Trio of Goodspeed musical performances composed by women

EAST HADDAM – A “Sweet 16” is happily celebrated at Goodspeed Musical’s Festival of New Musicals in East Haddam, even though it had been delayed by the pandemic.

From March 18-20, this beloved weekend dedicated to new musicals and the performing arts will once again ring in that fine tradition.

All three musicals are composed by women.

The show will include three readings staged by students from Hartt School. The Friday offering, at 7:30 p.m., will begin with the literary mystery “A House Without Windows” with a book by Anna Ziegler and music and lyrics by Anna Jacobs.

As a child prodigy author, Barbara Newhall Follett has penned a revealing novel about a young girl who abandons her family to find her way into nature. What drives Barbara a dozen years later, at 25, to leave her home and literally disappear? Does reality imitate fantasy?

A cabaret with composer Timothy Huang will follow next door at Gelston House at 10 p.m.

On Saturday morning, a series of seminars will be held on topics such as women in Connecticut theater, how to market ticket sales, how theaters survived the pandemic, the development of the musical ‘Epic’ inspired by Ulysses, New Storytelling Technologies and Nina Simone’s “Little Girl Blue” journey off Broadway.

A symposium on racial equity in theater will also take place.

At 7:30 p.m., the second staged reading will be “HoT,” with music by Lynne Shankel and lyrics by Sara Cooper. A cast of women will examine the destiny of Helen of Troy from her feminine roots and unrivaled beauty to her dismissal as the paragon of her gender.

Watch how Helen rises to the challenge of asserting and regaining her powers. A cabaret on Saturday evening will follow at 10 p.m. with music by Joriah Kwame.

Sunday at 1 p.m., adventure in the wild Wild West to enter the world created by Abby Payne for book, music and words with “The Gunfighter Meets His Match”. When a young ranch hand decides to examine and possibly debunk the myths surrounding a legendary gunman, the man in question is forced to return to his mysterious roots to defend his honor.

Since 2002, the Festival of New Musicals has been produced by the Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre.

“The Festival of New Musicals is the cornerstone of Goodspeed’s new work development program,” said Artistic Director Donna Lynn Hilton. Along with General Manager David B. Byrd, they “invite all who love musical theater to join us for a weekend that will enlighten, entertain and educate all who attend”.

For musical theater fans, what better way to watch a trio of new productions earn their legs in theater and strut their way through show business history?

Single tickets for each are $25 or $15 for students. Special packages are available. All attendees must show proof of vaccination and wear a mask at all events. Call the box office at 860-873-8668 or go online to to purchase tickets.

William N. Fernandez