Thumbs Up: Joey Sorge Will Be Fonzie Again When Goodspeed Returns to Happy Days Musical

News   Thumbs Up: Joey Sorge Will Be Fonzie Again When Goodspeed Returns to Happy Days Musical Casting has been announced for Goodspeed Musicals' April-to-June re-mount of Happy Days: A New Musical.
Joey Sorge as Fonzie.
Joey Sorge as Fonzie. Photo by Diane Sobolewski

A hit in 2007 in Goodspeed Musicals' developmental space, the show has been expanded and refined for its upcoming run at Goodspeed Opera House. Director Gordon Greenberg and his collaborators were able to further develop the show at Paper Mill Playhouse following the earlier summer 2007 test run by Goodspeed at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT. Rewrites followed the Paper Mill run in New Jersey, as well.

Joey Sorge (Broadway's The Drowsy Chaperone, Follies, Thoroughly Modern Millie) returns after the Terris and Paper Mill to reprise his role as biker Fonzie in the musical by librettist Garry Marshall and songwriter Paul Williams. The show is based on the hit 1950s-set TV series created by Marshall.

This production of Happy Days: A New Musical is exclusive to Goodspeed, running April 11-June 29 in East Haddam, CT. Opening is May 7. A separate North American touring production (but using the same creative team) will launch Sept. 12 at La Mirada Theatre in California. In association with McCoy Rigby Entertainment, Robert Boyett Theatricals will produce it. A tour schedule has not been announced.

According to Goodspeed Musicals, "The whole gang is back! Richie, Fonzie, Ralph, Potsie, and all your favorites from the smash-hit TV series are rockin' and rollin' all week long. The laughs never end in a celebration of poodle skirts, jukeboxes, motorcycles and malt shops. 1959 is cool again as the gang tries to save Arnold's in a sock-hoppin', engines-revvin' new musical for the entire family."

Richie Cunningham will be played by Rory O'Malley who recently made his Broadway debut in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He played Richie in last season's developmental production of Happy Days. Sandra Denise (the national tours of Jersey Boys, Parade, Hairspray and Rent) will play the role of Pinky Tuscadero.

Returning to play the role of Marion is Cynthia Ferrer, who originated the role of Kathy Selden in the first national tour of Singin' in the Rain.

Kevin Carolan plays Howard Cunningham, returning to Goodspeed Musicals where he last performed in Kudzu at the Norma Terris Theatre in 1997.

Ralph Malph will be played by Stanley Bahorek, who recently made his Broadway debut as Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Billy Tighe, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a recent featured soloist with the Cincinnati Pops, will play best-buddy Potsie.

Savannah Wise makes her Goodspeed debut in the role of Joanie. Lannon Killea will be playing Chachi.

Bob Amaral (Broadway's Guys and Dolls and ...Forum) will play diner owner Arnold.

Hanna-Liina Vosa will make her Goodspeed debut as Lori Beth, and Matt Merchant will play Count Malachi. The members of the ensemble are Mia Price (Pinkette), Leah Sprecher (Pinkette), Matt Walker (Jumpy Malachi), Zach Frank, Rachel Frankenthal and swings Michael Bauer and Elise Kinnon.

Since the Aug. 9-Sept. 2, 2007, Norma Terris Theatre developmental production by Goodspeed, Happy Days has been expanded to include: two additional cast members, expanded dance numbers (both happened with the Paper Mill production), some book updates and two new songs (new for this Goodspeed production).

Choreographer Michele Lynch (The Coast of Utopia, 13) returns to the show.

The creative team also includes scenic designer Walt Spangler, costume designer David C. Woolard, lighting designer Jeff Croiter and music supervisor John McDaniel. The music director is Michael O'Flaherty.

Composer-lyricist Paul Williams is known for such songs as "We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "An Old Fashioned Love Song."

For more information visit www.goodspeed.org.

The cast of <i>Happy Days</i>
The cast of Happy Days Photo by Diane Sobolewski
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