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The Fourth Annual Goodspeed Festival of New Artists, the highlight of Goodspeed Musicals' Max Showalter Center for Education in the Musical Theater New Artist Program, kicks off its much anticipated three day festival of brand new works on Friday, January 16, at the Goodspeed Opera House with a staged reading of Life on the Mississippi. On Saturday, January 17, Goodspeed Musical's first ever commissioned musical, the hilarious Band Geeks!, will debut. On the final day of the festival, Factory Girls will be presented. Several special events will round out this exciting weekend.

The New Artists program offers new and emerging artists the rare opportunity to thoroughly work on their projects with the help of Goodspeed's renowned resources and artistic environment, while affording senior students from The Hartt School real-world experience in new musical development and performing new musicals. The Hartt School, founded in 1920 and one of three founding institutions of the University of Hartford (Conn.), is an internationally acclaimed conservatory with innovative programs in music, dance and theatre.

The New Artists Program is being held throughout the Goodspeed campus January 6 - 18, 2009. During the first week of the program, three teams of writers and composers will dedicate their time to further writing and composing their musicals in development. In the second week, senior students from The Hartt School will join them for rehearsals and continued development of the material. The New Artists program culminates with

Goodspeed's Festival of New Artists to be held at the Goodspeed Opera House on January 16, 17, and 18, 2009. The Festival will showcase staged readings of the new musicals developed during the New Artists Program and is open to the general public. Tickets are available at the Goodspeed Box Office or by calling 860-873-8668 or online at Tickets are $15 each for one show, $10 each for students. This year Goodspeed has expanded the Festival offerings to create a new Weekend Program. The $75 package includes admission to all 3 staged readings; The Noel Coward Foundation Symposium: Off the iPod and Into the Theatre: Creating Musicals for a New Generation; a Saturday evening pre-show dinner at the Gelston House with an engaging post dinner discussion hosted by a special guest speaker; and a Meet the Writers Reception which will complete the weekend's festivities. Also included in the special weekend program is admittance to the Festival of New Artists Cabaret showcasing new songs by new artists.

"The Fourth Annual Musical Theatre Institute with its expanded programs and wonderful new talents highlights our commitment to developing new musicals," said Michael P. Price, Executive Director of Goodspeed Musicals. "It's exciting for us to see the Goodspeed campus bustling in wintertime. During the Festival the community comes alive as host to the best and brightest new writers and students as they work together to create the future of musical theatre," he added.

Productions from the three composing teams included in the Goodspeed Festival of New Artists and the schedule of Special Events for Festival Package ticket holders includes:
Friday, January 16
Life on the Mississippi
7:30 p.m, Goodspeed Opera House
Book & Lyrics by Douglas M. Parker
Music by Denver Casado
Directed by David Glenn Armstrong
Music Direction by William J. Thomas
Young Samuel Clemens leaves home to learn steamboat piloting on a Mississippi riverboat in 1858 and unexpectedly finds himself learning about life. And death. And love. And writing. All while navigating his way from boy to man and from Samuel Clemens to Mark Twain. Based on Twain's autobiographical coming-of-age tale.

New Artists Cabaret
10:00 p.m, Gelston House

Showcasing new songs by new artists.
Saturday, January 17
The Noel Coward Foundation Symposium: Off the iPod and Into the Theatre: Creating Musicals for a New Generation.

Moderated by Jeffrey Seller, winner of three Tony Awards for Best Musical (Rent, Avenue Q, and In the Heights.) Panelists will include Broadway's Hunter Bell ([title of show]) and Director Gordon Greenberg (Goodspeed's Pirates of Penzance, Happy Days, and Half a Sixpence).
4:00 p.m., Goodspeed Opera House

Festival Dinner
5:30 p.m., Gelston House
Enjoy a three course meal and an informative discussion about musical theatre legend Noel Coward.

Band Geeks!
7:30 p.m., Goodspeed Opera House
Book by Tommy Newman
Music & Lyrics by Mark Allen, Gaby Alter, and Tommy Newman
Directed by Gordon Greenberg (Goodspeed's Pirates of Penzance, Happy Days, and Half a Sixpence)
Music Direction by Michael O'Flaherty
Enrollment is down, the budget is tight, and a cool new kid threatens tradition in the Cuyahoga High School Beavers Marching Band. Elliott, the husky tuba-playing band captain, must find a way to overcome his pride, unite this band of misfits, and help them win back their respect at the Festival of Champions!

Sunday, January 18
Factory Girls
1:00 p.m., Goodspeed Opera House
Music, Lyrics, & Book by Sean Mahoney and Creighton Irons
Directed by Kaia Monroe
Music Direction by Ian Schugel

At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution the factory girls of Lowell, Mass., must fight to maintain their country values and their humanity as they become America's first independent working

women. Fueled by the revolutionary spirit of her forefathers, one girl secretly rallies her co-workers against the burgeoning "soulless corporation." Her choice affects not only the girls and their community but also the fate of the American worker.

Meet the Writers Reception
3:30 p.m., Gelston House
Gain insight into the inspirations and processes of the
writers. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and cash bar.

Created in 2002, the Showalter Center inspires and nurtures musical theatre artists and students by providing a unique and comprehensive range of training and educational programs to serve both the national and local academic communities.

The 2009 Goodspeed's New Artist Program is generously sponsored by The Adolph & Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation and The Noel Coward Foundation.

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 works at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn., which was opened in 1984 for the development of new musicals. The only 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 gratefully acknowledges the support of American Airlines, official airline of Goodspeed Musicals.


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