Happy Days, Big River, Half a Sixpence to Play Goodspeed Opera House in 2008

News   Happy Days, Big River, Half a Sixpence to Play Goodspeed Opera House in 2008 Goodspeed Musicals, under the leadership of Michael P. Price — who will be celebrating his 40th year as the Tony Award-honored troupe's executive director — announced Happy Days, Half a Sixpence and Big River as its Goodspeed Opera House shows for 2008.
Felicia Finley, Joey Sorge and (background) Rory O
Felicia Finley, Joey Sorge and (background) Rory O Photo by Diane Sobolewski

The East Haddam, CT, venue famously houses revivals, revisions of classics and new works.

The previously announced Happy Days, based on the hit TV series, has book by Garry Marshall and songs by Paul Williams, and will run April 11-June 29, 2008; the British musical comedy Half a Sixpence, which was a 1960s vehicle for Tommy Steele in London and on Broadway, will run July 11-Sept. 19, 2008; the Huck Finn musical Big River will run Sept. 26-Nov. 30, 2008.

Happy Days was produced by Goodspeed Musicals as a developmental production in August 2007 at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT, followed by a production at Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey in the fall of 2007. A cast album of the Paper Mill production will be released by PS Classics Jan. 8, 2008.

"After a successful run last year, Goodspeed audiences will be treated to a full scale production featuring an expanded orchestra and bigger, broader dance numbers," according to the not-for-profit.

Gordon Greenberg returns to Goodspeed to direct the 1950s-set show he helped pilot when it made its East Coast premiere in Connecticut. Michele Lynch will again choreograph. Half a Sixpence is billed as "a bouncy, romantic musical" about "young Arthur Kipps — a Cockney shop clerk who inherits a fortune, flirts with 'society,' loses his money and winds up happier without it."

It includes the memorable number, "If the Rain's Got to Fall." The show's cast album and film version boast boisterous up-tempo numbers. Music and lyrics are by David Heneker and the book is by Beverly Cross, drawing on the novel "Kipps" by H.G. Wells. Gordon Greenberg will direct.

Big River, the 1985 musical version of Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," has songs by Roger Miller and a book by William Hauptman, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical.

The production will be directed by Rob Ruggiero, who directed 2007's 1776 at Goodspeed, and conceived and directed Off-Broadway's current Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn.

For more information about Goodspeed Musicals, visit www.goodspeed.org.

The cast of the 2007 production of <i>Happy Days</i> at the Goodspeed Opera House
The cast of the 2007 production of Happy Days at the Goodspeed Opera House Photo by Diane Sobolewski