Donald Corren, Brandon Andrus, and More Lead Goodspeed's OLIVER!

By: May. 29, 2018

Donald Corren, Brandon Andrus, and More Lead Goodspeed's OLIVER!

Charles Dickens' beloved orphan makes his Goodspeed debut in the hope-filled musical set in the dark shadows of Victorian London. Bounced from workhouse to forced labor, Oliver Twist escapes to the streets where he meets Fagin, the Artful Dodger and a band of child pickpockets. Will he find love, home and happiness before it's too late? Consider yourself part of the family with the colorful international smash that gave the world "Where Is Love?," "Food! Glorious Food!" and "As Long As He Needs Me." Oliver! is made possible in part by Liberty Bank, the Lucille Lortel Foundation, Masonicare at Chester Village and The Shops at Mohegan Sun.

Oliver!, featuring book, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart, will be directed by Rob Ruggiero and choreographed by James Gray.

Oliver Twist will be played by Elijah Rayman. Elijah has been in productions since he was five years old, most recently in the role of Mamillius in The Winter's Tale at New York's Theatre for a New Audience. The role of Fagin will be played by Donald Corren who returns to Goodspeed having previously appeared in the musical Nöel. His Broadway credits include Souvenir, and Torch Song Trilogy. Off-Broadway Donald has performed in The Fantastics (Jerry Orbach Theatre), Old Jews Telling Jokes (Westside Theatre) and The Soap Myth (Roundabout Black Box). Regionally Corren has performed in numerous productions including The Fabulous Lipitones (George Street Playhouse), My Fair Lady (The Guthrie Theatre) as well as productions at Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Arena Stage, Old Globe and many more.

Bill Sikes will be played by Brandon Andrus who previously performed in the Goodspeed productions of Annie Get Your Gun and Camelot. Mr. Andrus was in the 2014 Broadway revival of Side Show and the National Tours of Jersey Boys and Oklahoma!. Brandon's Off-Broadway and regional credits includeLiberty: A Monumental Musical (42West NYC), Carmen: An Afro-Cuban Jazz Musical (Olney Theatre), Spamalot (Geva Theatre), Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, A Musical (La Mirada), For Goodness Sake (Musicals Tonight) and many more. Actress EJ Zimmerman will play Nancy. Ms. Zimmerman's musical theatre credits include Broadway's Les Misérables, the First National Tour of Avenue Q, Off-Broadway's Disenchanted! and Miss Saigon at Riverside Theatre, Arvada Center and Actors' Playhouse. The Artful Dodger will be played by Gavin Swartz. In addition to playing Nigel in Broadway's Matilda the Musical he has performed regionally in Les Misérables and in A Christmas Story The Musical.

The members of the ensemble include:

Miranda Gelch (Bet & Charlotte) whose regional credits include Shrek The Musical, The Sound of Music (North Shore Music Theatre) and Grey Gardens (The Cape Playhouse and The Lyric Stage Company of Boston).

Jordana Grolnick who returns to Goodspeed having performed in the 2016 production of Chasing Rainbows and who was in the National Tour ofRodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella.

Richard R. Henry's(Mr. Bumble) credits include King Louis in Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame (La Jolla/Papermill Playhouse), Fiorello (City Center Encores!), Antonio in Two Gentlemen of Verona The Musical (The Public's Shakespeare in the Park). Mr. Henry performed in the First National Tours of Urinetown, Sweet Charity and Man of La Mancha and as King Herod in the European Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Joy Hermalyn (Mrs. Corney) who returns to Goodspeed where she last performed in the hit production of Fiddler on the Roof. Ms Hermalyn performed in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof as Fruma Sarah. She made her Broadway debut as the Chaperone in Cyrano-The Musical and subsequently appeared on Broadway in featured roles in Candide, A Christmas Carol, and the highly acclaimed Baz Luhrmann production of Puccini's La Boheme in San Francisco and in New York. Ms. Hermalyn was seen Off-Broadway at the Roundabout in the premiere of Maury Yeston's new musical entitled Death Takes a Holiday. She has also appeared in featured roles in numerous City Center Encores! productions including Music in the Air, The Pajama Game and Bloomer Girl.

Shannon Lee Jones (Old Sally) who performed as Angelique in the original Broadway production and First National Tour of La Cage aux Folles, Jones also performed in the National tour of Hello, Dolly! with Carol Channing, and the European tour of A Chorus Line as Cassie. Regionally, she has worked at The Muny, Theater Under the Stars (Atlanta), Long Wharf Theatre, Barrington Stage, Riverside Theater, North Shore Music Theatre, and Lyric Stage among others.

