Monday, December 22, 2014



Do you dread winter?  The cold, the ice, the snow, the inconvenience?  What if I said there was an oasis in time that is meant to counteract all the blahs of January.  Unbelievable? Impossible? Well, abandon your snow shovels and head to Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam for a hearty weekend dose of pure sunshine and fun.

From Friday to Sunday, the weekend of January 16-18, the Tenth Annual Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals will be aching to serenade you with stirring selections of brand new works.  Check in at Goodspeed, on the Connecticut River, for one to three days of never been seen or heard before musical works.  Staged readings will take place on all three days and you can bear witness to the "births." A cadre of talented students from the Hartt School of Music and the Boston Conservatory of Music will delight you with their skills and performance.

On Friday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m., "Outlaws" will debut, with book by James Presson and music and lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen, directed by Noah Himmelstein.  Enter the Old West and travel aways with Jesse James and his brother in crime Frank as they take matters and the law into their own hands.  Are they reckless villains or is there a smidgen of salvation in their souls?  A Friday night cabaret of new tunes by Festival composers will follow at the Gelston House next door at 10 p.m.

Saturday, January 17 features a full day, starting at 10 a.m., of seminars, a musical preview of a Norma Terris show, a musical theatre symposium, a festival dinner at the Gelston House or at La Vita, the new musical and another cabaret at the Gelston House. To date, the seminars include author Jennifer Ashley speaking about her new book "The Untold Stories of Broadway: Volume Two"  and set designer Paul Tate dePoo revealing the secrets to detailing the varied sets of "Guys and Dolls" in his talk "How Do They Do That?"

 The new musical at 7:30 p.m. at Goodspeed will be "The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes," with book and lyrics by Christopher Dimond and music by Michael Kooman.  What would happen if you woke up one day and discovered your life was a musical?  Could you handle the songs and satire, the love, lyrics and laughter?  Ask Howard Barnes and he'll tell you what it's like in great detail.

On Sunday, January 18, come early at 11 a.m. to tour the new state-of-the-art Cynthia Kellogg Barrington Costume Center that houses over 250,000 costumes, enough to clothe more than two dozen Broadway shows.  At 1 p.m., view the third musical preview "For Tonight," with book by Whitney Rhodes, Spencer Williams and Shenelle Williams and music and lyrics by Shenelle Williams and Spencer Williams.  A trio of siblings, Thomas, Hayden and Nettie, have their insulated lives in a tiny Welsh village rocked off its foundation when their parents die of a mysterious illness.  This Indie-rock/folk score will follow Hayden as he travels, guitar in hand, to Liverpool to discover the wide worlds he's never known. There he finds a woman Mirela, who speaks to his searching soul.

The Festival will conclude at 3:30 p.m. at the Gelston House with a Meet the Writers Reception, when all the composers will speak to their creative process.  Single tickets to events are $20, students $15, while two packages are available, the Gold for $99 that includes almost all events and the Silver for $65, that includes all three staged readings, the symposium and the new musical preview.  Call 860-873-8668 for tickets or go online to www,  Don't wait as this is sure to sell out.

Forget the winter blues and blahs and let Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals light your way through the storm.

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