A WONDERFUL LIFE, with Duke Lafoon, Brings Holiday Classic to Goodspeed Tonight

Grammy and Emmy Award-winner Joe Raposo and Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Sheldon Harnick's uplifting musical A WONDERFUL LIFE reminds us how one person's life can touch that of so many others. Based on the beloved 1946 holiday movie classic, this charming musical is sure to inspire and entertain. A WONDERFUL LIFE is currently running through November 29 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn. The official press opening is tonight, October 14, 2015.

A WONDERFUL LIFE is adapted from the Frank Capra film "It's A WONDERFUL LIFE." The tuner features Music byJoe Raposo who may be best known for his work on Sesame Street for which he wrote the theme song, as well as classics such as "Bein' Green" and "C is for Cookie," and Book and Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, who wrote Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me, and Fiorello! among others.

Duke Lafoon will play George Bailey. Lafoon, who was most recently seen Off-Broadway as Billy Clinton inClinton: The Musical, is no stranger to the role of George Bailey, having performed the role regionally. Kirsten Scott will play Mary Hatch. She has appeared on Broadway as Jenny Hill in Big Fish, Young Phyllis in Follies and Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray. Logan James Hall who played Will Connelly in Off-Broadway's The House of Connelly, will play Harry Bailey.

Ed Dixon will play Mr. Potter. Dixon has appeared in a dozen Broadway productions, including Anything Goes, Sunday in the Park with George, Mary Poppins, Gore Vidal's The Best Man and Les Miserables as Thenardier. At Goodspeed, he has been seen in Something's Afoot, Big River, Pirates of Penzance and Can-Canat the Goodspeed Opera House and Starcrossed at The Norma Terris Theatre.

Josh Franklin, who will play Sam Wainwright, has been seen in Broadway's Ghost, Anything Goes, Greaseand Legally Blonde. Frank Vlastnik, who will play Clarence Johnson, has appeared in Broadway's A Year with Frog and Toad, Sweet Smell of Success and Big. Bethe B. Austin, who performed in the 2005 Goodspeed Opera House production of The Boy Friend, returns to play Mrs. Martini/Milly Bailey.

Ryan G. Dunkin, whose credits include the National Tours of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and The Full Monty and Off-Broadway's Good News! and Drat! The Cat, will play Ernie. Michael Medeiros, whose theatre credits include Playwrights Horizons' Violet, Circle in the Square's Ah, Wilderness! and Goodspeed's The Baker's Wife, will play Uncle Billy.

George McDaniel, who appeared in Broadway's Big River, will play Matthew/Tom/Mr. Martini. Kevin C. Loomis, who appeared in Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Inherit the Wind, will play Bert. Ben Stone-Zelman, known to Connecticut audiences for his portrayal of Young Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at Hartford Stage, will play Tommy. Sisters Riley Briggs and Ella Briggs from East Hampton, Connecticut; will play the Bailey sisters, Beth and Zuzu.

The ensemble of A Wonderful Life will include Alissa Alter (National Tours of A Chorus Line and Guys and Dolls and Goodspeed's Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn and 42nd Street), Maddy Apple (Goodspeed's Hello, Dolly!and the Irving Berlin's White Christmas National Tour) and Drew Nellessen (National tours of Chicago and West Side Story and Goodspeed's Good News!). Hollis Scarborough (Off-Broadway's The Girl Friend) will play Karen.Curtis Schroeger (National Tours of South Pacific, Mary Poppins and Fiddler on the Roof, as well asGoodspeed's Fiddler on the Roof) will also serve as Dance Captain. Carol Schuberg (Broadway's Meet Me in St. Louis and Goodspeed's Mirette at The Norma Terris Theatre and The Boys from Syracuse at the Goodspeed Opera House) will play Mrs. Hatch. Laura E. Taylor (The Kennedy Center production of Mame) will play Violet.

Joining them will be John T. Wolfe (Goodspeed's Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn and Mame) and Jessica Wu(National Tours of A Chorus Line and Doctor Doolittle). Alex Dreschke and Kate Cherichello will be the swings for this production. Brendan Oakley, who will understudy the role of Tommy and Bobbie Celine Doherty, who was seen in the Lifetime movie "Wishin' and Hopin'," and will understudy the roles of Beth and Zuzu, are both Connecticut natives.

A WONDERFUL LIFE will be directed by Michael Perlman. Parker Esse will choreograph A WONDERFUL LIFE. Orchestrations for A WONDERFUL LIFE will be by Dan DeLange. A WONDERFUL LIFE's music director, Michael O'Flaherty, is in his 24th season as Goodspeed's Resident Music Director. Brian Prather will serve as A WONDERFUL LIFE's scenic designer. A WONDERFUL LIFE will feature costume designs by Jennifer Caprio. The lighting designer for A WONDERFUL LIFE will be Scott Bolman. Now in his 31st season as Goodspeed's Lighting and Sound Supervisor, Jay Hilton will serve as sound designer for A WONDERFUL LIFE. Mark Adam Rampmeyer will design wigs and hair for A WONDERFUL LIFE.

For tickets and more information, visit www.goodspeed.org.

Photo Credit: Diane Sobolewski

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