While the weather outside is frightful, there is a place that is warm and truly delightful: the 15th Annual Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals in East Haddam. Produced by Goodspeed Musicals Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre, this three day event will take place on Friday, January 17 to Sunday, January 19 and it’s the highlight of the winter season for all musical theatre aficionados.
The weekend begins on Friday at 7:30 p.m. with the exotic tale of “The Tattooed Lady,” with book by Erin Courtney and Max Vernon and music and lyrics by Max Vernon. What choice does a seventy-eight year old woman, who earned her living in a freak show as a Tattooed Lady, have when her husband dies? Must she retire to the solitude of her daughter’s home or summon the courage and return one last time to the stage?
This first staged reading of this musical will be followed at 10 p.m. at the Gelston House next door with a Festival Cabaret with actress-singer-writer-teacher Grace McLean and special guest Jonathan Brielle. Original music by McLean will ring from the rafters.
Take your vitamin pills for a highly energetic Saturday that begins with your choice of several seminars from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Gelston House and across the street at LaVita Restaurant. Goodspeed’s Artistic Associate Anika Chapin will lead a sparkling discussion with Matte O’Brien and Matt Vinson about their new musical set for summer of 2020 at the Goodspeed: “Drama Nerd: Anne of Green Gables.” Want to hear what it is entailed in being a Broadway producer, then come hear Nancy Gibbs tell her theatrical tales in “From Downtown to Uptown.”
Producing Director of Musical Theatre Factory Mei Ann Teo will share her views in “What’s the Buzz? The New and Distinct Voices of Musical Theater.” In an “Exit Interview,” come hear Michael O’Flaherty discuss his decades at the helm as Goodspeed’s Resident Musical Director. Additional seminars will be announced.
At 3 p.m. at the Goodspeed, a symposium will journey back in time for 15 years of the Festival to reflect in its contributions to musical theatre over the years. At 4 p.m., Goodspeed Executive Director Michael Gennaro will lead a symposium on “New Vision for New Works-The Terris Theatre in 2020” and share the exciting new offerings there for the upcoming year. Both symposiums are free and open to the public.
If you purchased the Gold Package for $149, it includes all three staged readings, a trio of seminars, two symposiums, a Saturday night three course dinner at 5:30 p.m. at either the Gelston House or La Vita, either the Friday or Saturday night Cabaret and a Sunday afternoon Meet the Writers event to close the Festival. The Silver package for $80 includes the three staged readings, both symposiums and the Meet the Writers event.
Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. take your seat at the Goodspeed for “Private Gomer” with book, music and lyrics by Marshall Pailet. It tells the tale of a World War I soldier who hides his profound hearing loss and hones a remarkable skill as a sniper. Along the way, he must deal with violence and war and the interesting people he meets on his travels.
The Saturday night Cabaret at 10 p.m. features Jonathan Brielle performing “It’s the Bear” at the Gelston House.
While six co-workers meet at a Bear Mountain retreat to work on tensions in the workplace, a mysterious killer is on the loose with his own agenda. How will they survive?
Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Goodspeed, the final musical “Grow” will be staged, with book by Matt Murray, music by Colleen Dauncey and lyrics by Akiva Romer–Segal.
Sisterhood, community and the future will be tested by two Amish teenage sisters Hannah and Ruth when they experience the ancient rite of passage Rumspringa. They find themselves in a dangerous predicament with a most unlikely savior to help them survive.
The Festival will conclude at 3:30 p.m. at the Goodspeed with an intimate chat with the three teams of writers and composers in Meet the Writers Reception. Discover their source of ideas and inspiration and how they go about working the creative process.
This year’s Festival is sponsored by corporate sponsor RisCassi & Davis, P.C., with support from the Burry Fredrik Foundation, the Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation Sheridan College and Webster Private Bank. Single tickets are $25 for each staged reading and $15 each for students. Purchase tickets and packages by calling the Goodspeed Box Office at 860-873-8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org.
So ignore any frightful weather outside and cozy up to the Goodspeed Festival for warmth and wonderment.