When the biggest power outage in U.S. history occurred, generators kicked in at both Goodspeed theatres, the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam and the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, saving productions of Jerome Kern's Very Good Eddie and the world premiere developmental run of Frank Wildhorn and Nan Knighton's Camille Claudel. It was the day after the opening of Eddie and the first day for Camille Claudel. Working with a temporary generator at the Norma Terris, the company presented the sold-out Camille Claudel with simple work lights, no sound system, limited costumes and no air conditioning. But 45 minutes into Act One, the power came back on in the lower Connecticut River area, and Act Two was presented with full light, sound and air conditioning.
Very Good Eddie was also singing merrily. The lights of the opera house and its parking area were shining on the Connecticut River's edge. Normal power came back on shortly before the evening performance of Eddie, but part of the matinee was run generator power.
By all accounts, there was a magical quality to the Camille performance. A spokesperson for the company said the scenic limitations heightened the theatrical experience, encouraging patrons to do what they should be doing at the theatre — using their imaginations.
Performances of the shows continued as scheduled, without incident, into the weekend.
For information about Goodspeed Musicals, which gave early voice to Annie, Man of La Mancha and Shenandoah, visit www.goodspeed.org.