Goodspeed's collaborators on Emmet Otter include co-librettists Tim McDonald of iTheatrics and Christopher Gattelli, a 2008 Tony nominee for his choreography for the Lincoln Center Theater revival of South Pacific; composer-lyricist Paul Williams; and Brian Henson, the co-CEO who is spearheading the project for the Jim Henson Company.
Directed and choreographed by Gattelli, Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas will premiere at the Goodspeed Opera House Dec. 7 and run through Jan. 4, 2009. A press opening is scheduled for Dec. 17.
Emmet Otter will mark the first time Goodspeed has produced a brand-new holiday musical.
John McDaniel will be the musical supervisor for the production, which will feature a mix of live actors and puppets. Nineteen actors will play the main characters from the book (and HBO's subsequent, 1977 Ace Award-winning television special) with puppet characters added to the mix. The Henson Company will add its layer of magic with puppetry and costumes.
No casting has been announced. The musical, according to press notes, is described as such: "As Christmas approaches the world of Frogtown Hollow, Emmet Otter and his Ma can only dream of buying each other gifts. So when a Christmas Eve talent contest is announced, both secretly enter hoping to win the prize money. In a heartwarming twist on 'The Gift of the Magi,' Emmet and Ma risk all they have and end up with the greatest grand prize of all.
In a statement Goodspeed executive director Michael Price said, "The magic of Christmastime in this idyllic holiday setting is the perfect backdrop for such a timeless tale. Emmet and Ma's story of giving is one we are excited to share with audiences. The wonderful music, charming characters and exceptional performers will make for a festive celebration for all ages. Looking to the future we hope Christmas at the Goodspeed Opera House will be an enduring holiday tradition."
Tickets are on sale now to Goodspeed members and will go on sale to the general public Sept. 5. For more information visit www.goodspeed.org or call the box office (860) 873-8668.
Dedicated to the preservation and advancement of musical theatre, Goodspeed Musicals produces three musicals each season at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, and additional musicals at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT, which was opened in 1984 for the development of new musicals. The only regional theatre to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement), Goodspeed also maintains The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre and The Max Showalter Center for Education in the Musical Theater.