Come 2001, "Goodspeed Musicals" will be the new banner of the producing organization that includes the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, and a developmental second space, The Norma Terris Theatre.
When Brigadoon begins the company's 2001 season in April, the Goodspeed Opera House Foundation will call itself Goodspeed Musicals, a name that was tested in recent seasons. Goodspeed Opera House and The Norma Terris Theatre will remain as names of the nonprofit troupe's venues.
"The name Goodspeed Musicals more accurately reflects our mission as a producer and protector of musicals," said Godspeed executive director Michael P. Price. "It will strengthen the Goodspeed brand as a leader in all aspects of musical theatre, especially as we expand our venues and export our work to theatres across the country."
In its 37 years of producing, Goodspeed, headquartered in an 1876 opera house on the lip of the Connecticut River, has sent more than 15 shows to Broadway, including Annie and Man of La Mancha. The American debut of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Alan Ayckbourn's By Jeeves began at Goodspeed; the show is slated for a staging by Pittsburgh Public Theater in February 2001 and there is hope for a commercial future.
The organization also operates the Goodspeed Library of Musical Theatre, one of the country's largest collections of musical theatre material, and publishes Show Music magazine. The mainstage theatre presents revivals or new works: Brigadoon, King of Hearts and the "new" Gershwin musical, They All Laughed, are expected in 2001. The Norma Terris in nearby Chester, CT, is devoted to new works (such as the summer hit, Summer of '42) or newly revised revivals (the current "revisal" of Jerry Herman's Dear World, through Dec. 10). The use of Goodspeed-at-Chester will be dropped in the future.
The organization has received two special Tony Awards — for "outstanding contribution to musical theatre" (1980) and "distinguished achievement for a regional theatre" (1995).
A revised version of Cole Porter's Red, Hot and Blue! plays to Dec. 31 on the mainstage. For information, call (860) 873-8668.
— By Kenneth Jones