Goodspeed Will Present Their Worklight Series in 2020 Featuring New Musical by Stephen King and John Mellencamp

By: Jan. 21, 2020
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Goodspeed Will Present Their Worklight Series in 2020 Featuring New Musical by Stephen King and John Mellencamp

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.



Book, Music and Lyrics by Douglas Waterbury-Tieman

Directed by Igor Goldin

Johnny Baker is the best fiddler that's ever been, and he aims to prove it. But his boasting attracts the attention of another fiddler - the Devil himself - who shows up with a plan for Johnny's destruction. With fame, fortune and love tempting him at every turn, Johnny must find his true path and the strength to win a battle of the bows with the highest possible stakes. It's a jubilant new musical with one foot in the Georgia mountains, one foot in the Grand Ole Opry, and music that will stir your soul.


Book by Stephen King

Music and Lyrics by John Mellencamp

Directed by Jeff Calhoun

The Gothic southern musical about a decades-old tragedy that haunts a family has a roots rock score by Grammy winner Mellencamp, ("Pink Houses", "Jack and Diane", "Small Town") and a book by Carrie, Misery and The Shining Master of Horror novelist King. It is an eerie tale of fraternal love, lust, jealousy and revenge. Set in an isolated cabin, the story explores two dark love triangles as it weaves back and forth through time.

The Terris Theatre is located at 33 North Main Street in Chester, CT. Three-show packages for $99 and single tickets at $39 will be available starting April 1, 2020 through the Goodspeed Box Office. For more information call the Goodspeed Box Office at 860.873.8668 or visit