Goodspeed Musicals’ Popular Outdoor Summer Series Returns With Expanded Programming

Pop, Rock, Jazz, Bluegrass, R&B and plenty of Show Tunes

will wow audiences under the big top!

EAST HADDAM, CT, May 14, 2021Goodspeed by the River is back – and it’s bigger and better than ever! All summer long Goodspeed Musicals will offer up a series of musical performances that are sure to entertain. This highly anticipated return to live events promises to bring families a safe, fun, song-filled Goodspeed experience!   From rousing classic rock concerts to song-filled evenings with Broadway performers to concert presentations of exciting new musicals – all under a tent alongside the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn. – there is something for everyone to enjoy.  Rain or shine, make it another special day at Goodspeed with live music under the big top! Goodspeed by the River will be presented by Community Health Center, Inc..

The summer will be electric when new and exciting musical events created just for Goodspeed fill a big tent situated along the Connecticut River. Visitors are invited to bring a picnic and enjoy the Goodspeed lawn before or after the show. This year’s series will include Turn Back Time: Ben & Dee Rock the 70s, 80s and Beyond – a rousing classic rock-infused concert starring Ben Clark and Dee Roscioli followed by two acts in repertory. Alternating nights will be the spirited Bennett & Babs: The Songs of Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand featuring Broadway actors Jackie Burns and Joe Cassidy and the delightful Ambassador of Love: a Celebration of Pearl Bailey featuring Broadway and Goodspeed alumna Rashidra ScottAmbassador of Love will play an extended run and continue in repertory with Together Again: Max & Celeste Sing Their Broadway Favorites, an upbeat evening of Broadway tunes performed by stars of Goodspeed’s hit new musical Passing ThroughMax Chernin and Celeste Rose. Next will be the rollicking Johnny and The Devil’s Box, a concert version of the new musical showcasing a selection of tunes led by the show’s writer/performer Douglas Waterbury-Tieman joined by singer Annabelle Fox and a sizzling bluegrass band. More to be announced soon!

Goodspeed by the River summer series which begins June 10 and runs through Labor Day, will include:

Turn Back Time: Ben & Dee Rock the 70s 80s and Beyond  (June 10 – June 20) Singer-songwriter Ben Clark  (The Circus in Winter) and Wicked’s Dee Roscioli are back together at Goodspeed and ready to rock the tent with an acoustic set full of hits.  Classic rock takes center stage with songs from the Eagles, Beatles, Bonnie Raitt and Elton John. Throw in a few mashups like You’re No Good/Heard it Through the Grapevine along with songs from Ben’s latest musicals and you’ll get an eclectic jam to celebrate the first live event of the summer!

Ambassador of Love: a Celebration of Pearl Bailey (June 22 – July 18) Spend a joyful evening with Broadway and Goodspeed favorite, Rashidra Scott (Anything Goes), as she celebrates the one and only Pearl Bailey.   Scott gives a powerhouse performance belting the songs that made Pearl Bailey famous and sharing the stories behind them. It’s a lively tribute packed with favorites like “St. Louis Blues,” “Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart,” “Legalize My Name” and many more for all to enjoy.

Ambassador of Love: a Celebration of Pearl Bailey has Music Direction by Michael O. Mitchell and is Directed by T. Oliver Reid

Bennett & Babs: The Songs of Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand (June 23 – July 4) Broadway favorites Jackie Burns (Wicked) and Joe Cassidy (Waitress) take the stage in tribute to two of the greatest performers of our time – Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett.  In an evening filled with classics like “The Way We Were”, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade”, you’ll also be enchanted by the stories behind the music. Song after song, hit after hit, Bennett & Babs is a love letter to the American Songbook.

Together AgainMax & Celeste Sing Their Broadway Favorites (July 7 – July 18) Stars of Goodspeed’s hit new musical Passing Through reunite for an exciting evening of song featuring musical theater favorites from the Golden Age to Sondheim to recent Tony-winning hits.  Max Chernin and Celeste Rose tell their story of how two random roommates became lifelong friends whose lives continually bring them Together Again. This upbeat evening of Broadway tunes is an ode to the special and unique bond that only best friends share.

