“HALF A SIXPENCE” EQUALS A POCKETFUL OF HAPPY CHANGE
BONNIE GOLDBERG

    Snap your suspenders, doff your straw hat and follow a happy-go-lucky Cockney bloke named Arthur Kipps as he slaves from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Shalford’s Emporium, a dry goods store in the seaside town of Folkstone in the south of England.    Artie’s reward for working hard is to reread a letter from his girlfriend Ann, a domestic who resides a fair distance away, and to go for a beer at the Bear and Banjo Bar.

    Until Friday, September 19, Goodspeed Musicals invites you to say “Cheerio” to Artie in the delightful British musical comedy “Half a Sixpence,”
with book by Beverley Cross and music and lyrics by David Heneker.  It’s been more than four decades since this musical based on a novel by H. G. Wells premiered on Broadway, in keeping with the Goodspeed tradition of reviving old, wonderful shows for a new audience.

    Jon Peterson is a cheerful, energetic and likable Artie Kipps who unexpectedly finds himself the recipient of a windfall inheritance.  His good friend Ann, a sweet Sara Gettelfinger, finds herself left at the starting gate as Artie begins hobnobbing with high society and mingling with the likes of Mrs. Walsingham (Donna English), her son (Carrington Vilmont) and her daughter (Julia Osborne) who suddenly becomes his fiancée.  Before Artie can count all his new wealth, he finds himself telling off his boss (James Judy) and quickly adapting to his new station in life.

    Patti Colombo’s merry choreography, Rob Bissinger’s fluid sets, David C. Woolard’s colorful period costumes and Gordon Greenberg’s snappy direction all combine to make this a special show.  Songs like “If the Rain’s Got to Fall,” “Flash Bang Wallop” and “The Party’s on the House” are smashing good fun and you’ll find yourself humming them on the way home.

    For tickets ($26-63), call Goodspeed Musicals on the Connecticut River in East Haddam (exit 7 off route 9) at 860-873-8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org. ; Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 6:30 p.m., with matinees Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.

    Watch how happy Artie and Ann are when each have only half a sixpence between them, as a token of their love, and how a fortune almost proves to be too costly.

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