The great American musical legacy and talented people selected from across America who are creating new shows, along with Broadway luminaries, will be trodding the boards at Goodspeed Musicals’ Annual Festival Jan. 15 – 17, 2016.
Goodspeed’s Executive Director Michael Gennaro set the stage for the festivities when he said, “This winter we are thrilled to celebrate the 11th Anniversary of our Festival of New Musicals – one of the cornerstones of Goodspeed’s new works development program and the source of countless hours of discovery and entertainment for our new works audience,” And added: “It is a delight to see the village of East Haddam brimming with energy and excitement on a cold winter night as hundreds of musical theater fans from across the country converge to celebrate Goodspeed and the best and brightest young writers and performers in musical theater.”
This popular ‘theatrical event of the year’ takes place on the Goodspeed campus in the charming village of East Haddam, Conn. The two-time Tony Award-winning theater will host cabarets, staged readings of the new works, seminars and workshops by some of the brightest writers, composers and performers who are at the forefront of America’s greatest art form. To keep the excitement going there will be tours of the restored 1877 Goodspeed Opera House and its scenic craft shop throughout the three-day weekend for both Festival Package and single ticket holders.
The festivities open at the Goodspeed Opera House with a staged reading of a new Southern Gothic musical, We Foxes by Ryan Scott Oliver (recipient of a Jonathan Larson Grant and Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater,) on Friday, January 15, 2016. The next day, the musical comedy Milo at the Movies by Tom Diggs (Pulitzer-Prize nominee) and Mark Gaylord debuts. On Sunday, the final day of the festival, the show is described as “Jane Austen meets Downton Abbey” in Only Anne by John Dietrich (Radio City and Disney Entertainment) and Will Buck (ASCAP and Dramatist’s Guild member.)
Several events will feature special guests including Tony, Pulitzer and Oscar winner Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy); Michael Riedel (New York Post theater columnist, co-host of Theater Talk on PBS, author of “Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway”); and super star Broadway publicist Rick Miramontez. Michael Weiner and Alan Zachary (co-winners ASCAP Foundation and Richard Rogers New Horizons Award), and multi-award winner Colin McEnroe (writer and daily WNPR host) will round out this exciting weekend.
Here’s the schedule of Special Events for Festival Package ticket holders:
Friday, Jan. 15:
Musical: We Foxes, 7:30 p.m. Goodspeed Opera House stage
Cabaret, 10:00 p.m., at the Gelston House: New songs by the festival writers.
Saturday, Jan. 16:
Seminars: 10:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., Gelston House:
Spotlight On: Alfred Uhry – An up-close interview with the only American playwright to have won a Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award and two Tony Awards.
Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway – Michael Riedel, Broadway’s most respected (and feared) commentator, shares stories from his new book revealing the shocking drama, intrigue, and power plays that happen off stage.
How Do They Do That? –The writing team who created Broadway’s First Date, Michael Weiner and Alan Zachary, share “How Musical Theatre writers make a living on their way to Broadway.”
Selling the Show 101- Rick Miramontez, one of the top Broadway press agents, shares his perspective on the press agent’s role in a new musical’s life.
Orchestrating 101 – Longtime Goodspeed orchestrator Dan DeLange shares his process behind the magic of making eight instruments sound like twenty-eight.
And 5, 6, 7, 8! – Theater historian John Pike talks about the History of Dance in Musical Theatre
Surprise New Musical Preview: 2:30 – 3:30 p.m., Goodspeed Opera House, A preview of a new musical planned for Goodspeed in 2016.
Symposium * 4:00 p.m., Goodspeed Opera House. Elevator Pitch Challenge: The Writer’s Audition Musical Theatre writing teams only have a few minutes to pitch a panel of guest producers on a new musical project. How will each team make their pitch attention-grabbing, compelling and concise? What does it take to persuade a producer to invest? After the teams make their pitch, a panel lead by WNPR’s Colin McEnroe will ask questions and give feedback. *This event is free and open to the public.
Festival Dinner, 5:30 p.m., at the Gelston House – OR – La Vita. A three course meal for festival goers.
Musical: Milo at the Movies, 7:30 p.m. Goodspeed Opera House stage.
Festival Cabaret, 10:00 p.m., Gelston House
Sunday, Jan. 18:
Musical: Only Anne 1p.m. Goodspeed Opera House Stage.
Meet the Writers Reception, 3:30 p.m., Gelston House:
Gain insight into the inspirations and processes of the writers during this lively festival wrap-up discussion.
Tickets, get your tickets. This year, Goodspeed’s ever-popular Festival GOLD Package offers a weekend full of special events. The $119 package includes admission to all three staged readings; the New Musical Preview, a short preview of a new musical planned for 2016; the Symposium, a panel discussion with musical theatre professionals hosted by special guest, WNPR’s Colin McEnroe; three Festival seminar sessions; a Saturday evening pre-show dinner at either the Gelston House or La Vita; and a Meet the Writers Reception, which will complete the weekend’s festivities.
Also included in the Festival GOLD Package is an exclusive behind-the-scenes campus tour and admittance to either the Friday Night or Saturday Night Cabarets – informal gatherings showcasing new songs by new and established artists. A special SILVER Package highlighting the three staged readings, symposium and new musical preview is also available for only $80. Goodspeed Opera House tours will be offered on Saturday morning for both Festival Package and single ticket holders.
If your time is limited that weekend, you can buy one-show adult tickets for $25 and one-show tickets for students are each $15.
Tickets are available at the Goodspeed Box Office or by calling 860-873-8668 or online. For lodging and dining information and up-to-date information on the events go to www.goodspeed.org .
Here’s a revealing back-stage preview of the who, what, why and how Goodspeed puts together this really big weekend festival for devoted, professional theater lovers every January:
Act One: the Festival is produced by Goodspeed Musicals’ Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre. Created in 2002, its goal is to inspire and nurture musical theatre artists and students through a range of training and educational programs. It offers new and emerging artists a chance to work on their projects with the help of Goodspeed’s resources, and gives seniors from prominent conservatory programs real-world experience in new musical development and performing new musicals.
Act Two: Festival preparations begin the first week of January with the three teams of writers and composers working on the development of their musicals. Senior students from The Hartt School and Boston Conservatory take part in the continued development of the material. The process culminates with staged readings of the new musicals during the Festival.
Goodspeed Musicals is dedicated to the preservation, development and advancement of musical theater, led by Executive Director Michael Gennaro. It’s the first theater in the nation to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement) and produces three musicals each season at The Goodspeed in East Haddam, Conn. and developing musicals at the nearby Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn. Goodspeed also maintains The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre, and receives support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts.