Goodspeed's 13th Annual Festival of New Musicals: Come In from the Cold - Check Out What's Hot!

EAST HADDAM, CT: The 13th Annual Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals, produced by Goodspeed Musicals’ Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre, kicks off its much-anticipated three-day festival of brand-new works on Friday, January 12, 2018 at The Goodspeed with a staged reading of the rousing new musical Five Points by Ethan D. Pakchar (Music) and Douglas Lyons (Music and Lyrics), and McKnight Fellowship winner Harrison David Rivers (Book). On Saturday, January 13, the soaring Sweetwater, inspired by the contributions of Women Airforce Service Pilots, will be a highlight of the day. The musical is written by festival alumni Sean Mahoney and critically acclaimed Patricia Noonan. The final day of the festival features Passing Through, ASCAP Foundation’s Cole Porter Award winner Brett Ryback and author Eric Ulloa’s exhilarating tuner based on a young man’s cross-country journey. All three writing teams have developed works during the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed. Additional festival events including seminars, a symposium, cabarets and The New Musical Preview round out this exciting weekend. Single tickets are $25 for each staged reading, $15 each for students. Beginning December 6th, single show tickets and festival packages will be available through the Goodspeed Box Office 860.873.8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org. This year’s Festival is sponsored in part by lead corporate sponsor RisCassi & Davis, P.C. with support from the Burry Fredrik Foundation, the Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation, and Nöel Coward Foundation.

This year, Goodspeed’s ever-popular Festival GOLD Package offers a weekend full of special events. The $139 package includes admission to all three staged readings; the New Musical Preview, a short preview of two new musicals headed to The Terris Theatre in 2018; three Festival seminar sessions; the Festival Symposium; a Saturday evening pre-show dinner at either the Gelston House or La Vita; and a Meet the Writers Q&A, which will complete the weekend’s festivities. Also included in the Festival GOLD Package is 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, the New Musical Preview, the Festival Symposium and the Meet the Writers Q&A is also available for only $80.

“This winter we are thrilled to celebrate the 13th 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,” said Goodspeed’s Executive Director Michael Gennaro. “The village of East Haddam will be filled with vitality and exhilaration as hundreds of musical theatre fans from across the country come together to celebrate Goodspeed and the best and brightest writers and performers in musical theatre,” he added.

Productions from the three writing teams participating in the Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals and the schedule of Special Events for Festival Package holders include:

Friday, January 12
Five Points
7:30 p.m., The Goodspeed
Music by Ethan Pakchar and Douglas Lyons
Lyrics by Douglas Lyons
Book by Harrison David Rivers

New York City. 1863. Set amidst the tumult of the Civil War, Five Points chronicles the journeys of two men, Willie Lane, a young black performer at the famed Almack’s Dance Hall, and John Diamond, an Irish immigrant and former jig champion, as they risk everything in pursuit of the American Dream.

Festival Cabaret
10:00 p.m., Gelston House
Jenny Giering, 2013 and 2014 participant in the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed, is a composer, singer and pianist. Giering has received the Clifton Artist in Residence at Harvard University, the Dramatists’ Guild Jonathan Larson Fellowship, Constance Klinsky Prize from Second Stage Theatre, a Meet the Composer grant, the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award and was the composer in residence at Sundance’s Ucross Residency. She is currently writing two new musicals on commissions from Playwrights Horizons and Chicago Shakespeare.

Saturday, January 13
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Gelston House / La Vita at Goodspeed Landing
The Seminar Series titles and schedules TBA

New Musical Preview
3:00 p.m., The Goodspeed
Attend a preview of three exciting new musicals headed to Goodspeed’s Terris Theatre in 2018.

Symposium *
4:00 p.m., The Goodspeed

The Critic’s Role in the Digital Age
A panel of prominent theater critics lead by WNPR’s Colin McEnroe
*This event is free and open to the public.

Festival Dinner
5:30 p.m., Gelston House - OR - La Vita - Enjoy a three course meal with fellow festival goers.

7:30 p.m., The Goodspeed
Music by Sean Mahoney
Book and Lyrics by Patricia Noonan

As World War II shakes the nation, sisters Beth and Frankie join women from across America to fly for the US Army. Leaving home to train in Sweetwater, TX, these Women Airforce Service Pilots risk their lives without military status. From history’s margins, Sweetwater brings the WASP center stage in an epic story about the joys and costs of being female pioneers.

Festival Cabaret
10:00 p.m., Gelston House

Zoe Sarnak, 2016 Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed participant, is an award-winning composer, lyricist and playwright. She graduated from Harvard University where she was awarded the Ann Radcliffe Trust. Sarnak’s The Quad was produced at Harvard’s Loeb Experimental Theatre in 2009. Other works include: Mixtape, featured in Silent Street Productions 2012 season; A Lasting Impression, winner of Pace New Musicals 2012, produced Off-Broadway at the 4th Street Theatre at NYTW in August 2012, winner of the 2013 NJ Playwright's contest; The Years Between, performed at 54 Below and workshopped in Musical Theatre Factory’s 2014 season. Winner of the 2015 Davenport Songwriting contest and finalist for NY Stage & Film’s Founders award, Sarnak’s music has been featured at The Lilly Awards, Women of Note (NYMF), Cutting Edge Composers and more, and in venues from Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop to Joe’s Pub and the Highline Ballroom. Zoe is one half of the indie folk/pop band she, featured in #sheSESSIONS recorded live from The End Studios

Sunday, January 14
Passing Through
1:00 p.m., The Goodspeed

Book by Eric Ulloa
Music & Lyrics by Brett Ryback
Based on the work “Walking to Listen” by Andrew Forsthoefel

Passing Through tells the incredible true story of a young man who journeys on foot from Pennsylvania to California, collecting stories as he goes. When his trek brings to light a repressed family trauma, he must use the lessons he’s gathered to confront his past. Set against the backdrop of America, it’s a musical about community and the healing power of forgiveness.

Meet the Writers Reception
3:30 p.m., The Goodspeed
Gain insight into the inspirations and processes of the writers during this lively festival wrap-up discussion.

Lodging and dining information for Festival attendees as well as up-to-date information on the weekend’s events can be found at www.goodspeed.org .

The Festival of New Musicals is produced by Goodspeed Musicals’ Max Showalter for Education in Musical Theatre. Created in 2002, Goodspeed’s Showalter Center inspires and nurtures musical theatre artists and students by providing a unique and comprehensive range of training and educational programs to serve both the national and local academic communities. The Goodspeed Festival program offers new and emerging artists the rare opportunity to thoroughly work on their projects with the help of Goodspeed’s renowned resources and artistic environment. At the same time, the Festival affords senior students from prominent conservatory programs real-world experience in new musical development and performing new musicals.

Preparations for the Festival begin the first week of January. The three teams of writers and composers dedicate their time to further writing and composing their musicals in development. They are joined by musical theater students from The Hartt School and Boston Conservatory, who take part in rehearsals and continued development of the material. The intensive retreat culminates with Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals, which showcases staged readings of the new musicals developed during the two-week long program, one of the Showalter Center’s major endeavors.

Under the leadership of Executive Director, Michael Gennaro, Goodspeed Musicals is dedicated to the preservation, development and advancement of musical theatre and is the first theatre in the nation to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement).Goodspeed produces three musicals each season at The Goodspeed in East Haddam, Conn., and additional productions at The Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn., which was opened in 1984 for the development of new musicals. Goodspeed also maintains The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre and The Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre. Goodspeed gratefully acknowledges the support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.