Playbill Vault Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Goodspeed Opera House
20 Jun 2013
Connecticut's Goodspeed Opera House celebrates its 50th anniversary this week. The Playbill Vault takes a look back on the Tony-winning theatre's Broadway legacy.
In 1876, local merchant William H. Goodspeed built the venue to house full-scale productions in East Haddam, CT. But following his death, the venue fell into disuse; for a time, the building stored the state's snow plows.
A group of Connecticut citizens, including Richard Rodgers and Jean Dalrymple, lobbied to save the historic venue and raised money to fund its restoration.
June 18, 1963, marked the venue's rededication to the arts with a staging of the 1918 Broadway musical Oh, Lady, Lady! ("a stylish and delightful production," per the New York Times). Top tickets were $5.50.
The Times event coverage noted a message of support from President John F. Kennedy: "The brilliant restoration of this historic building...warrants congratulations to all who contributed."
In the intervening years, Goodspeed has remained committed to fostering new work in the musical theatre, and 19 of its productions have gone on to Broadway.
Revisit highlights of Goodspeed's most noteworthy contributions to the Broadway theatre here:
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.