What is Triple Espresso?
It’s a 3-man stage play with a 20+ year track record of making people laugh till their cheeks hurt! The full title is Triple Espresso–a highly caffeinated comedy.
What’s it About?
Triple Espresso’s about…
- Three guys
- A coffee house
- An utter lack of common sense
- Climbing the ladder of success, downwards
- Duststorms in Nebraska
- Dancing in Zaire
- Things that disappear…and reappear
- A gorilla in a music contest
- Hand shadow puppets
- The single most embarrassing moment ever broadcast on live national television
- And it’s about the funniest show you will see this century!
Triple Espresso tells the story of three guys whose bid for showbiz fame and fortune ended in 4-minutes of magnificent failure on national television. Hugh Butternut, Buzz Maxwell, and Bobby Bean tell their rags-to-rags story earnestly, with hysterical results. Butternut is a musician, a vulnerable soul with a lounge lizard smile; Maxwell is an uncertain magician with an attitude; and Bean is an irrepressible, all-over-the-map entertainer with big dreams. The laughter is infectious and the comedy appeals to everyone from first graders to college students to baby-boomers to grandparents.
A Brief History
“Getting together for pancakes is almost never a bad idea,” says Triple Espresso co-author Bill Arnold. Early in 1995, while having breakfast with Michael Pearce Donley, and Bob Stromberg, the three solo performers decided it would be fun to write something they could perform together. As motivation to buckle down and write it, they booked a performance for 6 weeks later.
Using Arnold’s magic and comedy, Donley’s original music, and Stromberg’s physical humor, the three put together a show with elements of slapstick, vaudeville, and a touch of audience involvement.
Donley describes the first performance: “My character, Hugh Butternut, began the show by walking through the audience, greeting people with an over-wide smile. I think I even kissed a baby. I was scared to death.” Bob agrees: “About a third of the time, the voice in the back of my head was screaming, ‘May Day! May Day! Grab the life vests–we’re going down!”
But the audience was having a grand time. Mike remembers performing the paper dance for the first time and “seeing people falling on the floor laughing. I’d never seen a response like that before in my life!” Every performer in Triple Espresso since then has had the privilege of seeing that same kind of response.
The show was honed (no more kissing babies) with the help of Director Bill Partlan at the Cricket Theatre in Minneapolis and opened there in 1996, becoming the biggest hit in the theater’s 26-year history.
The next year, Dennis Babcock, former General Manager of the Guthrie Theatre, came on board as Executive Producer. The show has now entertained over 2 million people in 50+ cities in 6 countries in 3 languages, giving audiences a night at the theater unlike any they have experienced before. The show has carved out a unique niche in the entertainment spectrum: its irresistible humor crosses generations, and it’s as funny the fifth time as the first.
A Few Places We Have Played (an incomplete list)…
|Minneapolis,MN*||Music Box Theatre, Southern Theater, New Century Theatre, Ames Center
|San Diego, CA**||Lamb Players Theatre, Hahn Cosmopolitan Theatre & Horton Grand Theatre|
|Des Moines, IA***||Temple for the Performing Arts|
|Madison, WI||Madison Repertory Theatre|
|Sarasota, FL||Asolo Theatre|
|Seattle, WA||The Performing Studio|
|Providence, RI||Providence Performing Arts Center|
|Springfield, MA||City Stage|
|Albany, NY||Capital Repertory Theatre|
|Milwaukee, WI||Marcus Center for the Performing Arts|
|Portland, OR||Portland Art Museum|
|Dublin, Ireland||Andrews Lane Theatre and various tour locations|
|Chicago, IL||Mercury Theatre|
|Portland, ME||Portland Stage Company|
|London, England||The Arts Theatre|
|Cincinnati, OH||Ensemble Theatre|
|St. Jacobs, Ontario||Schoolhouse Theatre|
|Detroit, MI||Gem Theatre|
|Denver, CO||Ricketson Theatre, Rattlebrain Theatre|
|St. Louis, MO||Grandel Theatre|
|Cleveland, OH||Hanna Theatre|
|Tulsa, OK||Liddy Doenges Theatre|
|Green Bay, WI||Weidner Center for the Performing Arts|
|Cedar Rapids, IA||Theater Cedar Rapids|
|Los Angeles, CA||Hermosa Beach Playhouse, El Portal Theater|
|Gent, Belgium||Capitole Theater|
|Austin, TX||The State Theatre|
|Indianapolis, IN||Indiana Repertory Theatre|
|Munich, Germany||Tollwood Festival|
|St. Cloud, MN||Paramount Theatre|
|Red Wing, MN||Sheldon Theatre|
|Atlanta, GA||Georgia Ensemble Theatre|
|Brainerd, MN||Central Lakes College Theatre|
|Duluth, MN||Mitchell Auditorium|
|Rochester, NY||Geva Theatre|
|Phoenix, AZ||Actors Theater|
|Pittsburgh, PA||CLO Cabaret|
|Sacramento, CA||The Cosmopolitan Cabaret|
|Alexandria, MN||Theatre L’Homme Dieu|
|New Hope, PA||Bucks County Playhouse|
*Longest running show at Music Box Theatre (April 3, 1996 – April 27, 2008 continuously; holiday productions 2009-2016)
**Longest continuously running show in San Diego (January 14, 1998-February 17, 2008)
***Longest running show in history of Iowa.
Produced by The Daniel Group
Triple Espresso is produced by The Daniel Group, a provider of top-quality, professional theater and other entertainment, whose mission is to provide excellent, wholesome productions that positively impact audiences.
Booking, casting and artistic functions are conducted out of the Minneapolis, Minnesota headquarters, which oversees all aspects of each engagement. The performers are cast and trained by the original director and the authors, then assigned to the various touring and resident shows across the globe.