A Fonz Farewell: Happy Days Ends at Goodspeed, But Tour Will Launch

By Kenneth Jones
04 Jul 2008

Joey Sorge as Fonzie.
Joey Sorge as Fonzie.
Photo by Diane Sobolewski

Goodspeed Musicals' popular, extended run of Happy Days: A New Musical, based on the TV series about a family and their friends in 1950s Milwaukee, ends July 4 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT.

Happy Days got an added week at Goodspeed due to ticket demand. The show is based on the hit Paramount Pictures television series created by Garry Marshall, who also wrote the libretto, with music and lyrics by Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning songwriter Paul Williams ("We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "An Old Fashioned Love Song").

A separate national tour of the show will launch this fall. PS Classics released a cast album of the Paper Mill production earlier this year.

According to Goodspeed, "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. These days are yours and mine…"

Happy Days is directed by Gordon Greenberg and choreographed by Michele Lynch. Emmy and Grammy award winner John McDaniel is music supervisor. The music director for Happy Days is Michael O'Flaherty.



Happy Days is produced for Goodspeed Musicals by Michael P. Price. This production was made possible in part by assistance from Bob Boyett, who is attached to the show's commercial future.

The musical comedy about Eisenhower-era pals and their affection for a Milwaukee malt shop — opened May 7 (after previews from April 11) at Goodspeed Opera House following a sold-out summer 2007 run at Goodspeed Musicals' smaller home.

Since summer 2007, the musical was expanded and refined for this latest production by the Tony Award-honored Connecticut company. Following the earlier summer 2007 test run by Goodspeed (Aug. 9-Sept. 2, at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT), director Gordon Greenberg and his collaborators were able to further develop the show at Paper Mill Playhouse in fall 2007.

Rewrites followed the Paper Mill run in New Jersey, as well, leading to this new incarnation.

Joey Sorge (Broadway's The Drowsy Chaperone, Follies, Thoroughly Modern Millie) returned for this run after playing biker Fonzie at the Terris and Paper Mill.

Richie Cunningham is 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) plays 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 is 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, plays best-buddy Potsie.

Savannah Wise makes her Goodspeed debut as Joanie. Lannon Killea is Chachi.

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

Hanna-Liina Vosa makes her Goodspeed debut as Lori Beth, and Matt Merchant is 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. Matt Walker was replaced by Garth Kravits during the run.

For more information visit www.goodspeed.org.

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A separate North American touring production (but using the same creative team) will launch at La Mirada Theatre in California. In association with McCoy Rigby Entertainment, Robert Boyett Theatricals will produce it.