The Angry Grammarian:
The Musical

Music and lyrics by Jeffrey Barg

Book by David Lee White

Original story by Jeffrey Barg and David Lee White

Greg is "The Angry Grammarian" – a newspaper columnist who’s passionate about predicates, consumed by commas and seduced by subjunctives. Lisa is a more pragmatic grammarian who loves language just as much as he does. What starts as attraction quickly evolves into a darker rivalry. Will grammatical gusto be enough to keep them together? Enlivened by a love of language, The Angry Grammarian is a new musical for anyone who's ever been pissed off that someone used quotation marks "for emphasis."


Coming in 2023. Be punctual.

Musical Selections

"The Comma With Too Many Names"

Recorded June 24, 2017 at Pulley & Buttonhole Theatre Company.

Greg: Jeff Berry
Piano: Cameron Stringham
Guitar: Jeffrey Barg
Bass: Tamara Kimler
Drums: Wes Harris

Recording by Josh Beauchamp

"Lie With Me and Lay Me"

Recorded Sept. 2, 2018 at Drexel University.

Greg: Jeff Berry
Lisa: Yanellie Pabon-Garcia
Guitar: Jeffrey Barg

From left: Jonathan V. Polanco, Chaz Meyers, Jeff Berry, Yanellie Pabon-Garcia, Dana Corvino, Vida Manalang.

Development History

The Angry Grammarian has had two development workshops: The first, at Pulley & Buttonhole Theatre Company (Jenkintown, Pa.) in 2017, featured Jeff Berry (Greg), Sara Osi Scott (Lisa), Chaz Meyers (Web and others) and Meg Cranney (Miriam and others), and in the band, Jeffrey Barg, Cameron Stringham, Tamara Kimler and Wes Harris. The second, at Players Club of Swarthmore in 2018, featured Jeff Berry (Greg), Yanellie Pabon-Garcia (Lisa), Chaz Meyers (Web), Dana Corvino (Miriam), Jonathan V. Polanco (Mr. Hatch and others) and Vida Manalang (Judge Sapphire and others), and in the band, Jeffrey Barg, Cameron Stringham, Tamara Kimler and Ben Hemsley. The show's world premiere is currently scheduled for 2023 at South Philadelphia's Raw Street Productions.

About the Authors

Jeffrey Barg (music and lyrics, original story) is a composer and performer from South Philadelphia. He has composed the music and lyrics for several musicals, including The Ballad of King Henry, a folk adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV Part I, co-created with Benjamin Kamine and Sally Ollove. He started The Angry Grammarian as a newspaper column for Philadelphia Weekly in 2007, and in 2018, began publishing the column in The Philadelphia Inquirer, where it runs biweekly. He is a resident member of South Philadelphia's Raw Street Productions, where he performs regularly. By day he is a director for Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy.

David Lee White (libretto, original story) is a playwright/performer/educator based in New Jersey. David is a lifelong devotee of using the arts to build and celebrate community through his years of training as a playwright and comedian. His collaborative work with theatres and educational institutions includes farce, musicals and verbatim theatre, all created in concert with local artists, young people and community members. His work with Kate Brennan on The Infinity Trilogy, a series of YA musicals, was the recipient of a MAP Fund award. The first musical in the series, ALiEN8, is now available through YouthPlays. David was also in the inaugural group of playwrights to receive commissions from the New Jersey Performing Arts Centers’ Stage Exchange Program. The result was Fixed – a play about navigating the mental healthcare system. His mental health awareness work continued with Panther Hollow, his solo show about his battle with clinical depression in his youth.

For 14 years, David was the associate artistic director at Passage Theatre in Trenton, NJ, which specialized in community-based work and developing new works by noteworthy, contemporary playwrights. While there, he workshopped and produced the farces Blood: A Comedy and Slippery as Sin, as well as the oral-history works Trenton Lights and Profiles, co-created with artistic director June Ballinger.

David continues his comedic work at Vivid Stage as a member of their comedy troupe “The Flip Side.” Vivid Stage recently produced an audio production of his play Ways to Happy. David also teaches Advanced Improvisation, Theatre History and Dramatic Analysis at Drexel University, where he co-created the web-series Essential with director Bill Fennelly. Read more about his work here.