Jamie LaVerdiere (Mr. Sowerberry & Dr. Grimwig) has appeared on Broadway in Motown the Musical, The Pirate Queen and The Producers and Off-Broadway in City Center Encores! Grand Hotel, Rothschild & Sons and Closer Than Ever at the York Theatre Company. LaVerdiere played Mr. McQueen the National tour of Urinetown.

Megan Loomis's credits include new musical The Other Josh Cohen at Geva Theatre and the North America/Asian tours of War Horse, Cabaret, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and Sweeney Todd. Her Off-Broadway credits include The Dead, 1904, Woody Sez at Irish Repertory Theatre

and the critically-acclaimed production of John Doyle's Allegro at Classic Stage Company.

Andrew Mayer (Noah Claypole) recently appeared on Broadway in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Off-Broadway and Regionally inAppoggiatura (Indiana Rep), Prince of Egypt, The 12 - A New Rock Musical (Denver Center Theater), Dying for It (Atlantic Theater Co.), Fallujah (TPAC-NYC & Kennedy Center) among others.

Karen Murphy (Mrs. Sowerberry & Mrs. Bedwin) returns to The Goodspeed where she previously appeared as General Matilda Cartwright in Guys and Dolls and as Parthy in Goodspeed's critically acclaimed production of Show Boat. At Goodspeed's Terris Theatre she performed in the premiere of Annie 2. Ms. Murphy's Broadway credits include Titanic, 42nd Street, All Shook Up, 9 to 5, and A Little Night Music.

Russell Rinker, member of the internationally renowned Blue Man Group. Russell performed as a Blue Man for five years in Las Vegas and for the past three years touring the U.S. and the world. Some of Mr. Rinker's recent theater credits include playing Captain Newton in the National Tour of Amazing Grace as well as productions at The Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Los Angeles Opera among others.

Alex Stewart returns to The Goodspeed stage where he was seen in last summer's hit Oklahoma!. His other credits include the National Tour of Elf: the Musical!, Oklahoma! (PCPA, Sierra Repertory Theatre, Garbeau's Dinner Theatre), Pirates of Penzance, Rogers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, My Fair Lady(PCPA), Nice Work If You Can Get It and Boeing Boeing (Summer Repertory Theatre).

Owen Tabaka (Charley Bates) recently performed in the National Tour of A Christmas Story The Musical and the Two Rivers Theater production of A Raisin in the Sun will make his Goodspeed debut.

James Young's (Mr. Brownlow) Broadway credits include Crazy For You as Custus, My Fair Lady as Zolton Karpathy with Richard Chamberlain, Me and My Girl, The Tap Dance Kid and A Chorus Line. Highlights of Mr. Young's 40 year career include tours and regional productions of The Will Rogers Follies(Clem Rogers), Follies (Theodore Whitman), The Fantasticks (Henry Albertson), Annie (Rooster) with Sally Struthers, Joseph and the Amazing TechnicalColor Dream Coat (Jacob/Potiphar), Irving Berlin's White Christmas (General Waverly), Dr. Doolittle (stand-in for Tommy Tune), Beauty and the Beast(Lumiere), The Wizard Of Oz (Tinman) with Phyllis Diller and Singin' In The Rain (Don Lockwood and Cosmo Brown) among many others.

The swings for this production will be Dace McNally who has performed with The Disney Cruise Line as a mainstage performer on their ship The Magic! and in Ophelia Theatre Group's recent Rockabye Hamlet along with Jessica Crilley who has performed in productions including The Little Mermaid(Attina/Ariel understudy) at The Palace Theatre, The Wizard of Oz at Surflight Theater, 9 to 5 (Doralee) at Broward Stage Door Theatre as well as Ragtime andOliver! at Westchester Broadway Theatre.

Also performing in Oliver! will be members of the inaugural Goodspeed Kids Company: EmmaRose Arelt, Gordon Beck, Owen Bryan, Alexa Calegari, Ava Cannan, Logan Erwin, Avital Goldberg-Curran, Lauren Greco, Brendan Harris, Riley Kuever, Ava Loughlin, Meghan Pratt and Colin Soto. The Goodspeed Kids Company is a one-of-a-kind summer musical theatre experience. Kids Company members receive top-notch musical theatre training, participate in exciting summer activities, and have unparalleled performance opportunities alongside professional actors on The Goodspeed stage.

Oliver! will be directed Rob Ruggiero who has directed numerous Goodspeed productions including Rags, Carousel, Camelot, Show Boat, 1776 andFiddler on the Roof. He has received numerous awards and nominations for his regional work including multiple Connecticut Critics Circle Awards. Mr.

