Captain Filthy Fred is a full length, English language, fast moving outlandish fairy tale, bordering on absurd at places. It is loosely based on Jenő Rejtő’s Hungarian language book “Piszkos Fred, a kapitány”. The constant presence of Rejtő (in the corner of the stage) anchors the whole story to reality. It makes it clear that whatever happens on the stage is what Rejtő is writing. The audience is watching his ideas develop and enjoy how his imagination is spinning out the story.


Jenő Rejtő was born in 1905 into a middleclass Budapest Jewish family. He had a rebellious nature.  Against his parent’s advice he left Budapest. For a short time he did study directing in Max Reinhardt’s theater in Berlin, was dishwasher in various hotels, did work in a circus, as a deck help traveled on ships all over the Mediterranean and joined the French Foreign Legion. Upon his return his family put him into a mental institution. His irresponsible adventures might not have been the only reason for this drastic step. It is likely that they wanted to shield him to be called up to the dreaded Jewish “Work Service” where during WWII all able-bodied male Jews were obligated to join to dig ditches for the Hungarian Army in the Russian front.

Being not dangerous to himself and to others, he was allowed to leave the mental institute in the morning but had to return in the evening. During the day he was sitting in an elegant Budapest coffee house, located on the opposite side of the street of his publisher, and wrote thirteen volumes of pulp fiction which became instant best sellers.

Eventually, the Hungarian Nazis captured him and sent him to the Jewish Work Service in the Ukraine. He was murdered on January 1, 1942. He is still today the most read Hungarian writer, and “Captain Filthy Fred” is his best known book.


Both librettists, Marika Barnet  and Istvan Ver are long time members and former board members of the Boston Playwright Platform.  Marika wrote two full length plays and several 10 minute plays. Two of the short plays won first prize at the Playwright Platform’s annual festivals.

When they read Rejtő’s book ” Dirty Fred, the Captain” long time ago, they made a note on the cover page that this book would lend itself as a bases for a musical. Five years ago Istvan was diagnosed with cancer. Istvan’s and Marika’s problem became what to do during the looooong waits for infusions, recovery from surgeries, waiting for different doctors, nurses, procedures, etc, etc. They did decide to write the book and lyrics of a musical that is loosely based on Rejtő’s book.


The composer, Alan Wurman, is the recipient of the “Grand Price” for the best song in the MTV sponsored artist financing group “Ourstage” in the US as well as in the UK, both times with his band “Sofia” in which he composed and performed.  He founded the klezmer music orchestra “Mishcanti” being the group’s composer, keyboard/piano player and lead vocalist. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a double major in “Film Scoring” and “Contemporary Writing and Production and a minor in conducting, he moved to Hollywood. There he is presently working on the score of films and as Musical Director of musicals.

The arranger, Victor Kong, is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Berklee College of Music with a degree in Classical Composition and Film Scoring. Victor did work as the right hand of William Ross composer of Star Wars movies and with  John Williams as Arranger for many years.


The La MaMa Experimental Theater, located in Manhattan’s East village, was founded in 1961 by the fashion designer Ellen Stewart. During its fifty-year history it has evolved into a world-renowned cultural institution.



Marika Barnett and Istvan L. Ver
106 North Shore Drive
Stow, MA 01775

Email: mbarnett@neaccess.net; iver@onemain.com

Tel: (978) 568 – 0556
Fax: (978) 562 – 2875