Beth Glover, Mark Zimmerman, Chelsea Morgan Stock, Ross Lekites Share Good News! at Goodspeed Beginning April 12

By Michael Gioia
and Kenneth Jones
April 12, 2013

Goodspeed Musicals' new adaptation of the Jazz Age musical Good News!, about college romance, football and a certain dance called "The Varsity Drag," begins performances April 12, prior to an official opening May 1, at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT.



Jeremy Desmon (Goodspeed's The Girl in the Frame) penned the new script based on the 1927 original by Laurence Schwab, Frank Mandel and B.G. DeSylva and a 1974 revised revival that played Broadway. The songs are by Ray Henderson, B.G. DeSylva and Lew Brown.

One number from the the songwriters' catalog — "If You Haven't Got Love" — has been added to the score, Playbill.com previously learned. In addition to "The Varsity Drag," the most famous song from the original score is "The Best Things in Life Are Free." The '74 version added hits like "You're the Cream in My Coffee," "Button Up Your Overcoat" and "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries," to be heard this time around, too.

Performances continue through June 22 at Goodspeed Opera House. This launches the 50th season of Goodspeed Musicals, the two-time Tony Award-winning not-for-profit.

Here's Good News in a nutshell: "Anticipation builds on the Tait College campus as game day approaches but the football hero must first pass a big exam in order to play. When he unexpectedly falls for his tutor, romance blooms and hijinks ensue."

Desmon's The Girl in the Frame has been seen in more than a dozen productions, including at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre in 2005. As a librettist, he won the Edward Kleban Prize. His musical Pump Up The Volume, an adaptation of the 1990 film, has been developed at Goodspeed Musicals and The Human Race Theatre.

Good News! also features new dance arrangements by Broadway, television and film composer-arranger David Krane. Krane has composed dance music and arrangements for 29 Broadway shows, including 110 in the Shade, La Cage aux Folles, Cabaret, Man of La Mancha, Oklahoma!, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Music Man, Big, Ragtime, Victor/Victoria and Damn Yankees. Krane also provided orchestrations for Goodspeed's The Great American Backstage Musical (1982) and High Button Shoes.

The complete cast of Good News! includes Beth Glover as Professor Kenyon, Mark Zimmerman as Coach Bill Johnson, Ross Lekites as Tom Marlowe, Chelsea Morgan Stock (Broadway's Sister Act, The Little Mermaid) as Connie Lane, Max Perlman as Pooch Kearney, Barry Shafrin as Bobby Randall, Tessa Faye as Babe O'Day, Myles J. McHale as Beef Saunders and Lindsay O'Neil as Pat, with Juliane Godfrey, Graham Keen, Kate Marilley, Drew Nellessen, Andrew Roubal, John Scacchetti, Lauren Sprague, Vaden Thurgood, Jessi Trauth and Zurin Villanueva. The swings are Jessica Jaros and Lucas Thompson.

Good News! is directed and choreographed by Vince Pesce, who choreographed Goodspeed's Mame and directed and choreographed Something's Afoot. Pesce was associate choreographer of Broadway's Anything Goes, The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town and Little Shop of Horrors.

The creative team includes scenic designer Court Watson, costume designer Tracy Christensen, lighting designer Charlie Morrison and sound designer Jay Hilton, plus music director Michael O'Flaherty, assistant music director William J. Thomas and orchestrator Dan DeLange.

Good News! is produced for Goodspeed Musicals by Michael P. Price.

For more information, visit goodspeed.org.