Ruggiero conceived and directed the original musical revue Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn

which garnered him nominations for both Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Mr. Ruggiero currently serves as the Producing Artistic Director at TheaterWorks in Hartford, where he conceived and directed the highly successful Ella, a production that received Kevin Kline and Joseph Jefferson Awards and has since been produced at major regional theaters around the country.

Choreography will be by James Gray who returns to Goodspeed where he previously performed as a Buckaroo in Lucky Guy at The Terris Theatre. He performed on Broadway in The Producers and Young Frankenstein. As a choreographer his recent Broadway credits include Associate Choreographer for A Christmas Story The Musical and Prince of Broadway as well as Resident Choreographer/Director for the original Bullets Over Broadway.

Scenic design will be by Michael Schweikardt who has designed several shows at Goodspeed including Fiddler on the Roof, The Most Happy Fella,Carousel, Show Boat, and Big River. He received a Broadway World Award for Best Scenic Design for Show Boat as well as a Connecticut Critic's Circle Award for Best Scenic Design for Big River. Mr. Schweikardt has designed the world premieres of Nobody Loves You and Duncan Sheik's Whisper House at The Old Globe as well as the Off-Broadway production of Bloodsong of Love at Ars Nova and several productions at TheaterWorks in Hartford. Other Off-Broadway credits include ReWrite (Urban Stages), The Black Suits (The Public Theater), Things to Ruin (Second Stage, The Zipper Factory), The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks(TheatreWorks USA) and Tryst (Irish Rep). Michael has had the honor of designing multiple large musicals for The MUNY including Into The Woods, The Addams Family, Hello, Dolly!, South Pacific, Mary Poppins and The Music Man. Michael designed over 50 musical productions at California Musical Theatre, in Sacramento, California. Additionally, he has designed for theatres such as, Papermill Playhouse, Long Wharf Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, and Fords Theatre.

Costume design will be by Drama Desk Award nominee Alejo Vietti whose designs can now be seen on Broadway in the Tony-nominated Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Other Broadway credits include Associate Costume Design for Jersey Boys, Good Vibrations, and Enchanted April among others. For Goodspeed, Mr. Vietti has designed Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn, Fiddler on the Roof, Carousel, Annie Get Your Gun, Camelot, Big River, 1776 and Meet John Doe at The Terris Theatre.

Lighting design will be by John Lasiter who designed Goodspeed's productions of Rags, Fiddler on the Roof, The Most Happy Fella, Show Boat andCarousel among others. Other Connecticut credits include designs for Long Wharf Theater, Hartford Stage and TheaterWorks. On Broadway, Mr. Lasiter designedHigh, and Off-Broadway, he designed Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn.

Sound design will be by Jay Hilton who has designed countless productions at both The Terris Theatre and The Goodspeed. His work has also been heard on Broadway, National Tours and regional theatres from coast to coast. He also serves as Goodspeed's audio supervisor.

Wig and Hair design will be by Mark Adam Rampmeyer whose work can be seen in Goodspeed's current production of The Will Rogers Follies. Other Goodspeed credits include Oklahoma!,

Thoroughly Modern Millie; Anything Goes; Bye Bye Birdie and Chasing Rainbows, as well as La Cage aux

Folles, Good News!, 42nd Street and Big River to name a few. On Broadway, he designed West Side Story, Lysistrata Jones and The Farnsworth Invention.

The Music Director will be Michael O'Flaherty who is in his 27thseason as Goodspeed's Resident Music Director. His Broadway credits include By Jeevesand Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Mr. O'Flaherty has written music and lyrics for A Connecticut Christmas Carol which will be produced at The Terris Theatre this fall. Orchestrations will be provided by Dan DeLange who has created the orchestrations for over 40 Goodspeed productions. His orchestrations for Show Boathave been nominated for the Best Revival Musical Olivier Award in London.

Casting for Oliver! is by Paul Hardt of Stewart/Whitley Casting.

Oliver! will run June 29 - September 8, 2018 [Official Press Opening July 18] Curtain times are Wednesday at 2:00p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (with select performances at 2:00 p.m.), Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. (with select performances at 6:30 p.m.).

Tickets are available through the Box Office (860.873.8668), open seven days a week, or online at For show highlights, exclusive photos, special events and more, visit us at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter @goodspeedmusicl, Instagram and YouTube.

Under the leadership of Executive Director Michael Gennaro, Goodspeed Musicals is dedicated to the preservation, development and advancement of musical theatre. 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. The first regional theatre to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement), Goodspeed also maintains The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre and The Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre. Goodspeed gratefully acknowledges the support of United Airlines, the official airline of Goodspeed Musicals; official audio sponsor Sennheiser; and official auto sponsor Hoffman Audi. Goodspeed is also grateful for the support of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.

Photo Credit: Genevieve Rafter-Keddy