Learn about the careers of 'Gutenberg! The Musical!' stars Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells

The acclaimed comic theatre actors made their names with The Book of Mormon more than a decade ago, and they now share the stage for the first time since.

Joe Dziemianowicz
Joe Dziemianowicz

The career paths of Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells happily keep on colliding – and paralleling. Right now, they’re at the James Earl Jones Theatre in Gutenberg! The Musical!, a show with two actors and just as many exclamation points. The comic duo play musical theatre composers writing a show about the inventor of the printing press.

Out there? Sure. Then again, the story of misbegotten Mormon missionaries in Uganda is also wacky. That’s what the long-running, Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon, in which Gad and Rannells first performed together, is about.

Even when they haven’t shared a stage, their theatre careers have overlapped in various ways. Find out more about the duo’s careers in our timeline below.

2005 and 2006: Broadway debuts

In January 2005, Rannells took over as high school student Fender in Hairspray. Like a ’60s beehive hairdo, the actor ascended high to the lead role of teenage heartthrob Link Larkin. Rannells has stepped into key roles in other Broadway shows including Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys, the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and King George in Hamilton.

A year later, in January 2006, the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee introduced Gad to Broadway audiences. He took over the role of allergy-prone William Barfee, a kid who uses his “magic foot” to write out words before spelling them.

gad rannells mormon-1200x600-NYTG

2011: The Book of Mormon

In 2011, Rannells and Gad landed the lead roles in the irreverent, sometimes profane musical by Robert Lopez (Frozen, Avenue Q) and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Rannells and Gad starred as Elders Price and Cunningham: Mormon missionaries in Uganda who are young, eager, in over their head, and making things up as they go along. Both got Best Actor Tony nominations for the still-running hit at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre.

Get The Book of Mormon tickets now.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

2006 and 2016: The William Finn connection

Gad belted the kicky tune “Magic Foot” by William Finn in his Broadway debut in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Rannells earned his second Tony nomination – Best Actor in a Supporting Role, as the ailing Whizzer – in the 2016 revival of Falsettos, a show with music, lyrics, and a book by Finn.

2013 and 2016: The Disney connection

Beyond the stage, Disney is common ground for the pair. For episodes of the animated TV series Sofia the First, Rannells voiced Morris, a goblin. Meanwhile, Gad voiced Olaf, the fan-fave snowman in the Frozen film franchise.

2023: Gutenberg! The Musical!

As Bud and Doug in this musical by Scott Brown and Anthony King, the actors wear a lot of hats – and that’s not a metaphor. They play the authors of a show about Johannes Gutenberg, which they pitch to potential investors with the means to finance the project. They act out the show playing characters whose names are on baseball caps.

See how it all goes down through January 28 only. Who knows when Rannells and Gad will share the stage next?

Originally published on

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