By Christopher Arnott
10:40 AM EDT, April 10, 2013
Goodspeed Musicals is bursting with good news. It's the theater's 50th anniversary. It was just featured on Michael Feinstein's PBS series "American Songbook." The 2013 Goodspeed season starts April 12. There'll be a Golden Anniversary Gala on June 17. The Goodspeed has announced everything that's playing there from now through mid-November.
And the opening show of the 2013 Goodspeed Opera House season is... Good News!
Good News! is a popular show from 1927 — the same year that Broadway also debuted Showboat (which the Goodspeed did a couple of seasons ago) and A Connecticut Yankee (which the theater revived in 1989 and Strike Up the Band (which Goodspeed had in 1995). Good News! wasn't groundbreaking in form or content the way those other shows were, but it had a couple of infectious tunes to recommend it — "Varsity Drag," "The Best Things in LIfe Are Free" — and a classic old-college-try storyline about a football hero whose bad grades may keep him from playing in the big game. The Goodspeed's using a 1993 revision of the show which inserted more hit songs by the songwriting team of B.G. DeSylva and Lew Brown ("Button Up Your Overcoat," "You're the Cream in My Coffee," "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries"), and has sweetened the plot with rewrites by contemporary musical writer Jeremy Desmon (The Girl in the Frame, Pump Up the Volume). Vince Pesce (Goodspeed's Mame and Something's Afoot) directs, and the cast includes Beth Glover, Mark Zimmerman, Ross Lekites, Chelsea Morgan Stock, Max Perlman, Barry Shafrin, Tessa Fay, Myles McHale and Lindsay O'Neil. Rah! Rah! Go team!
In other good theater news, Hartford Stage has announced its 2013-14 season: Marivaux's La Dispute and Shakespeare's Macbeth, done in repertory with the same director (HS artistic director Darko Tresnjak) and actors (Sept. 12-Nov. 10); The Underpants, Steve Martin's adaptation of a German Expressionist story (Jan. 9-Feb. 2); Noel Coward's A Song at Twilight (Feb. 20-March 16); Somewhere by Matthew Lopez, who wrote the hit The Whipping Man (April 3-27); a new musical about Aesop called Love and Other Fables, by Jay Jeffries and John McMahon (May 22-June 15); and the old standby A Christmas Carol — A Ghost Story of Christmas. Season subscriptions on sale at (860) 527-5151.