The Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, has announced its upcoming season, which will include Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd (May 3-June 21), a new version of the musical Paper Moon (July 19-Sept. 13); and a 20th anniversary production of Annie (Sept. 18-Dec. 22), which originated at Goodspeed in 1976.
Goodspeed has a reputation for mounting high quality productions that often move on to other major theatres. Since Goodspeed received the 1995 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, two of its productions have been transferred to Broadway, "Gentleman Prefer Blondes" and "Swinging on a Star."
Sweeney Todd, the award-winning musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler, is based on a 19th century tale of a murderous English Barber. The score includes favorites such as "Not While I'm Around," "Johanna," and "Have a Little Priest," to name a few.
The Goodspeed production is directed by Gabriel Barre. The press agent for the Goodspeed confirmed that there are no plans to transfer this production to Broadway, which recently hosted the York Theatre Company's revival of "Sweeney Todd" at Circle in the Square Theatre in 1989.
Paper Moon is a new musical with book by Martin Casella, (who wrote the Los Angeles produced award-winning play Mates) and composed by Larry Grossman (best known for Goodtime Charley, Minnie's Boys, A Doll's Life and Snoopy!!!). An earlier version of the musical closed a pre-Broadway engagement at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse in 1993. Directed by the librettist's brother Matt Casella, "Paper Moon" is based on the 1973 film (best remembered for it's casting of father and daughter team Ryan and Tatum O'Neill), about an orphan and a con man who find a common bond on a mission in Depression-era Alabama. The show has been re-written for this production, with hopes that it will journey on to other regional theatres.
The Goodspeed production of Annie marks the 20th Anniversary Production by its original creators, author Thomas Meehan, composer Charles Strouse and lyricist and director Martin Charnin. Annie opened at the Goodspeed in 1976 and moved to Broadway, where it won seven Tony awards including Best Musical.
Based on the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie," the story about the girl who goes from orphanage poverty to the riches of Daddy Warbucks is so adored that it was made into a film, and inspired an unsuccessful Broadway sequel, Annie II . The press agent for the Goodspeed admitted hopes that the show will return to Broadway for the second time.
The Goodspeed Opera House not only mounts full-blown revivals and supports the growth of new musicals, but also maintains the library of musical theatre and publishes the quarterly magazine, "Show Music."