As previously reported here, Goodspeed Musicals will stage a rewritten Babes in Arms, a revival of King of Hearts as it was intended by the authors, and the tap happy spoof, Dames at Sea, at its flagship Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, in 2002.
The not-for-profit theatre devoted to new works and revivals officially announced its season Jan. 9, although Playbill On Line reported in October 2001 that Goodspeed executive producer Michael Price was finalizing what has now been solidified. At the smaller developmental Goodspeed space, The Norma Terris Theatre, in Chester, CT, the season will have one change from what was expected last fall. The revised revival of The Baker's Wife has dropped out of the lineup, to be replaced by a show to be announced. A scheduling conflict with composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz prompted the postponement of cult musical about a baker in a French village who loses his wife to a younger man, with book by Joseph Stein, according to Goodspeed spokesperson Jennifer Wislocki. She said Goodspeed is committed to the project will stage it in 2003, or, if Schwartz becomes available, in the fall as planned.
The Norma Terris season includes the new musicals Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief (May 15-June 9) and The Road to Hollywood (Aug. 8-Sept. 1), and a third musical to be announced, Nov. 7-Dec. 1.
The Opera House season will offer Dames at Sea April 5-July 6; Babes in Arms July 12-Sept. 28; and King of Hearts Oct. 4-Dec. 15.
Dames at Sea has book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller, music by Jim Wise and tells the story of naïve, fresh-faced Ruby, who becomes the last-minute star of a new show just before the theatre is demolished. The original production starred Bernadette Peters and opened Off Broadway in 1968. Scott Thompson directs and choreographs. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Richard Rodgers' birth, Goodspeed will produce a retooled Babes in Arms, the Rodgers and Hart musical comedy that made its Broadway debut in 1937. Featuring a treasure-trove of songs, from "My Funny Valentine" to "The Lady Is a Tramp," the show involves a group of teenagers who decide to put on a show. The new book is by Joe DiPietro, who previously wrote the book for the "new" Gershwin musical, They All Laughed!, which premiered at Goodspeed in 2001. DiPietro also penned Off-Broadway's I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and Over the River and Through the Woods. Greg Ganakas will direct Babes in Arms, with choreography by Randy Skinner (who created dances for 42nd Street on Broadway).
Goodspeed will rediscover the 1978 musical, King of Hearts, by returning to the pre-Broadway book by Steve Tesich, with music by Peter Link and lyrics by Jacob Brackman. Based on a 1966 French film, the story unfolds as a young World War I American soldier stumbles upon the curious inhabitants of a small French village and finds refuge and love while saving the village from the Germans. Darko Tresnjak (Goodspeed's A Little Night Music) will direct. Peggy Hickey (Goodspeed's Goodspeed's Brigadoon, On the Twentieth Century and A Little Night Music) will choreograph.
Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, with music and lyrics by Craig Carnelia and book by David H. Bell, is the story of an aged television cowboy, a popular movie star, and a lawyer who gets caught in the middle defending his childhood hero. Carnelia is the lyricist for the Broadway-bound Sweet Smell of Success. Bell, author of the musicals Elmer Gantry and Hot Mikado, will direct.
"Big Band swing, fun and romantic chaos" is promised for the new musical The Road to Hollywood, inspired by the string of "road" pictures that starred Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. Michael Pace and Walter Bobbie (director of Broadway's Chicago revival) partnered on the book, while Pace teamed up with Rob Preston on music and lyrics. Bobbie directs The Road to Hollywood.
A third new musical is currently being selected to complete The Norma Terris Theatre season in the fall.
For information about Goodspeed Musicals' 2002 season (subscriptions go on sale Jan. 14), call (860) 873-8668. Single tickets go on sale March 3. Visit goodspeed.org.
Goodspeed Musicals, "dedicated to the preservation and advancement of musical theatre," is the recipient of two Tony Awards for its achievements. In addition to its on-stage productions, Goodspeed also maintains the Scherer Library of Musical Theatre and publishes Show Music, The Musical Theatre Magazine. Annie and Man of La Mancha had formative stagings there prior to international success.
— By Kenneth Jones