Goodspeed’s beginnings date back to 1963 when it opened its doors as a professional musical theatre. Under the direction of Michael Price since 1968, Goodspeed has produced over 250 musicals, exported 19 productions to Broadway – most famously Annie, Man of La Mancha, and Shenandoah – and produced 75 world premieres.
At first Goodspeed’s commitment was to discover rarely produced musicals from the repertoire, reworking them and bringing them to life. It was also intent on adding to the repertoire by discovering and nurturing promising new musicals presented at its Norma Terris Theatre in neighboring Chester. While these commitments remain in place today, Goodspeed’s main stage productions are more often contemporary works created during the lifetime of its audience.
Goodspeed stands as the first regional theatre in America to earn two special Tony Awards, one in 1980 for outstanding contributions to the American musical and a second in 1995 for distinguished achievement for a regional theatre.
In addition, Goodspeed contributes to the preservation of the art form through its Scherer Library of Musical Theatre, the second most extensive musical theatre research library in the United States. Throughout the year, and intensively during the months of winter, Goodspeed addresses issues unique to the field by offering innovative and highly sought-after programs through its Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre. The Showalter Center offers programs for underserved children and teens as well as Goodspeed’s growing Musical Theatre Institute which trains future music directors, scenic painters, actors and other theatrical professionals. Also during the winter, Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals features students from The Hartt School and The Boston Conservatory performing staged readings of three brand new musicals, six industry-related seminars, a symposium, and two cabarets. Goodspeed’s newest program, The Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, is an unparalleled, long-term residency program devoted exclusively to musical theatre writing.We envision Goodspeed as a thriving artist colony where the creative process continues to rule and commitment to discovery shows up in new approaches to classic works, new ways to share Goodspeed’s knowledge with the industry, and new methods to mine genius and enrich the field with the next generation of musical theatre artists.