The two-time Tony Award-honored not-for-profit company, under the leadership of executive director Michael P. Price, enters its 43rd season in 2006, with three musicals that have never before been seen on the Goodspeed stage.
Following its run at the Goodspeed Opera House, Goodspeed will produce a national tour of Stephen Schwartz's fable, Pippin, with cities and dates to be announced. Gabriel Barre directs, Mark Dendy choreographs.
Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul (the composers of last season's Goodspeed hit, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) wrote the score to Li'l Abner, which features a book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, based on the comic strip created by Al Capp. "Trouble begins in the cornseed town of Dogpatch, USA when the government decides to wipe it off the map," according to Goodspeed. The show is "filled with gentle satire, rib-tickling humor, and a host of brash, catchy tunes" including "If I Had My Druthers," "Jubilation T. Cornpone," “Love in a Home,” “Progress Is the Root of All Evil,” and "The Country's in the Very Best of Hands."
Winner of two Tony Awards, Li'l Abner opened Nov. 15, 1956 at Broadway's St. James Theatre and played for 693 performances. Directed and choreographed by Michael Kidd, the original cast included Edith Adams, Peter Palmer, Howard St. John and Stubby Kaye.
Goodspeed's Li'l Abner will be directed by Scott Schwartz (Goodspeed's Me and My Girl, Off-Broadway's Bat Boy: The Musical) and choreographed by Patti Colombo (Goodspeed's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, national tours of Seussical the Musical and Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby). Pippin is the coming of age story of Charlemagne's oldest son. "A surprise waits around every corner as Pippin wanders through the worlds of politics, love and war before finding his true calling — home and family," according to Goodspeed. The score, introduced famously by an omnipotent "Leading Player" first played by Ben Vereen, includes "Magic to Do," "Corner of the Sky" and "No Time At All." The 1972 score is by three-time Oscar-winning composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Children of Eden and the animated films "Pocahontas," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "The Prince of Egypt").
In a new take on the G&S favorite, The Pirates of Penzance, Goodspeed promises a "Pirates of the Caribbean" flavor, and action that will extend out into the audience. The comic operetta was first performed at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on Dec. 31, 1879.
Pirates will be directed by Gordon Greenberg (Goodspeed's The Baker's Wife and O. Henry's Lovers). A choreographer will be announced at a later date.
The 2006 Goodspeed Musicals season at the Norma Terris Theatre, Goodspeed's developmental space in Chester, CT, will be announced at a later date.
Advance season subscriptions for both theatres are now on sale through the Goodspeed box office at (860) 873-8668, or at www.goodspeed.org.