Nicolette Hart will play Wynette (and sing her hit songs) in the new musical directed by Gabriel Barre (Goodspeed's King of Hearts, Summer of 42). Performances continue at the developmental Chester space, used for new and revised works and not open to critics, to June 8. Librettist Mark St. Germain shaped the tale, subtitled The Tammy Wynette Story.
Here's how Goodspeed bills the show: "5 husbands. 50 hit songs. 20 million fans. 1 woman's life. Follow music legend Tammy Wynette's journey of triumph and heartbreak. Through her humor and award-winning songs you'll share the joy when she finds everlasting love."
The songs in the show are used in concert sequences and to further the plot, as in a traditional book musical. The score includes "Stand By Your Man," "Why Baby Why," "I Saw The Light," "My Man (Understands)," "Between 29 and Danger," "The Race Is On," "Bedtime Story," "Apartment #9," "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad," "Love Bug," "My Elusive Dreams," "D-I-V-O-R-C-E ," "(We're Not) The Jet Set," "Near You," "We're Gonna Hold On," "I Still Believe In Fairytales," "Til I Can Make It On My Own," "She Thinks I Still Care," "Another Chance," "Did You Ever," "Golden Ring," "If Drinking Don't Kill Me Her Memory Will," "You And Me," "Til I Get It Right," "God's Gonna Get You For That," "Justified And Ancient," "Singin' My Song," "How Great Thou Art."
St. Germain is known for his plays Camping With Henry and Tom, Out of Gas on Lover's Leap and Forgiving Typhoid Mary. With Randy Courts, he wrote the musical The Gifts of the Magi, presented for 10 years at New York's Lamb's Theatre. Barre will also direct Goodspeed's Camille Claudel starring Linda Eder this summer at The Norma Terris Theatre.
Stand By Your Man was produced by Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in 2001 and 2002 under Barre's direction and now has New York producer Carolyn Rossi Copeland (The Prince and the Pauper) attached.
Actress Nicolette Hart's credits include Off-Broadway's recent Heat Lightning, the national tour of The Civil War and the European tour of Grease.
Joining Hart is Miles Aubrey as Euple Byrd. Most recently Aubrey has been seen at Tennessee Rep as the Prince in Cinderella and Hortensio in Taming of the Shrew.
The role of Burt Reynolds will be played Galen Butler, an associate conductor for Frank Wildhorn's The Civil War who has performed with artists such as Crystal Gayle, Dottie Rambo and Larry Gatlin.
Kevin Fox (of Broadway's Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story) will play Don Chapel.
Jim Heffernan will portray Michael Tomlin. He has toured with Nashville artists over the past 15 years, including Tammy Wynette herself.
The role of Young Tammy will be played by Jenny Littleton, featured in the motion pictures "Existo" and "Gas Station."
Susan Mansur (the original Doatsey Mae of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) will play MeeMaw.
Jim Price will be George Richey. He made his Broadway debut in The Civil War. Billy Sherrill will be played by Louis Tucci, also seen on Broadway in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.
The role of country singer George Jones will be played by Jim Wann, the principal author-composer of Pump Boys and Dinettes.
Musical direction and arrangements for Stand by Your Man are by Galen Butler. Designers are by Dennis C. Maulden (set), Bridget R. Bartlett (costume) and Todd O. Wren (lighting).
Stand by Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story is produced for Goodspeed Musicals by Michael P. Price.
Tickets are $37. The Norma Terris, Goodspeed's developmental space for new works, is in Chester, CT. For information, call (860) 873-8668 or visit www.goodspeed.org.