Monday, January 6, 2014

Goodspeed Presents 9th Annual Festival of New Musicals

The Ninth Annual Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals, produced by Goodspeed Musicals’ Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre, kicks off its three-day festival of brand new works on Friday, Jan. 17 at the Goodspeed Opera House with a staged reading of the timely musical Adam Lives. 

On Saturday, Jan.18, the musical fantasy A Proper Place  debuts.  On the final day of the festival, the unconventional Theory of Relativity by the team who wrote the Goodspeed and Broadway tuner The Story of My Life will be presented. 

Several special events will round out the weekend.  Tickets: Box Office; 860-873-8668;  Tickets are $15 each for one show, $10 each for students. 

This year, Goodspeed’s Festival GOLD Package offers a weekend full of special events. The $89 package includes admission to all three staged readings; the New Musical Preview, a short preview of a new musical headed to The Norma Terris Theatre in 2014; the Symposium panel discussion with musical theatre luminaries; three festival seminar sessions; a Saturday evening pre-show dinner at either the Gelston House OR La Vita Gustosa and a Meet the Writers Reception which will complete the weekend’s festivities. 

Also included in the special Festival Package is a tour of Goodspeed’s mid-campus facilities including the McMillian Rehearsal Studio, Scherer Library, Costume Shop and Music Department and admittance to either the Friday Night or Saturday Night Cabarets, informal gatherings showcasing new songs by new and established artists. A special SILVER Package with schedule highlighting the staged readings, symposium and new musical preview is also available for only $49.

Productions from the three composing teams included in the Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals and the schedule of Special Events for Festival Package ticket holders include:

Friday, January 17
Adam Lives
7:30 p.m., Goodspeed Opera House

Book, Music & Lyrics by Rob Baumgartner, Jr. Adam is an unsuccessful songwriter who doesn’t know how to settle into his long-term relationship with Claudia. When he has an opportunity to write for an emerging pop superstar, Adam is forced to decide which he values more: an enduring partnership or a love that is worthy of song. Adam Lives is about finding      and keeping the important things in life, but at what cost?

Festival Cabaret
10:00 p.m., Gelston House
Showcasing new songs by our festival writers.

Saturday, January 18
10:00  - 12:45 p.m., Gelston House

They’re the Tops!  - What makes a Broadway hit? Mark Acito, Helen Hayes Award-winning playwright, novelist, and theatre historian, will discuss the common threads among the 100 top-selling Broadway shows of all time.

Uncovering Goodspeed Treasures - Tucked away on a top shelf or buried in a dusty box, many one-of-a-kind treasures have been uncovered and preserved for generations to come in Goodspeed’s Scherer Library of Musical Theatre. Noted author and theatre historian Ken Bloom will guide a discussion about some of the most fascinating objects in this rare collection.

An Actor’s Life  - Get to know your favorite stars from Goodspeed’s Hello, Dolly!. The beloved Klea Blackhurst (Dolly) and the Tony-nominated Tony Sheldon(Horace) will share stories of their lives as actors – including the triumphs, heartaches, and struggles.

Casting 101 –Back by popular demand! Learn the ins and outs of the casting process as Goodspeed’s Casting Director Paul Hardt and Resident Music DirectorMichael O’Flaherty uncover the tricks-of-the-trade.

New Musical Preview
2:30 – 3:30 p.m., Goodspeed Opera House
A preview of a new musical headed to Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre in 2014

Symposium *
4:00 p.m., Goodspeed Opera House

On the Road to Holiday Inn: Creating a World Premiere Ever wonder what it takes to move a musical from conception to full-blown stage production? Now at the halfway mark of the process, a panel of theatre experts and members of the creative team will explore the work that’s been done and what’s still to come for Goodspeed’s world premiere of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn.
   *This event is free and open to the public.

Festival Dinner
5:30 p.m., Gelston House  - OR - La Vita Gustosa
Enjoy a three course meal with fellow festival goers.

A Proper Place
7:30 p.m., Goodspeed Opera House
Book by Leslie Becker and Curtis Rhodes
Music by Curtis RhodesLyrics by Leslie BeckerAdditional Lyrics by Curtis Rhodes
It is 1902. Mayfair, England. When an upper class British family is shipwrecked on an island with only their butler to help them survive, traditional class systems are questioned and unexpected love blossoms. Based         on J. M. Barrie’s play The Admirable Crichton, this musical fantasy with a sumptuous score, dubbed a “cross between Downton Abbey and Gilligan’s Island,” is a classic tale of equality, survival and forbidden love.

Festival Cabaret
10:00 p.m., Gelston House

Sunday, January 19
Theory of Relativity
1:00 p.m., Goodspeed Opera House
Music & Lyrics by Neil Bartram Book by Brian HillThis unconventional new musical from the writers of The Story of My Life is a joyous and moving look at our surprisingly interconnected lives. Through a collection of songs, scenes and monologues, The Theory of Relativity introduces a compelling array of characters experiencing the joys and heartbreaks, the liaisons and losses, the inevitability and the wonder of human connection.

 Meet the Writers Reception
3:30 p.m., Gelston House
Gain insight into the inspirations and processes of the writers. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.

Lodging and dining information for Festival attendees as well as up-to-date information on the weekend’s events may be found at

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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