Goodspeed wins the gold for providing a nurturing home for the American musical for the past half century. To lead this great tradition into the next 50 years, the 2013 season opens with a new production of the rah-rah-rah musical ‘Good News!’
This all-jazzy favorite first opened on Broadway at Chanin’s 46th Street Theatre in 1927 and closed after 557 performances in 1929, a winning run for a show in last year of the ‘flapper’ age.
In this story, anticipation builds on the Tait College campus as game day approaches – but the football hero must first pass a big exam in order to play. When he unexpectedly falls for his tutor, romance blooms and mayhem takes over. With songs like “You’re the Cream in My Coffee,” “The Varsity Drag,” and “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” you’ll leave the theater humming.
The plot is familiar, as it is with any classic musical, but Goodspeed is first-rate when it comes to reworking America’s greatest shows today’s audiences, and that includes picking the best director for the job.
We applauded when it was announced that ‘Good News!’ will be directed and choreographed by Vince Pesce. He choreographed Goodspeed’s ‘Mame’ and directed/choreographed ‘Something’s Afoot.’ Mr. Pesce’s other credits include turns as associate choreographer of Broadway’s ‘Anything Goes,’ ‘The Pajama Game,’ ‘Wonderful Town’ and ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’
The great music and lyrics for ‘Good News!’ were written by Ray Henderson, B.G. DeSylva and Lew Brown and the book is by Laurence Schwab, Frank Mandel and B.G. DeSylva. This production is newly adapted by Jeremy Desmon, an award-winning musical theatre bookwriter. His musical ‘Pump Up The Volume,’ an adaptation of the 1990 film, was developed at Goodspeed Musicals and The Human Race Theatre.
‘Good News!’ will also feature new dance arrangements by David Krane. He provided orchestrations for Goodspeed’s ‘The Great American Backstage Musical’ and ‘High Button Shoes.’ As a Broadway, television and film composer/arranger/choreographer, Mr. Krane has composed dance music and arrangements for 29 Broadway shows, including ‘110 in the Shade,’ ‘La Cage aux Folles,’ ‘Cabaret,’ ‘Man of La Mancha,’ ‘Oklahoma!’ with Hugh Jackman, ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ starring Chita Rivera, ‘The Music Man’, ‘Damn Yankees’ and ‘Victor/Victoria’ starring Julie Andrews. (This multi-talented star actress, dancer, singer and best-selling author has directed two shows for the Goodspeed/Norma Terris organization.)
Leading the cast as Professor Kenyon will be Beth Glover of Goodspeed’s ‘High Button Shoes’ and ‘Red, Hot & Blue.’ Mark Zimmerman of Broadway’s ‘West Side Story,’ ‘Brigadoon’, and ‘Shenandoah’ and Goodspeed’s ‘Paper Moon’ will play Coach Bill Johnson.
The fresh faced team of actors includes Ross Lekites as Tom Marlowe and Chelsea Morgan Stock as Connie Lane. Ms. Stock appeared in Broadway’s ‘Sister Act’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ as well as Goodspeed’s ‘Annie Get Your Gun.’
Max Perlman of Broadway’s ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ and ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ will play Pooch Kearney. Barry Shafrin will be seen as Bobby Randall, Tessa Fay will play Babe O’Day, and Myles J. McHale plays Beef Saunders. Pat will be portrayed by Lindsay O’Neil who appeared in Broadway’s ‘A Christmas Story.’
The ensemble includes Juliane Godfrey (Goodspeed’s ‘The Great American Mousical’ at The Norma Terris Theatre), Graham Keenas Sylvester, Kate Marilley (Goodspeed’s ‘Amazing Grace’ at The Norma Terris Theatre, ‘Half a Sixpence,’ and ‘L’il Abner’), Drew Nellessen, Andrew Roubal, John Scacchetti (Broadway’s ‘Gypsy’ and ‘42ndStreet’ and Goodspeed’s ‘How to Succeed…’), Lauren Sprague, Vaden Thurgood, Jessi Trauth, and Zurin Villanueva. The swings are Jessica Jaros and Lucas Thompson.
Scenic designs will be by Court Watson. Costumes will be designed by Tracy Christensen who designed last season’s ‘Something’s Afoot’ for Goodspeed. Lighting design will be by Charlie Morrison who served as Lighting Designer for Goodspeed’s ‘Mame,’ and ‘42nd Street.’ Sound design will be by Jay Hilton who is in his 28th season at Goodspeed.
The Music Director for ‘Good News!’ will be Michael O’Flaherty who is in his 22nd season as Goodspeed’s Resident Music Director. William J. Thomas will be assistant music director. Orchestrations will be provided by Dan DeLange, who has created the orchestrations for numerous Goodspeed productions.
A free program for ‘Good News!’ will be available at every performance and will list all credits for the entire creative team and cast. The show is produced for Goodspeed Musicals by Michael P. Price.
Good News! runs April 12 through June 22, 2013 at the Goodspeed Opera House, 6 Main Street, East Haddam, Connecticut. For tickets call the box office at 860.873.8668, on-line at www.goodspeed.org, and follow the show highlights, exclusive photos, special events and more happenings online as well ad Facebook, Twitter and YouTubeCurtain.
Curtain times are Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (with select performances at 2:00 p.m.), Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. (with select performances at 6:30 p.m.).
The two-time, Tony Award-winning Goodspeed Musicals is opening the season by offering youthful exhuberance and fresh faces to energize the stage with ‘Roaring 20s’ nostalgia, plenty of laughter and rousing dance numbers. Who could ask for anything more?
Written by Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Critics On The Aisle