In the Irving Berlin classic, Sally, the famous party-giver, is named Madam Ambassador to fictional Lichtenburg, where romance blossoms. The authors denied the character and situation were loosely based on Mrs. Perle Mesta, President Truman's pick as ambassador to Luxembourg.
The 1950 score, which includes the standard, "You're Just in Love," is by composer-lyricist Irving Berlin, with book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. James Brennan directs and choreographs the show that Ethel Merman helped make famous. Russell Nype, who appeared as Kenneth on Broadway with Merman, will attend the first preview as a guest of Goodspeed.
Criswell, whose voice is known for its brass, has sung on studio recordings of scores that Merman first sang: Annie Get Your Gun and Anything Goes (both on the EMI label under the baton of John McGlinn). The Madam score includes "It's a Lovely Day Today," "The Best Thing for You," "Marrying for Love," "Something to Dance About" and more.
The Goodspeed Madam cast includes the respected Broadway actress Catherine Brunell (remembered as understudy to Sutton Foster in Thoroughly Modern Millie) as Princess Maria, Zachary Halley as Kenneth Gibson, David Hess as Cosmo Constantine, Stephen Temperley as Pemberton Maxwell, with Jay Bodin, Nicole Debace, Michael Dionissiou, Kendra Doyle, Jerold Goldstein, Kevin Covert, Joan Hess, Ashley Fox Linton, Mark Manley, Marci Reid, William Ryall, Ryan Swearingen, Kristen Beth Williams, Scott Willis and Branch Woodman.
Opening is May 19. The musical director for Call Me Madam is Michael O'Flaherty; F. Wade Russo will be assistant musical director with orchestrations by Dan DeLange. Designers are Howard Jones (sets), Gail Baldoni (costumes), David Segal (lighting).
Call Me Madam is produced for Goodspeed Musicals by Michael P. Price.
Tickets are $24-$53, available through the Goodspeed box office at (860) 873-8668. For more information, visit www.goodspeed.org.