George M! Folds Its Flag at Goodspeed Oct. 7

News   George M! Folds Its Flag at Goodspeed Oct. 7 The flag-waving at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, ends Oct. 7 when George M! closes after a run that began July 28.

The flag-waving at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, ends Oct. 7 when George M! closes after a run that began July 28.

The life story of playwright-songwriter-director-actor George M. Cohan, who wrote "You're a Grand Old Flag," "Over There," "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "Yankee Doodle Boy," came to life with John Scherer in the title role of the 1968 musical. During the run, he was replaced by Stacey Todd Holt.

Other changes in the cast included: Andrew Deegan replaced Adam Souza in the ensemble, Marc Kessler replaced Joel Newsome in the ensemble and Jeff Statile replaced Shonn Wiley in the ensemble.

Previews began July 7. Early in the summer, song and dance man Joel Blum (Show Boat, Steel Pier) broke his foot in rehearsals for the revival, so Scherer stepped in.

* Greg Ganakas directs and Randy Skinner (who created tap dances in the original 42nd Street) choreographs. The late Michael Stewart (Bye Bye Birdie, Hello, Dolly!) penned the musical, with John and Francine Pascal. Cohan's daughter, Mary, provided musical revisions for the piece when it premiered on Broadway in 1968. Cohan lived 1878 1942.

The original production starred Joel Grey and served as a brief patriotic salve for an America addled by war and social change.

The Goodspeed company includes Frank Root, Dorothy Stanley, Liz Pearce, Jennifer Smith, Tia Speros and Dale Hensley in featured parts. The troupe of 21 also has Jennifer Lee Crowl, Jeremy Davis, Tom Demenkoff, Jennifer Goode, Casey Hushion, Nancy Johnston, Dontee Kiehn, Rosie North, John Simpkins, Jason Sirois, Jennifer Taylor and Branch Woodman.

Scherer played Bertie Wooster in Goodspeed's American premiere of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Alan Ayckbourn musical, By Jeeves.

Michael O'Flaherty is the George M! musical director. Designers are Howard Jones (set), John Carver Sullivan (costumes), Kirk Bookman (lighting).

Tickets are $20-$42. Goodspeed is on Route 82 in East Haddam, CT. For information, call (860) 873-8668 or try the website at www.goodspeed.org.

*

Next up for Goodspeed is a revised revival of Cole Porter's Red, Hot and Blue, with Debbie Gravitte, beginning Oct. 13.

— By Kenneth Jones