Will Pamela's First Musical Make Its Debut with Goodspeed Musicals in 2005?

By Kenneth Jones
05 Oct 2004

Goodspeed Musicals is in discussions with composer Cy Coleman and his Pamela's First Musical collaborators about a developmental staging of the family friendly show for fall 2005, Playbill On-Line has learned.



A December exploratory reading of the musical — with music by Coleman, lyrics by David Zippel and libretto by Pulitzer Prize winner Wendy Wasserstein — is expected to take place at Goodspeed in East Haddam, CT.

A spokesman for Goodspeed confirmed the discussions are ongoing for a full production in 2005 , but added that the 2005 season at Goodspeed's intimate, developmental space, The Norman Terris Theatre in Chester, CT, has not been solidified.

In March 2003, the still-developing Pamela's First Musical was rehearsed in Manhattan toward private industry presentations linked to Lincoln Center Theater.

The 90-minute musical is based on Wasserstein's 1998 children's book of the same name, illustrated by the Broadway scenic designer Andrew Jackness. The story tells of how young Pamela is whisked off by her artsy, quirky, connected Aunt Louise to lunch at the Russian Tea Room (which has since closed) and then to a splashy Broadway musical. She later meets the company of performers and creators and learns that making art starts with a dream in the imagination.

Michele Lee (of Coleman's Seesaw) played Aunt Louise in the 2003 reading. Graciela Daniele (Once On This Island, Marie Christine, Little Fish) has ben attached as director.

Principals in the early 2003 reading were Sara Niemietz (the young Carol Burnett character in Hollywood Arms) as Pamela; Gregg Edelman as Kevin, Pamela's father; Carolee Carmello as Lyndell, Kevin's girlfriend; Tony Roberts as producer Bernie S. Gerry; Adam Heller as director Hal Hytner, plus an ensemble of eight.

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"It Started With a Dream," a new song by Tony Award winning City of Angels songwriters Coleman and Zippel, is a central anthem in the Pamela's First Musical score. Coleman introduced "It Started With a Dream" on a CD of songs released in 2002 on the Sony label. The song — about the creative process — was also sung Jan. 18, 2002, at a Carnegie Hall concert featuring Coleman's music. The concert and disc were both titled It Started With a Dream.

Wasserstein is the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of The Heidi Chronicles, The Sisters Rosensweig and An American Daughter. Her most recent play, a multi-generational drama, Old Money, played Lincoln Center Theater in 2000-01. She won the Pulitzer for The Heidi Chronicles and also penned the popular Isn't It Romantic?

Composer Coleman's works include Little Me, Sweet Charity, On the Twentieth Century, Barnum, City of Angels and The Will Rogers Follies. His most recent Broadway effort was the Tony-nominated musical, The Life. A brief regional tour of Lovers, Lawyers and Lunatics, a rewrite of the musical, Exactly Like You, was launched in 2003, and his Yiddish theatre musical, The Great Ostrovsky was nominated for 10 2004 Barrymore Awards following its run at the Prince Music Theatre in 2003-04.

In September 2002, Zippel's lyrics were showcased at the Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia, in a revision of an earlier all-Zippel revue, It's Better With a Band. He penned lyrics for the films "Mulan" and "Hercules" ("Go the Distance" was Academy Award-nominated) and won the Tony with Coleman for City of Angels. With Marvin Hamlisch and Neil Simon, he wrote the stage musical, The Goodbye Girl, and is known for specialty songs including "Ingenue," sung by Barbara Cook.

Zippel is lyricist of the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, The Woman in White, now in London, and conceived and penned lyrics to Princesses, a new musical comedy that will play Goodspeed's Norma Terris in November.

Visit www.goodspeed.org.