Cover photo courtesy of Reduced Shakespeare Company

Western Civilization! The Complete Musical (abridged)

book and lyrics by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, original music composed by Nick Graham, additional material by Dee Ryan
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118-page PDF piano/vocal score for production. View Perusal.
Recordings consist of 33 WAV backing tracks for production.
Please note that the cast recording is available on iTunes under the title THE COMPLETE MILLENNIUM MUSICAL (abridged).


History like you’ve never experienced it before. As a musical. You’re gonna laugh like it’s 1499, and the music will knock you out!

Production Info

Cast: 3 total (1 female, 2 male, as written; gender-diverse and/or expanded casts welcome)
Full Length Comedy (about 90 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tags: ,

Press Quotes

“In some ways, it’s their funniest presentation yet … With a musical score that gives the script bite and zest, the three performers ‘turn history inside out and upside down, cramming 1,000 facts into 90 minutes.’ By the end they have given us a nonsensical but hilarious rendition of each major epoch.” —Andrew Warshaw, The Guardian

“Singing that ‘history ain’t what it used to be’ the three-person ensemble put a deranged spin on the events of the past 1,000 years … Mixing broad physical humor with sly satire, the three sang, disco-danced and adopted phony accents and even phonier facial hair to view the highlights (and low points) of history, from Leif Ericsson to the Y2K bug … The show was consistently hilarious.” —Donna Freedman, Anchorage Daily News

“The show, overall, is a riot … Don’t miss it. After all, a comedy this funny only comes along once or twice a millennium.” —Patrick Meighan, New Hampshire Telegraph

“… combining smarty-pants irreverence with physical buffoonery and street-wise smarts … it touches greatness.” —Christopher Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

About the Author


  • Reed Martin

    Reed Martin co-created and performed in the original productions of THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF AMERICA (ABRIDGED), THE BIBLE: THE COMPLETE WORD OF GOD (ABRIDGED), WESTERN CIVILIZATION: THE COMPLETE MUSICAL (ABRIDGED), ALL THE GREAT BOOKS (ABRIDGED), COMPLETELY HOLLYWOOD (ABRIDGED), THE COMPLETE WORLD OF SPORTS (ABRIDGED), THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS SHOW (ABRIDGED), AND THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF COMEDY (ABRIDGED). He also contributed additional material to THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED). Reed is a managing partner of the Reduced Shakespeare Company and has performed in London's West End, at Lincoln Center Theater, Kennedy Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theater, California Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The White House and Madison Square Garden, as well as in 11 foreign countries. Reed has performed at A.C.T. in San Francisco in Travesties by Tom Stoppard and The Government Inspector, as well as at the Magic Theatre in Moving Right Along, written and directed by Elaine May and featuring Marlo Thomas. He toured for two years as a clown/assistant ringmaster with Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus. His voice was heard in the animated feature film Balto,/i> and just about every other part of him was seen in the British film Carry On Columbus. Reed has written for the BBC, NPR, Britain's Channel Four, RTE Ireland, Public Radio International, The Washington Post and Vogue magazine. With Austin Tichenor he co-authored the book The Greatest Story Ever Sold, published by John Knox/Westminster Press, as well as Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide For The Attention-Impaired (abridged), published by Hyperion. His work has been nominated for an Olivier Award in London, a Helen Hayes Award in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critic's Circle Award. He has a BA in Political Science/Theatre from UC Berkeley, an MFA in Acting from UC San Diego and is a graduate of Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Clown College. A member of both the Dramatists Guild and The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Reed is also a former professional minor league baseball umpire. He lives in Northern California with his wife and two sons, all three of whom are much funnier than he is.

  • Austin Tichenor

    Austin Tichenor is a playwright, lyricist, songwriter, director, and actor. He's the co-author of nine COMPLETE (abridged) stage comedies, which have been produced around the world, published in two countries, and translated into over a dozen languages; the beautifully illustrated (by Jennie Maizels) children's book for all ages Pop-Up Shakespeare; the irreverent reference book Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide for the Attention-Impaired (abridged); the comic memoir How The Bible Changed Our Lives (Mostly For The Better) for all e-book platforms; the half-hour film The Ring Reduced for UK's Channel 4; the half-hour pilot The Week Reduced for TBS; and the six episode Reduced Shakespeare Radio Show for the BBC World Service. He also produces and hosts the weekly Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast, which was named one of Broadway World's Top Ten Podcasts for Theatre Fans. Austin is an alumnus of the BMI Musical Theatre workshop and has written over a dozen plays and musicals for young audiences. His full-length one-act DANCING ON THE CEILING (an adaptation of Kafka's "The Metamorphosis") and adaptation of FRANKENSTEIN are both published by Broadway Play Publishing, and he directed the world premiere of his adaptation of New York Times bestselling author Jasper Fforde's THE EYRE AFFAIR in 2016. As co-managing partner of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, he has performed with them around the world, Off-Broadway, in London's West End, in the PBS version of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (abridged), and at such theaters as the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, American Repertory Theatre, the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. On TV, Austin played recurring roles on 24, Alias, Felicity, Ally McBeal, and The Practice, and guest starred as Guys In Ties on The West Wing, The X-Files, ER, The Mentalist, Nip/Tuck, Gilmore Girls, and on many other hours of episodic television. He's also performed his own material many times on NPR and the BBC, performed with both the Oakland Symphony and in Disney Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and acted in the midwest premiere of Lauren Gunderson's THE BOOK OF WILL at Chicago's Northlight Theatre, and in the world premiere of IN THE GARDEN: A DARWINIAN LOVE STORY with Chicago's Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company. Austin is a fifth-generation Californian who was born on the 54th anniversary of the San Francisco Earthquake and the 185th anniversary of Paul Revere's Ride, which makes him older than he looks but short for his weight. Austin is a member of the Dramatists Guild, has a BA in History and Theatre from UC Berkeley and an MFA from Boston University, and currently lives in Chicago with his improviser and writer wife Dee Ryan, their two kids, and too many cats.

  • Nick Graham

    Nick Graham is a British vocalist, songwriter, flautist, pianist, and bassist. He was one of the original members of the British progressive rock band Atomic Rooster from 1969 to 1970 and from 1998 to 2001 composed music for the Reduced Shakespeare Company.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 11/1/2002
Pages 72
ISBN 9780881456820

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Originally produced and toured by Reduced Shakespeare Company

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Western Civilization! The Complete Musical (abridged) is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


8/23/2018 – 9/1/2018
The Barnstormers Theatre
Tamworth, NH


12/17/2020 – 12/19/2020
Langham Creek High School
Houston, TX

11/18/2020 – 11/21/2020
Adrian College
Adrian, MI

4/25/2020 – 4/25/2020
Macalester College
St. Paul, MN

11/21/2019 – 11/23/2019
Washington And Jefferson College
Washington, PA