True to the tradition of Babes in Arms, which originally featured youthful newcomers in its 1937 Broadway debut, the Goodspeed Musicals reconsideration July 12-Sept 28, at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, will not be star driven.
Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change) penned a new libretto for the show that gave the world such Rodgers and Hart songs as "Johnny One-Note," "I Wish I Were in Love Again," "Where or When," "My Funny Valentine" and "The Lady is a Tramp." The Rodgers and Hart classic, "Blue Moon," not written for a specific show, is being interpolated into the score.
The musical about teenagers who put on a show to prove their worth, will feature Bradford Anderson as Valentine LaMar. Anderson is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and most recently played the role of Matt in The Fantasticks at the Idaho Repertory Theater, where he was also in The Tempest. Rena Strober will play Billie Smith. She's been seen on Broadway and on tour in Les Misérables. A graduate of Skidmore College, Strober's regional theatre credits include the world premiere of Reefer Madness in Los Angeles and Fiddler on the Roof at the Music Circus in Sacramento.
Marie Lillo will play Mabel Lancaster, a new character added to the production. This character will now sing "The Lady Is a Tramp" rather than the Billie character.
Perhaps the best known cast member is Leslie Kritzer, who wowed New Jersey audiences as Fanny Brice in Paper Mill's Funny Girl. She'll play Baby Rose. The company also includes Harley Adams (Mickey LaMar), Jared Grimes (Ivor), Nikki James (Darlene), Dana Zihlman (Dolores Reynolds), Thomas Cannizzaro (Gus), Jeremy Davis (Dick), Rick Faugno (Larry), Tim Federle (Steve), Jeanne Goodman (Dolly), Casey Owens (Edna), Erin Webley (June), Kenneth Kantor (Sheriff Reynolds).
Greg Ganakas, who helmed Goodspeed's Brigadoon and George M!, directs. The tap-happy choreography is by Randy Skinner, who choreographed the current Broadway production of 42nd Street, plus Goodspeed's George M! and Lucky in the Rain.
Press opening is Aug. 2. For information, call the Goodspeed box office at (860) 873-8668 or visit www.goodspeed.org.
— By Kenneth Jones