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Goodspeed Adds LITTLE GIRL BLUE: THE NINA SIMONE MUSICAL to 'By The River' Lineup


Goodspeed Musicals' outdoor Summer Series will welcome Broadway's Laiona Michelle with her new work paying tribute to the singular Nina Simone.

Goodspeed Adds LITTLE GIRL BLUE: THE NINA SIMONE MUSICAL to 'By The River' Lineup

Broadway and Goodspeed alumna Laiona Michelle (Amazing Grace, The Terris Theatre) brings her stirring bio-musical Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical, about the life and music of the legendary Nina Simone to Goodspeed by the River this August.

Written by and featuring actor Laiona Michelle along with a trio of musicians, this moving new musical begins August 4 and runs through August 29 under the tent alongside the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn.

Inspired by Simone's story, and the music that has come to define her, Laiona Michelle breathes life into Simone and gives her a platform from which to speak her truth in Little Girl Blue. "I fell in love with Nina Simone a very long time ago, but only really understood her importance in the world of music, and as an activist, once I began researching this project." Ms. Michelle along with her collaborative partners on this project, have drawn from Nina's rich life to create a portrait that is honest and powerful. Little Girl Blue had its premiere at George Street Playhouse in 2019.

Ms. Michelle's dynamic performance, filled with songs like "Feeling Good","Ooh Child","My Way" and more, will be supported by a company of three musicians, Saadi Zain on bass, Kenneth Salters on percussion and Music Supervisor/Arranger Mark Fifer on keys.

Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical is an exuberant new musical with a tour de force performance by award-winning actor Laiona Michelle. From classical music -prodigy - to "High Priestess of Soul," this story taps into the legend that is Nina Simone with an honest and powerful portrait of her rich life and her ultimate decline. Feel the passion, joy and pain of a woman adored by millions - then and now.

Little Girl Blue was written and conceived by Laiona Michelle (NAACP Hollywood Award, the Barrymore and Carbonell Awards) and features music and various quotes by Nina Simone with additional materials by Devanand Janki (Winner of the Lortel, Callaway, & GLAAD Media Awards). Janki who is founder and artistic director of Live & In Color, whose mission is developing new plays and musicals that celebrate diversity, will Direct. Music Supervisor/Arranger will be Mark Fifer.

Goodspeed's Donna Lynn Hilton shared "I am honored that Little Girl Blue will be the first new musical developed and presented by Goodspeed Musicals under my tenure as Artistic Director." She stated, "I am particularly happy to welcome writer and actress Laiona Michele back to Goodspeed following her beautiful performance in Amazing Grace and to have the opportunity to introduce director Devanand Janki's work to our audiences." Ms. Hilton continued, "Dev is an important voice working in the creation of new musical theatre today. I am delighted that our community will have the opportunity to experience his work this summer at Goodspeed."

Ms. Michelle stated "I hope audiences gain a new appreciation for the life of this immensely gifted musician who was a master pianist. Nina was a defiant force of nature who spoke out against injustice." She continued, "and isn't it auspicious that there is a resurgence of interest in Nina of late" referring to Ms. Simone's recent induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year and to the Netflix documentary. It has introduced a new, young audience to the legacy of this powerful and influential musician - an extraordinary woman who battled depression and personal demons throughout her life with the same intensity as when she fought against injustice.

Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical performances will be Wednesday through Saturdays at 7pm and Sunday matinees at 2pm. This show will include an intermission. Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical will be performed rain or shine under the big top as part of the Goodspeed by the River summer series.

Tickets per event will be $45. Tickets are on sale now and only available through the Box Office at (860) 873-8668 open Tuesdays 10am-5pm, Wednesdays - Fridays 10am-7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-7:30pm, and closed Mondays.

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