What better way to dispel the frigid cold and darkness of the winter months than a visit to The Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals in East Haddam. For the 14th year, Goodspeed is offering up a splendid weekend of theatrical treasures for your edification and entertainment, from Friday, January 18 to Sunday, January 20. Without the need for skis, sleds or skates, you can travel swiftly and smoothly, without fear of spills, to see the latest in musical magic.
Students from the Hartt School of Music and the Boston Conservatory of Music will present a trio of staged readings beginning Friday at 7:30 p.m. with “The Peculiar Tale of the Prince of Bohemia and the Society of Desperate Victorians,” with book and lyrics by Becca Anderson and Dan Marshall and music by Julian Blackmore. What is a Prince to do when he discovers his father, the King of Bohemia, has died and he does not want to ascend the throne? With the help of his chaperone Colonel Geraldine, he plots his escape. Will joining a secret society called the Suicide Club be the solution he seeks or will it plunge him deeper into a morass of macabre yet humorous problems?
The Gelston House, next door, will host a Cabaret with the music of Douglas Waterbury-Tieman at 10 p.m. following the first reading.
Be sure you take your vitamins for the all day Saturday schedule, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Gelston House and La Vita Restaurant across the street with a series of seminars on topics theatrical until 1 p.m. After a lunch break, at 3 p.m. at The Goodspeed, attend a symposium “The Art of Adaptation: Truth to Fiction” led by Goodspeed Artistic Associate Anika Chapin and a panel of writers discussing the process and pitfalls of adapting a true story into musical theatre fiction.
At 4 p.m. at The Goodspeed, a second symposium “Rise Up!:Broadway and American Society” will explore the feelings of Chris Jones, one of the country’s best-known daily theatre critics and his new book as he roams from the dark days of the AIDS crisis all the way to the amazing success of “Hamilton.” A Festival Dinner will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Gelston House and La Vita for those who purchase the Gold Package for $149 that includes all three staged readings, one Cabaret and three Seminar Sessions. All Gold Package holders are advised to come early on Friday, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. to the Porch Bar to select their Seminar tickets for Saturday. The Silver Package for $80 includes a ticket to all three readings, two Symposiums and a Meet the Writers Q & A on Sunday.
The Saturday schedule continues at 7:30 p.m. with the second reading, “The Proxy Marriage,” with book and lyrics by Michele Lowe and Adam Gwon, adapted from “The Proxy Marriage” by Maile Meloy. If your Montana father, a lawyer, performs proxy marriages primarily for military couples, you might find yourself standing infor the bride with your awkward friend Will. Bridey and Will after high school find themselves pursuing their own dreams, until circumstances and time pull them back together and answer what they have been looking for all along.
The Gelston House will host a second Cabaret at 10 p.m. with the music of Shaina Taub.
On Sunday at 1 p.m. The Goodspeed will offer “Devotion,” with music, book and lyrics by Mark Sonnenblick about two lost souls, Wanda Lee and Paul.Addiction and belief figure prominently, especially after Wanda Lee’s ten year old brother confesses he’s been recruited for a divine mission. How can these confused adults help him find his way when they don’t know their own destiny?
The Festival will conclude with a 3:30 p.m. Meet the Writers at The Goodspeed when all the composers speak about their motivations and inspirations in the creative process.
Single tickets are $25 and student tickets are $15. Call the box office at 860-873-8668 to order or go online to www.goodspeed.org.
Don’t miss this wonderfully creative weekend to experience the newest works on the horizon so you get bragging rights to say you saw it at Goodspeed first.