later, Calvin and Bret are in study hall chatting about movies. Rosanna interrupts and asks Calvin to meet her that night ("Don’tcha Think?"). He takes this to mean a date, and shows up with a love poem for her… only to hear her confess her feelings for Matt. She asks Calvin to speak to Matt, since they are both on the wrestling team, and find out if he likes her. Though heartbroken, Calvin agrees ("It Just Wasn’t Meant to Happen"). In the locker room the next day, Calvin speaks to Matt, who says he likes Rosanna but gets tongue-tied around girls. Calvin laments having the opposite dilemma: verbal wit without good looks. In a hilarious duet called "We’re The Man," they hatch a scheme to win Rosanna’s affection by combining Calvin’s words with Matt’s looks.

In preparation for Matt’s first date with Rosanna, Calvin writes love notes for Matt to give her. He tries to coach Matt on what to say, but discovers that Matt has a lousy memory… except for rap lyrics. Thus, Calvin must — quite awkwardly — teach Matt through the use of rap ("Never Know"). When the big night comes, their plan works like a charm. But it pains Calvin to see Matt kiss Rosanna.

Alone in her bedroom, Bret wishes she was with Calvin instead ("Saturday Alone"). Just then, Calvin calls and invites her over. She shows up at his house dressed to the nines, but he just asks her for help writing love notes to Rosanna.

Back at school, Calvin playfully asks Rosanna how things are going with Matt. In "More Than Meets the Eye," she raves about Matt’s brilliance and says she loves him for his beautiful words, not his looks. Calvin is stunned to think Rosanna really loves him. Calvin writes Rosanna a note confessing his feelings, and explaining that the words she has fallen in love with are his ("Act One Finale").

Act II

Calvin shares a playful moment with his Mr. Potato Head doll, envying its ability to change facial features ("Mr. Potato Head"). He then takes the confession note to Matt to give Rosanna that night. To Calvin’s dismay, Matt has decided he no longer wants help ("Graduation Day"), but Calvin convinces him to deliver this one final note. Calvin cancels plans with Bret for that night ("Saturday Alone" Reprise), so he will be ready when Rosanna learns the truth.

On the date, Matt hilariously blunders and calls Calvin begging for assistance. In an update of Cyrano’s balcony scene, Calvin feeds Matt lines through his cell phone earpiece. Things go awry, and Rosanna storms out before Matt can give her Calvin’s last note. Growing suspicious of Calvin’s motives, Matt reads the note himself.

Calvin is confronted by Bret, who is fed up with his insensitivity to her feelings, and by Matt, who now sees that Calvin was using him. Rosanna looks on and learns that she’s been tricked. Suddenly everyone is screaming at Calvin ("The Fight"). The scene culminates with Calvin getting punched in the nose and everyone singing the quirky lament, "How Can I Compete With That?"

The final scenes crescendo to a "Bachelor Auction" that Rosanna has organized for her charity. Calvin must make amends with the other characters, especially Matt ("We’re The Man" Reprise). Along the way, he realizes that Bret has secret feelings for him ("Perfect For You"), just as he does for Rosanna. He questions which of the two girls is truly right for him, and realizes the answer was right under his you-know-what. Meanwhile, Matt must win back Rosanna’s affection without assistance from Calvin, and Bret and Rosanna share a moment of female bonding ("Calm, Cool and Collected"). By the time the four friends take their places for the Bachelor Auction, each has found new self-confidence and acceptance of their own imperfections ("Finale").

Calvin (Male)
A high school-age boy who is charming, witty and lovable but does not have traditional good looks (pref. has a big nose). Must have impeccable comic timing. Good models for type: McLovin from “Superbad,” Ferris Bueller, Jon Cryer in “Pretty in Pink,” Anthony Michael Hall in “The Breakfast Club.” Baritone, pleasant sound but need not be polished, up to F#.

