The musical based on the TV series created by Garry Marshall (who penned the libretto here) has been expanded and refined for this latest production by the Tony Award-honored Connecticut company. Following the earlier summer 2007 test run by Goodspeed (Aug. 9-Sept. 2, at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT), director Gordon Greenberg and his collaborators were able to further develop the show at Paper Mill Playhouse in fall 2007.
Rewrites followed the Paper Mill run in New Jersey, as well, leading to this new incarnation.
Joey Sorge (Broadway's The Drowsy Chaperone, Follies, Thoroughly Modern Millie) returns after the Terris and Paper Mill to reprise his role as biker Fonzie in the musical by librettist Marshall and hit songwriter Paul Williams.
This production of Happy Days: A New Musical is exclusive to Goodspeed, running through June 29 in East Haddam, CT. Opening is May 7.
A separate North American touring production (but using the same creative team) will launch Sept. 12 at La Mirada Theatre in California. In association with McCoy Rigby Entertainment, Robert Boyett Theatricals will produce it. A tour schedule has not yet been announced. *
According to Goodspeed Musicals, "The whole gang is back! Richie, Fonzie, Ralph, Potsie, and all your favorites from the smash-hit TV series are rockin' and rollin' all week long. The laughs never end in a celebration of poodle skirts, jukeboxes, motorcycles and malt shops. 1959 is cool again as the gang tries to save Arnold's in a sock-hoppin', engines-revvin' new musical for the entire family."
Richie Cunningham is played by Rory O'Malley who recently made his Broadway debut in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He played Richie in last season's developmental production of Happy Days.
Returning to play the role of Marion is Cynthia Ferrer, who originated the role of Kathy Selden in the first national tour of Singin' in the Rain.
Kevin Carolan plays Howard Cunningham, returning to Goodspeed Musicals where he last performed in Kudzu at the Norma Terris Theatre in 1997.
Ralph Malph is played by Stanley Bahorek, who recently made his Broadway debut as Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Billy Tighe, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a recent featured soloist with the Cincinnati Pops, plays best-buddy Potsie.
Savannah Wise makes her Goodspeed debut as Joanie. Lannon Killea is Chachi.
Bob Amaral (Broadway's Guys and Dolls and ...Forum) plays diner owner Arnold.
Hanna-Liina Vosa makes her Goodspeed debut as Lori Beth, and Matt Merchant is Count Malachi. The members of the ensemble are Mia Price (Pinkette), Leah Sprecher (Pinkette), Matt Walker (Jumpy Malachi), Zach Frank, Rachel Frankenthal and swings Michael Bauer and Elise Kinnon.
Since the 2007, Happy Days has been expanded to include: two additional cast members, expanded dance numbers (both happened with the Paper Mill production), some book updates and two new songs (new for this Goodspeed production).
Choreographer Michele Lynch (The Coast of Utopia, 13) returns to the show.
The creative team also includes scenic designer Walt Spangler, costume designer David C. Woolard, lighting designer Jeff Croiter and music supervisor John McDaniel. The music director is Michael O'Flaherty.
Composer-lyricist Paul Williams is known for such songs as "We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "An Old Fashioned Love Song."
For more information visit www.goodspeed.org.