The 1998 summer season at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, will feature Mirette, the latest musical from the team who wrote The Fantasticks; plus two revivals of Tony-winning musicals originally made famous by Bob Fosse choreography: The Pajama Game and Redhead.
Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt's Mirette, about a little girl who dreams of becoming a tightrope walker, and which was developed at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre in 1996, will get a mainstage production in the key midsummer middle slot of the three-show season, July 1 to Sept. 18.
A song from Mirette is featured in (and provides the title for) Jones & Schmidt's current hit Off Broadway revue The Show Goes On.
Mirette has a book by Elizabeth Diggs, based on the children's book, Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully. Ten-year-old Mirette, who helps her mother run a boarding house for actors in 1890s Paris, is inspired by a former tightrope walker, The Great Bellini. In the course of the story she helps him overcome the paralyzing fear that has destroyed his career.
It's the latest work from the team that produced I Do! I Do!, 110 in the Shade, Celebration, and Off-Broadway's The Fantasticks, the longest-running musical in the world (now in its 38th year). The 1998 Goodspeed season will open (April 2- June 26) with a revival of the Fosse-choreographed 1955 Tony-winner, The Pajama Game, which Richard Adler & Jerry Ross wrote two years before Damn Yankees.
The Pajama Game tells the story of a romance between a union leader and shop superintendent at a midwest pajama factory. the book, by George Abbott and Richard Bissell, is based on Bissel's novel, "7 1/2 Cents." Songs include "Hey There," "Hernando's Hideaway" and "Steam Heat." Goodspeed's production will be directed and choreographed by Greg Ganakas, who directed a national tour of Damn Yankees.
Redhead, a rarely-revived murder mystery vehicle for Verdon that won the 1959 Best Musical Tony Award, will close the season Sept. 23 to Dec. 13.
Though Redhead won the 1959 Best Musical Tony (a year after The Music Man and a year before Fiorello!),. the vehicle for dancer Gwen Verdon has never been revived on Broadway, and rarely elsewhere. Verdon played Essie Whimple, a worker in a wax museum who tries to solve the murder of a local music hall dance while pursuing the man of her dreams.
The score, by Albert Hague and Dorothy Fields, includes "Look Who's in Love." Other Hague scores include Plain and Fancy, Cafe Crown and TV's How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The book was written by Herbert and Dorothy Fields, Sidney Sheldon (the famous mystery novel author) and David Shaw.
Goodspeed's Redhead will be directed by Christopher Ashley, who staged last season's Lucky in the Rain at Goodspeed.
Also coming up at Goodspeed's second stage, the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT: The world premiere of Exactly Like You, Cy Coleman's first musical since The Life and the latest in a long eclectic line that includes Sweet Charity, Barnum and The Will Rogers Follies, May 7-31.
Exactly Like You, which Coleman described as "a courtroom drama, but very funny," will have lyrics by Coleman and A.E. Hotchner, his collaborator on the short-run 1980s musical Welcome to the Club, which dealt with another part of the legal system, an alimony jail.
Other Norma Terris Theatre productions have not yet been announced.
The box office for all the above productions opens Sunday, Feb. 1. For subscriptions and tickets: (860) 873-8668.
-- By Robert Viagas