Summer Stock – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Get your rake and hoe and denim overalls for a rousing good time down on the farm, in Connecticut, to help save our heroine Jane when she realizes her family’s crop of cherries won’t be enough to provide finances for fodder for her animals. Conveniently her sister Gloria is in a dance troupe in New York that is similarly struggling with a lack of funds and needs to find a place to rehearse their latest venture before it hits Broadway. What if each sister can solve the dilemma of the other by pooling resources to save the farm, the harvest, the show and the day? Wouldn’t that be loverly?

Luckily for you, Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam has just the prescription for success as it presents a newly minted musical comedy “Summer Stock” based on an old Judy Garland and Gene Kelly movie filmed over seven decades ago. This original MGM movie has been given new sparkle by Cheri Steinkellner for book and additional lyrics and it is a real crowd pleaser of a show. Adaptations from the movie were made by George Wells and Sy Gromberg, with spirited direction and choreography by Donna Feore, music direction by Adam Souza, and music supervision by Doug Besterman. Until Sunday, August 27, you’re invited to come down on the farm for a lively hoedown of a good time and some of the dancingest, ( I just made up the word) energetic and acrobatic numbers you’ve ever witnessed.

Danielle Wade’s Jane could have followed her younger sister, Arianna Rosario’s Gloria, into the entertainment world but she chose to stay with her father Pop, Stephen Lee Anderson, and protect her legacy in the good earth. Right now she has a new foe, not drought or floods or beetles, but a neighboring landowner Veanne Cox’s Margaret Wingate, a witch of a woman who is determined to take over Jane’s land and make it part and parcel of her estate. Margaret has even come up with a plan B, to have her wishy-washy son Orville, Will Roland, marry Jane to secure her plans are guaranteed.

Hoping to throw a shovel or boot into Margaret’s plans are Corbin Bleu’s Joe Ross, the show’s dynamic director, and Gilbert L. Bailey II’s Phil Filmore, the show’s illustrious writer. But it is the arrival of the leading man, the flamboyant Montgomery Leach captured by J. Anthony Crane, who turns the stream into a flood of complications. A wheel barrel of great tunes like “Happy Days Are Here Again,” “ Accentuate the Positive,” “Always,” ”It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “The Best Things in Life are Free,” and “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” are sprinkled throughout.

For tickets ($38 and up), call the Goodspeed Musicals, 6 Main Street, on the Connecticut River, East Haddam at 860-873-8664 or online at Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Please note there are many special events and offers so check online. Also there is work being done on the bridge so allow extra time. This is Goodspeed’s 60th anniversary so please consider making a donation of $60 or any amount to support their good works.

Come chase all your cares away and be happy! This sunshiney song and dance fest is ready to say “howdy, neighbor” and make this your lucky day.