Very Good Eddie, Kern Gem That Twinkled at the Dawn of American Musical Theatre, Opens

News   Very Good Eddie, Kern Gem That Twinkled at the Dawn of American Musical Theatre, Opens
 
Goodspeed Musicals returns to the 1915 Jerome Kern musical, Very Good Eddie, opening Aug. 13 following previews since July 11 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut.
Randy Rogel  and Alison Walla perform
Randy Rogel and Alison Walla perform "Babes in the Wood from Very Good Eddie. Photo by Diane Sobolewski

The Tony Award-honored company devoted to new and old musicals first revived the classic show in 1975. Very Good Eddie was one of the so-called intimate Princess Theatre shows that charmed audiences at the dawn of American musical theatre, more than a decade before Show Boat made waves in the form.

That '75 Goodspeed production went on to Broadway, was preserved on a cast album and a year later played London. This revival continues to Oct. 5.

BT McNicholl directs and Dan Siretta choreographs the tale of two honeymooning couples crossing paths and trading partners — accidentally. The show is set along the Hudson River. Siretta also staged the musical numbers in 1975, when he was in his twenties.

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The Very Good Eddie company includes Perry Ojeda, Donna Lynne Champlin, Jay Douglas, Gerry Vichi and Ann Kittredge, among others. Champlin appeared in Goodspeed's By Jeeves, No, No, Nanette and Battle Cry of Freedom. She appeared on Broadway in 2002-03 in Hollywood Arms. Ojeda is remembered as Gabey from the recent Broadway revival of On the Town, Vichi was seen in Broadway's recent Annie Get Your Gun and How to Succeed..., Douglas was in Broadway's The Full Monty.

The cast also includes Randy Rogel, Christianne Tisdale (a Belle of Broadway's Beauty and the Beast), Patrick Boll and Alison Walla, with Jacqueline Bayne, James Compton, Kurt Domoney, Jennifer Evans, Paul Lincoln, Gregory Lofts, Louise Madison and Karen Sieber.

The musical director for Very Good Eddie is Michael O'Flaherty, with orchestrations by Dan DeLange. John Coyne will design the sets, with costume design by Suzy Benzinger and lighting by Richard Pilbrow.

Tickets are $22-$55. For information, call (860) 873-8668 or visit www.goodspeed.org.

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Very Good Eddie has a book by Guy Bolton (based on a farce by Philip Bartholomae) and lyrics by Schuyler Greene. The Kern song, "Babes in the Wood," was the show's standout hit, but still isn't known widely.

McNicholl's recent directing credit was The IT Girl for York Theatre company. He was also that show's lyricist and co-author.

Kern will be heard on Broadway in fall 2003 with the new musical, Never Gonna Dance, inspired by the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical, "Swing Time." The show borrows songs from many Kern projects. Kern, of course, is the composer of the grandfather of American musicals, Show Boat.

Randy Rogel and Alison Walla in <i>Very Good Eddie</i>.
Randy Rogel and Alison Walla in Very Good Eddie. Photo by Diane Sobolewski
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