Sunday, November 17, 2013


In 1888, a courageous and free thinking Elizabeth Cochrane left her home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for New York City and planted herself on newspaper row with the sole purpose of landing a job as a journalist.  She ignored the fact that it was a man's profession, unless she was content to write about weddings and tea parties.  Declaring she would work twice as hard for half the pay as a man, she took on the male dominated profession, knocking on editor's doors until Joseph Pulitzer, editor of the New York World, allowed her inside the inner sanctum.

Norwich's innovative Spirit of Broadway Theatre is giving this ambitious gal access to front page news as the new musical "Front Page Girl" makes headlines until Sunday, December 8.  With book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg and music by David Friedman, this show will be sure to delight and entertain and reveal insights into a woman the world has barely acknowledged.

Shauna Nicole Goodgold is wonderful as the outspoken, bold and compelling journalist who fights and bites her way to earn newspaper by-lines.  She convinces a reluctant Pulitzer, played by an astute Nicholas Kochanov, to give her a chance to make good and make a name for herself.  He christens her Nellie Bly, after the Stephen Foster song and then lets her loose on an unsuspecting city.

Soon the enterprising Nellie is off and running, exposing the injustices and disgraces of women's mental health institutions, a story she secures by faking insanity and living ten days within the corrupt and unsanitary and unsafe walls.  Stunts follow exploits as Nellie works her way to the top of her profession, alienating all the male colleagues she surpasses.

For her next trick, Nellie convinces her editor she should travel around the world, emulating and beating Jules Verne's fictional account in "Around the World in Eighty Days," a journey of almost 25,000 miles.  She bested Verne's account, completing the circumnavigation in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 14 seconds.

Nellie would go on to marry millionaire manufacturer Robert Seaman (Steve Sabol), selecting the much older gentleman over her fellow reporter Arthur Brisbane, an affable John Wilkening, who also wanted her hand in marriage.  Other newspaper employees, played by Pauline Batista, Justin Carroll and Brett Bernardini do their best to aid or hinder Nellie's progress.  Artistic Director Brett Bernardini is shepherding this wonderful new work into the public eye for well deserved admiration and praise. Songs such as "Don't Bore Them," "Tell Me What You Need," "Now You," "I'll Be Sweet" and "I'm in Hell" advance the action beautifully.

For tickets ($32), call Spirit of Broadway Theater, 24 Chestnut Street, Norwich at 860-886-2378 or online at  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

On Saturday, December 14, plan to attend the SBT's unique holiday concert "Home for the Holidays" to usher in the Christmas season, at 7 p.m. with wine and hors d'oeuvres and at 8 p.m. the musical show.  Tickets are $45.

Come meet and admire Shauna Nicole Goodgold as that incredible, spunky and sassy Nellie Bly, a woman who defied the odds and achieved glorious new heights.

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