Matt (Male)
A very handsome high school-age guy. Muscular, macho, athletic happy-go-lucky, likable, earnest. Can be a lovable meathead (Stifler from “American Pie”), or a pretty-boy jock (Zac Efron in “High School Musical”), or an ultra-cool dude (James Dean, The Fonz). Bari-tenor with a comfortable G, who can belt a few loud A’s, too. Pref. a rock sound.

Rosanna (Female)
A beautiful, high school-age girl. Ingénue type with cheerleader good looks and a girl-next-door sweetness. Likable and able to show vulnerability. Beautiful voice, soprano or mixey high belt.

Bret (Female)
Quirky, witty, sarcastic, lovable, funny high school-age girl. A funkier, less mainstream look than Rosanna, perhaps alternative, grunge, goth, etc. Must not be extremely pretty – or the opposite. Probably more cute than hot. Good example: Juno from “Juno.” Strong, pleasant singing voice, alto with good high belt/mix up to D.

In addition to the four principal roles, CALVIN BERGER can also feature an Ensemble of flexible size. See creator Barry Wyner's suggestions under "Casting Note."
  • Time Period Contemporary, Present Day, New Millennium/21st Century
  • Setting A contemporary American high school.
  • Features Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)


Music Samples

Act I

1. Opening: Calvin’s Dream – Orchestra
2. “Security Meltdown” – Cast
2a. Security Playoff – Orchestra
3. “I Can See Him Now” – Matt & Rosanna
3a. To The Library – Orchestra
4. “Don’tcha Think?” – Calvin, Bret, & Rosanna
4a. To The Diner – Orchestra
5. “It Just Wasn’t Meant To Happen” – Calvin
5a. Bret & Rosanna In The Hallway – Orchestra
5b. To The Locker Room – Orchestra
6. “We’re The Man!” – Calvin & Matt
6a. Ring – Orchestra
6b. Rosanna’s First Note – Orchestra
6c. The Custodians Won’t Care – Orchestra
6d. “B-b-b-bam!” – Matt
7. “Never Know” – Calvin & Matt
8. “Saturday Alone” – Bret
8a. Saturday Alone Playoff – Orchestra  
8b. Rosanna’s Next Note (Crossfade) – Orchestra
9. “More Than Meets The Eye” – Calvin & Roseanne
10. “Act One Finale” – Cast

Act II

11. Entr’acte/“Mr. Potato Head” – Calvin
12. “Graduation Day” – Calvin & Matt
12a. Graduation Day Playoff – Orchestra
12b. And Now For Some Science – Orchestra
12c. Your Booty Is A Beauty – Orchestra
12d. Matt Reads The Note – Orchestra
13. “Saturday Alone” (Reprise) – Bret
13a. I’m In Love (Optional) – Orchestra
14. “The Fight” – Cast
14a. Scene Change: Get Over It – Orchestra  
15. “How Can I Compete With That?” – Cast
15a. Friday Alone – Orchestra
16. “Perfect For You” – Bret
16a. After The Kiss – Orchestra
17. “We’re The Man” (Reprise) – Calvin & Matt
17a. Going To The Bathroom – Orchestra
18. “Calm, Cool And Collected” – Bret & Rosanna
19. “Finale” – Cast
20. Bows & Exit Music! – Orchestra

Full Orchestration

Electric Bass Guitar
Percussion: Trap set and mallet instruments:

Bass Drum
Snare Drum
Floor Tom
Ride Cymbal
Suspended Cymbal
Bell Tree
Mark Tree
Small Shaker

Keyboard/Partitur (registrations mostly for Piano and Electric Piano)

  • Musical StylePop/Rock, Contemporary Broadway
  • Dance RequirementsEasy
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra SizeSmall/Combo
  • Chorus SizeNo Chorus


Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
7 Libretto
8 Piano-Conductor
1 Piano-Full Score
1 Percussion
1 Violin
1 Cello
1 Bass
7 Libretto
8 Piano-Conductor


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Barry Wyner


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