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Destinations & Day Trips

Check It Out: The Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals

Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals
Written by Timothy Stobierski

If you love musicals, then you’ve got to head to the Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals to hear all of the up-and-coming hits.

Musicals: You either love them or you hate them (I’ve never met a person who fell somewhere in between). If you love them, you’re in luck, because the 12th Annual Festival of New Musicals is finally here at the Goodspeed.

The Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals is your opportunity to get a sneak peak of at brand new (sometimes still-in-progress) musicals by today’s up-and-coming playwrights. The event is spread out over the weekend of January 13 to 15, with a staged reading of a new play each day. In addition to the staged readings, guests may take part in various meet-and-greets, seminars/lectures, and meals.

Because the staged readings are the main reason that patrons attend the festival, here is a little information about each of this year’s performances.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

This staged reading will take place on Friday, January 13 at 7:30pm. The script, music, and lyrics were written by Daniel Zaitchik and were adapted from a novel by Joan Lindsay. Set in Victoria, Australia on Valentine’s Day in the year 1900, the script follows girls from the prestigious Appleyard College as they are released from their studies to take a trip to Hanging Rock, a peculiar Australian rock formation. It is a mysterious and haunting tale.


This staged reading will take place on Saturday, January 14 at 7:30pm. The script is by Greg Kotis, Music by Mark Hollmann, and the lyrics were a collaboration between the two. The script follows two teenage fast-food workers as they struggle to survive a zombie apocalypse spread through food. From the creators or the Tony Award-winning Urinetown, ZM is bound to be a funny satire.


Row will be read on Sunday, January 15 at 1pm. The script is by Daniel Goldstein and the music and lyrics by Dawn Landes. The musical is based on the book A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure. In June, 1998, Tori Murden left her job as a project manager in Louisville, Kentucky, and embarked on what no woman had ever done: row across the Atlantic. She set out with her homemade vessel, covered over 1,000 miles and rowed over 200,000 strokes. She made videos to track her journey, even when she lost all radio connection with the outside world. But she unknowingly rowed into the heart of Hurricane Danielle. Row tells a heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting story of finding your heart in the middle of the ocean.

About the Goodspeed

The Goodspeed opened its doors in 1963 with the goal of finding old, rarely produced musicals and reworking them to bring them back to life for modern audiences. They also sought to nurture promising new musicals as well.

Since opening in 1963, the Goodspeed has produced over 250 musicals, including more than 70 world premieres and 21 productions that were exported to Broadway. During the April to December season, they regularly perform a total of at least 400 performances each year, making The Goodspeed a cultural center for theatre in New England.

Visitor Information

Where: The Goodspeed, 6 Main Street, East Haddam
When: January 13 to January 15, 2017. Times of events vary.
Cost: Students pay $15 for a single ticket (good for a single event); everyone else pays $25 per single ticket. The Silver Package costs $80 and includes a ticket to all three staged readings, the new musical preview, and a “Meet the Writers Q&A.” The Gold Package is $139 and includes the same as the silver package, plus a Friday or Saturday Cabaret, 3 seminar sessions, and a festival dinner at Gelston House or La Vita.

About the author

Timothy Stobierski

Tim Stobierski is a Connecticut native and a freelance writer and editor who has worked with a number of publishers including Taunton, Abrams, and Yale University Press. He has written for Grow Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Hartford Courant, and many other publications. His first book of poetry, Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer was published in 2012 by River Otter Press. He is the founding editor of, a website focused on helping college students avoid and pay off their student loan debt.

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