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Goodspeed Announces Cast of CHASING RAINBOWS: THE ROAD TO OZ

Goodspeed is thrilled to announce the cast of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, abrand-new musical that chronicles a time before "Meet Me in St. Louis," "Easter Parade," and "A Star is Born"-a time when Judy Garland was simply, "the girl with the great big voice." Filled with many beloved songs sung by Judy Garland throughout her career, Chasing Rainbows will run September 16 - November 27 at The Goodspeed in East Haddam, Conn. The show is sponsored by The National Endowment for the Arts, Eversource Energy, ConnectiCare, Comcast, and Webster Bank.

An awkward girl with a golden voice blossoms into Judy Garland in the inspirational new musical about the bumpy road to "Oz." The future superstar's complicated childhood comes alive with heartbreak, hope and the music that made her famous. "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "You Made Me Love You" and "Over the Rainbow" sweeten the story of Judy striving to hold onto her family. A love letter to gifted underdogs who reach high-and how the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

Chasing Rainbows features a book by Marc Acito. Acito wrote the book for Broadway's Allegiance starring George Takeiand A Room with a View (5th Avenue Theatre and The Old Globe) as well as the concert adaptation for Paint Your Wagon at City Center Encores. He wrote the Helen Hayes Award-winning play Birds of a Feather and the novels How I Paid for College andAttack of the Theater People.

The show was conceived by Tina Marie Casamento Libby whose multifaceted career in professional theatre includes credits as a director, casting director, performer (National Tours of Kiss Me, Kate and Victor/Victoria), teacher, and producer. The music was adapted by David Libby who has served as music director, arranger, composer, and pianist on many projects. Well-known Judy Garland historian and author John Fricke will serve as Creative Consultant and Historian for the project.

Ruby Rakos will don the famous Ruby Slippers as she takes on the role of Frances Gumm/Judy Garland. Ms. Rakos appeared on Broadway in Billy Elliot: The Musical. Frank Gumm will be played by Kevin Earley, who appeared in the Broadway productions of A Tale of Two Cities, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and LES MISERABLES and Goodspeed's production of Annie Get Your Gun. Sally Wilfert, who appeared in Goodspeed's productions of LMNOP and Caraboo, Princess of Javasu at The Terris Theatre, will play Ethel Gumm. On Broadway, Ms. Wilfert has performed in Assassins and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.Mickey Rooney will be played by Michael Wartella, who appeared in the Broadway productions of Tuck Everlasting and Wicked.

Michael McCormick, who has performed in a dozen Broadway productions including Chaplin, Elf, Curtains, Kiss of the Spider Woman and the original production of Oliver!, will play L.B. Mayer. Mr. McCormick appeared in Goodspeed's productions of The Gig at The Terris Theatre and On the Twentieth Century. Ma Lawlor and Kay Koverman will be played by Karen Mason,whose Broadway credits include Wonderland, Hairspray, and Mamma Mia!. Ms. Mason also appeared in Goodspeed's productions of Snapshots and Heartbeats at The Terris Theatre. Roger Edens and George Jessel will be played by Gary Milner, who appeared in the Broadway production of Doctor Zhivago. Ella Briggs, who made her Goodspeed debut in last season's A Wonderful Life, will play Baby Frances Gumm. Young Virginia Gumm will be played by Piper Birney, who appeared in the National Tour of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Shirley Temple will be played by Lea Mancarella.

The ensemble includes Lissa deGuzman; Colby Dezelick (Sound Engineer); Jennifer Evans, whose credits include Broadway's Ragtime and A Tale of Two Cities and Goodspeed's Carousel, Where's Charley?, and Very Good Eddie; Berklea Going; Claire Griffin (Deanna Durbin/Young Mary Jane Gumm); and Jordana Grolnick, whose credits include the National Tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella. Joining them will be Michael Hartung; Dan Higgins; Lucy Horton (Mary Jane Gumm), whose credits include the National Tour of The Bridges of Madison County; Bryan Thomas Hunt, who appeared in Goodspeed's hit production of Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn; Andrea Laxton (Virginia Gumm) who performed in the first National Tour of Ghost;Danny Lindgren, who appeared in Goodspeed's Damn Yankees and The Most Happy Fella; and Jesse Sharp (Bill Gilmore), whose credits include the National Tours of The Addams Family, Elf, and Henry & Mudge. The swings will be Joseph Fierbergand Elise Mestichelli.

Chasing Rainbows will be directed by Tyne Rafaeli. Ms. Rafaeli's extensive directing work has been seen in theatres across the country and on the first National Tour of The Bridges of Madison County. Additionally, she served as Associate Director for the recent Broadway revivals of Fiddler on the Roof and The King & I (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical).

Choreography will be by Chris Bailey, whose Broadway credits include Cyrano de Bergerac (Assistant Director and Movement Director), Evita (Associate Choreographer); How to Succeed... (Associated Choreographer); Promises, Promises(Associate Director and Associate Choreographer); and Cry-Baby (Assistant Choreographer). Additionally, Mr. Bailey choreographed 1776 at City Center Encores, Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory, London), and the upcoming West End showThe Entertainer starring Kenneth Branagh.

Scenic Design will be by Kristen Robinson who has designed for many theatres across the country and served as Associate Set Designer for Broadway's The Gin Game. Costumes will be designed by Elizabeth Caitlin Ward. Ms. Ward designed the West End production of Women On the Verge... and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Costume Design for the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Cymbeline.

Lighting Design will be by Ken Billington, who has designed nearly 100 Broadway productions, including Dames at Sea,Amazing Grace, The Drowsy Chaperone, Annie, Chicago (Tony Award for Best Lighting Design), and Sweeney Todd. He has designed a dozen Goodspeed productions, including They All Laughed; Red, Hot & Blue; The Story of My Life; Amazing Grace; and A Sign of the Times-currently playing at The Terris Theatre. Sound Design will be by Jay Hilton, who is in his 31st season at Goodspeed.

Hair and Wig Design will be by Mark Adam Rampmeyer, whose work can been seen at The Goodspeed in the current production of Bye Bye Birdie as well as Anything Goes, La Cage aux Folles, Guys and Dolls, Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn, and The Most Happy Fella, to name a few. On Broadway, he designed West Side Story, Lysistrata Jones and The Farnsworth Invention.

The Music Director for Chasing Rainbows will be Michael O'Flaherty, who is in his 25thseason as Goodspeed's Resident Music Director. Bill Thomas will be Assistant Music Director. Orchestrations

will be provided by Dan DeLange who has orchestrated dozens of musicals for Goodspeed including this season's Anything Goes and Bye Bye Birdie. Casting for Chasing Rainbows is by Paul Hardt of SH Entertainment.

Chasing Rainbows will run September 16 - November 27, 2016 [Official Press Opening October 5, 2016]. Curtain times areWednesday at 2:00 p.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

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, and official auto sponsor Hoffman Audi. Goodspeed is supported in part by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Developmentwith support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

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