Do you like to be on the cutting edge of new ideas? Does having bragging rights around the water cooler excite you? Do you have the need to namedrop? If these traits sound like your mantra, then the Seventh Annual Goodspeed Festival of New Artists is your 2012 cup of tea, eggnog, mulled cider and hot chocolate all rolled into one fragrant punch bowl.
From Friday, January 13 to Sunday, January 15, Goodspeed Musicals’ Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre will showcase a festival of brand new musical works in a series of staged readings, workshops, tours, play previews, a dinner and cabarets. For the incredible price of only $79, you can have an exciting front row seat to the newest offerings in musical theater presented at East Haddam’s historic location on the Connecticut River.
The festival opens at 7:30 p.m., Friday, with “Harmony, Kansas,” with music by Anna K. Jacobs and book and lyrics by Bill Nelson. When a young farmer, Heath, joins a newly formed gay men’s chorus, he discovers performing in public threatens to turn his world topsy turvy. At 10 p.m., a cabaret of new songs by new artists will take place next door at the Gelston House.
On Saturday, participants will meet from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Gelston House for a choice of workshops: Peter Filichia, theater critic and author of “Broadway Musicals MVPs” will review his selections of most valuable players of the past five decades on Broadway and sign his book; “There Is Life After the Festival!” will feature the “Harmony, Kansas” creative team discussing the past, present and future of their new work; “Noel Coward: the Man and His Music,” a discussion of his life and music by Nancy Anderson, a Goodspeed favorite and Noel Coward Cabaret Award Winner; and “Spotlight on: Tony Walton,” a discussion with the man whose costumes and scenic designs have won awards for fifty years.
From 2:30 -3:30 p.m., participants will be treated to a preview of a new musical to be featured at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre in Chester which workshops innovative works. At 4 p.m., a Noel Coward Symposium will be featured at the Goodspeed Opera House on the “Book of Mormon, Need We Say More?,” a panel discussion led by Casey Nicholaw, the co-director of this Tony Award-winning hit. This event is free and open to the public.
A festive three-course dinner will follow at 5:30 p.m. at the Gelston House. At 7:30 p.m., “Not Wanted on the Voyage,”
with music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill, based on a novel by Timothy Findley, will take place at the Goodspeed Opera House. Imagine being the one and only family, complete with talking cat, selected to survive the Great Flood, when the world ends for the first time. Magic, mythology and hope fill this extraordinary tale. A cabaret follows at 10 p.m. at the Gelston House.
On Sunday, at 11 a.m., a tour of Goodspeed’s 250,000 piece costume collection will be held, followed at 1 p.m. with the final musical, “The Dogs of Pripyat,” with music by Aron Accurso, lyrics by Jill Abramovitz and book by Leah Napolin and Jill Abramovitz, based on a play by Leah Napolin, will be presented at Goodspeed. Based on a true story, it is the tale of the animals left behind when Chernobyl is evacuated in 1986, USSR and what happens to them as they adapt and survive.
At the Gelston House at 3:30 p.m., a Meet the Writers Reception will allow the composers to share their insights and writing process, with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Go to www.goodspeed.org for lodging and dining accommodations. The entire Festival Package can be purchased for $79 or single events ($15, students $10) can be selected. Call 860-873-8668 for reservations today so you won’t be disappointed.
Mark your brand new 2012 calendar or IPad, IPod, IPhone or Blackberry for this exciting entertainment event.