Bean, Meriwether et al. Lead Goodspeed's RADIO GIRL 7/29-8/22
Two-time Tony Award-winning Goodspeed Musicals will bring the delightful new musical comedy Radio Girl to the stage this summer at The Norma Terris Theatre, its home for developing new works in Chester, Conn. Based on the beloved story of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, this wholesome tale will charm audiences of all ages July 29 through August 22.
Rebecca is a spunky ten-year-old with a "can do" attitude and enormous talent. She doesn't let anything get her down . . . not even being an orphan, or living during the Depression, and especially not her cantankerous Aunt Miranda! With charm, street smarts, pluck and a glorious voice, Rebecca triumphs as Lucky Little Radio Girl and lifts the spirits of America.
Radio Girl features music by Tony nominated composer Henry Krieger who wrote the music for such Broadway hits as Dreamgirls, Side Show and Tap Dance Kid. Lyrics are by Susan Birkenhead who has been nominated for multiple Tony Awards for such Broadway hits as Working and Jelly's Last Jam and wrote the lyrics for Broadway tuner Triumph of Love. Book is by Daniel Goldfarb whose New York credits include the comedy Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me.
The cast includes Gabriella Malek as Rebecca. Malek appeared on Broadway in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Aunt Miranda will be played by Lee Meriwether. A former Miss America, Meriwether may be best known for her role as Betty in "Barnaby Jones," for which she was nominated for both the Golden Globe and the Emmy. She played Catwoman in the original Batman movie. Television credits include "All My Children" and Lily on "The Munsters Today." Meriwether has numerous regional stage credits including the female version of The Odd Couple; Last Summer at Blue Fish Cove, for which she received the Drama Logue Award for Best Actress; Sondheim's Follies, with seven former Miss Americas; Hello, Dolly!; Mame; The King and I with George Chakiris; and I Do! I Do!
Tony nominated actor Orson Bean will play HomeR. Bean has worked nearly 50 years in television and film highlighted by his recent recurring role in the hit series "Desperate Housewives," five seasons of "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" and the acclaimed film Being John Malkovich. On Broadway Bean appeared in Subways Are For Sleeping, Never Too Late and Illya Darling.
Uncle Harry will be played by Joey Sorge who returns to Goodspeed where he played Fonzie in Happy Days. He reprised the role for the national tour. Sorge's Broadway credits include The Drowsy Chaperone, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Follies. Meredith Patterson, who appeared on Broadway in Irving Berlin's White Christmas, 42nd Street and The Green Bird, will play Gwen. Anthony Holds, whose Broadway credits include Enron, the revival of Pal Joey, Spamalot and Dracula The Musical, will play Tony.
John Bolton will be playing Orville. Goodspeed audiences will remember him from performances as The Duke in Big River and GC in Lucky Guy. Bolton's Broadway credits include Curtains, Spamalot, Contact, Titanic and the revivals of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Damn Yankees. The role of Lola will be played by Michele Ragusa, whose previous Goodspeed credits include L'il Abner and Me & My Girl. Ragusa has appeared on Broadway in Young Frankenstein, Urinetown, Ragtime, Titanic and Cyrano - the Musical. Melva will be played by Tony nominated actress Liz Larsen, who returns to Goodspeed where she was last seen in The Most Happy Fella. Larsen's Broadway credits include the revival of Fiddler on the Roof, The Most Happy Fella, Damn Yankees and Hairspray.
The ensemble includes Stephen Bienskie who charmed Goodspeed audiences as Harrison Floy in High Button Shoes and performed multiple roles in both productions of Jim Henson's Emmet Otter. Bienskie performed on Broadway as Rum Tum Tugger in the final company of Cats. Other members of the ensemble include Andrew Boetcher, Ariel Reid from Broadway's Spamalot, Pam Remler, Allie Schauer, David Spangenthal from Broadway's Thoroughly Modern Millie and Richard Riaz Yoder who last performed on Broadway in Irving Berlin's White Christmas.
There are six Connecticut residents joining the cast as Lucky Little Radio Girl hopefuls: Meg Guzulescu (West Hartford) who portrayed Jane in last year's production of Jim Henson's Emmet Otter at the Goodspeed Opera House and performed on Broadway in Billy Elliot: The Musical, Morgan Martin (Glastonbury), Hayley Murphy (Madison), Betty Smith (Middlefield), Marissa Smoker (Branford), who recently appeared as Nellie in Goodspeed's Annie Get Your Gun, and Laura Spineti (Higganum).
Radio Girl will be directed and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli. Gattelli returns to Goodspeed where he recently directed the world premiere production of Jim Henson's Emmet Otter. Gattelli also choreographed Goodspeed Musicals' 13 at The Norma Terris Theater, which continued on to Broadway, and Me and My Girl at the Goodspeed Opera House. He choreographed the Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George and was nominated for a 2008 Tony Award for Best Choreography for South Pacific. Gattelli's other Broadway credits include The Ritz, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, and High Fidelity.
The Norma Terris Theatre is located at 33 North Main Street in Chester which was recently voted "Best Small Town in Connecticut" by Connecticut Magazine. Season subscriptions ($78) and individual tickets ($42) and are on sale now. For more information call the Goodspeed Box Office at 860.873.8668 or visit www.goodspeed.org.
Dedicated to the preservation and advancement of musical theatre, Goodspeed Musicals produces three musicals each season at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn., and additional productions at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn., which was opened in 1984 for the development of new musicals. The first of two 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 the Musical Theater. Goodspeed Musicals gratefully acknowledges the support of their Official Audio Sponsor Sennheiser Electronic Corporation. Goodspeed Musicals is supported in part by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Photo Credit: Bill Dow