Monday, January 6, 2014


Photos by Diane Sobolewski from last year's festival

If you don't ice skate, sled, ski or snowboard, you might find winter long and boring.  The perfect antidote is Goodspeed's 9th Annual Festival of New Musicals in East Haddam the weekend of January 17-19.  Seek shelter under the banner of innovative theater and warm your toes by the fires Goodspeed is lighting.

This festive three day festival begins on Friday, January 17 with a brand new musical "Adam Lives" at 7:30 p.m., with book, music and lyrics by Rob Baumgartner, Jr.  A not so successful songwriter and a not so winning lover in his relationship with Claudia, Adam gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to write for an up and coming pop superstar.  How will he make a choice between the two when he has to pick one as his priority?  At 10 p.m., the excitement moves next door to the Gelston House for an inspirational evening of cabaret that showcases new songs by the festival writers.

Get ready, get set, go for a full day of intense theater explorations starting at 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Gelston House for a series of seminars.  Playwright, novelist and theatre historian Mark Acito will delve into the burning question "What Makes a Broadway Hit?" and discuss the commonalities among Broadway's 100 greatest successes.  The secrets and treasures in Goodspeed's Scherer Library of Musical Theatre will be unearthed by author and theatre historian Ken Bloom.  Favorite Goodspeed stars Klea Blackhurst and Tony Sheldon, from the recent hit "Hello, Dolly!," will share stories about the ups and downs of their careers while casting director Paul Hardt and musical director Michael O'Flaherty will repeat their successful "Casting 101" on how to audition and get the role.  More seminars will be announced and you can select three to attend.

After a lunch break, attendees will be treated, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., to a peek at a new musical slated to debut at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre next season.  At 4 p.m., a symposium will explore "On the Road to Holiday Inn: Creating a World Premiere" as the creative team will divulge the inner workings on creating a world premiere of "Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn."  This event is free and open to the public.

A dinner will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at both the Gelston House and La Vita Gustosa.  The second new offering will start at 7:30 p.m. at Goodspeed with "A Proper Place," with book, music and lyrics by Leslie Becker and Curtis Rhodes.  Set in 1902, it is described as a "cross between Downton Abbey and Gilligan's Island," as it swirls around a wealthy British family who find themselves shipwrecked with only their trusty butler to keep them safe.  At 10 p.m., the Gelston house will host another cabaret of great tunes, this time with Sam Willmont and Ben Scheurer.

On Sunday, the day begins at 11 a.m. with a tour of Goodspeed's rehearsal studio, costume shop, library and Music Department. At 1 p.m. the final new musical, "Theory of Relativity" with music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill will be unveiled.  The human connection will be explored in a collection of songs, sketches and monologues, with all the joys and sorrows, loves and loses that are intimately involved.The weekend ends at 3:30 p.m. at the Gelston House when all three sets of composers will reveal their creative processes, over complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.

Go to or call 860-873-8668 for information on single tickets for one show ($15, students $10) as well as Gold ($89) and Silver ($49) packages.

Light some sparks in Goodspeed's theatrical fireplace for a fantastic weekend sure to warm the cockles of your heart.

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