Last Saturday, during Goodspeed's 15th annual Festival of New Musicals, the two-time Tony Award-winning theatre announced plans for a fresh approach to its new musical development at The Terris Theater in Chester, CT. Goodspeed's Executive Director Michael Gennaro explained, "Our new musical process at The Terris has been redesigned and will be relaunched as 'The Worklight Series'. In our first season, we will develop three musicals and present them to our audience as staged readings." He continued, "Audiences will still experience great stories and music, but since the shows will be more actively in progress, the performances will look different - focusing not on costumes, scenery or props -- but the musical on the page, often times with book-in-hand."
With these changes, Goodspeed will be able to give the authors true
flexibility to change the show every day and test it with an audience -
something that had become more difficult in previous seasons as the productions
progressed in scale. Gennaro shared, "Over the years we discovered that not all
shows that came to us were ready for a full production and the more we added to
the shows with scenery, props, choreography, etc., the more difficult they were
to change. We became less flexible than we needed to be in order to truly
advance the new musicals." As an exciting element of this new approach to
works-in-development, Goodspeed plans to create content that will offer the
audience glimpses inside the rehearsal studio - opening up the process as part
of the experience in advance of the staged reading. Goodspeed expects this
relaunched series will evolve over time.
In addition to revealing "The Worklight Series" concept, Goodspeed announced that three captivating musicals will be presented during the inaugural season. The series will launch with Johnny & the Devil's Box featuring Book, Music and Lyrics by Douglas Waterbury-Tieman (May 27 - June 7). Johnny & the Devil's Box will be sponsored in part by Masonicare at Chester Village. The summer title will be announced soon. Closing out this first season will be Ghost Brothers of Darkland County which features a Book by Stephen King and Music and Lyrics by John Mellencamp (October 21 - November 8). The Worklight Series is supported by the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
Developing new works is at the heart of the Goodspeed Musicals mission and the cornerstone of this effort is The Terris Theatre. Established over 35 years ago, this intimate theatre is dedicated exclusively to the creation of new musicals. Here Goodspeed provides resources, guidance, time and support to artists -established and emerging - as they develop original musicals. The Worklight Series will be an important part of Goodspeed's new works initiative that includes the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed, Festival of New Musicals, artist residencies, industry readings and full scale productions at The Goodspeed.