Johnny and The Devil’s Box: In Concert (July 22- August 1) Wielding his fiery fiddle, composer/performer Douglas Waterbury-Tieman is joined by Annabelle Fox and a sizzling bluegrass band for a concert version of the foot-stompin’ new musical Johnny and the Devil’s Box.  Everything is on the line when Johnny – the best fiddler around – is challenged to a battle of the bows by the devil himself.  With one foot in the Georgia Mountains and one foot in the Grand Ole Opry these songs will stir your soul.

Goodspeed by the River performances will be Tuesday through Sundays at 7pm with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2pm.

Additional events will be announced soon.

“Imagine a warm summer evening outdoors at Goodspeed listening to show tunes and stories – old and new – and the joy of experiencing live performances and music once again” shared Artistic Director Donna Lynn Hilton.

“We believe that performing outdoors will be the perfect bridge to getting all of us back into the theatre.  For that we will need to wait a little longer and use this time to have a glorious summer outdoors.  We hope you’ll join us.” she added.

Goodspeed by the River is sponsored by RisCassi & Davis, P.C.; Suzio York Hill; Richard P. Garmany Fund at Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; The Frank Young Fund for New Musicals, a Program of National Alliance for Musical Theatre; Burry Frederick Foundation and The Shubert Foundation.

Tickets per event will be $45. Special Offer:  Buy tickets for 3 or more events and save $5 per ticket! Tickets are available now to Goodspeed Members and Donors. Tickets will go on sale to the public on May 20 and will only be available through the Box Office at (860) 873-8668 open Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm.

WE CARE ABOUT YOUR SAFETY. Goodspeed follows state and CDC guidelines for safety. Below are just a few of the ways we’re keeping you safe.

This event takes place in a tent in the Goodspeed parking lot.  For safety reasons, we are limiting capacity and will allow space between parties.

Distancing will be maintained within the tent by leaving empty seats between each party.  From June 10 to July 4, there will be two empty seats between parties.  From July 7 to September 5, there will be one empty seat between parties. Empty seats will be clearly labeled.

No physical tickets will be used, instead guests will be emailed a confirmation and will check in upon arrival at the tent.

Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrances and at portable restrooms. 

The Goodspeed lawn will be accessible for picnics before or after the show.

A complete list of audience guidelines, seating plan, timed entry and event information can be found at

GOODSPEED MUSICALS has achieved international acclaim and is the first theatre in the nation to receive two Tony Awards for outstanding achievement in musical theatre. Under the leadership of Donna Lynn Hilton, Artistic Director and David B. Byrd, Managing Director, Goodspeed Musicals is dedicated to the celebration, development and advancement of musical theatre. Goodspeed creates powerful, world-class productions of enlightening new and established works to entertain and inspire audiences. From Goodspeed, 21 musicals have gone to Broadway (including Man of La ManchaAnnie and Holiday Inn) and more than 90 new musicals have been launched.  Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals and the Johnny Mercer Writers Grove are distinguished cornerstones of the organization that highlight its commitment to nurture the talents of new and established artists and support the creative process. 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; the official audio sponsor Sennheiser; and official auto sponsor Hoffman Audi. The organization is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.


JACKIE BURNS is a bi-coastal actress who holds the title of Broadway’s longest running Elphaba in Wicked as well as being the face of the brand. She replaced Tony Award-winning Idina Menzel in the national tour of If/Then a performance for which she received rave reviews for her performance and was also a part of the original Broadway company. Her other Broadway and Off- Broadway credits include the Tony Award-winning revival of Hair and Rock of Ages.

JOE CASSIDY is a Drama Desk Award-winning actor who has been seen on Broadway, TV, Film, Commercials, Voiceovers, and as a featured soloist with symphonies all over the US and Canada. On Broadway, he most recently played Cal in Waitress. Other Broadway credits include: If/ThenCatch Me If You CanNext to NormalDirty Rotten Scoundrels1776Show Boat and Les Misèrables.

MAX CHERNIN made his Goodspeed debut in the 2019 production of Passing Through.  Broadway: Steve Martin Edie Brickell’s Bright Star and the 2017 revival of Sunday In The Park With George. Other New York credits include Brooklynite (Vineyard Theatre), The Golden Apple (City Center Encores!), Bernstein’s Mass (Lincoln Center), and Skittles Commercial: The Musical. Regional: Daddy Long Legs (Theatre Raleigh). He has performed his solo show, The Color Ginger at Feinstein’s/54 Below and GR42. On TV, Max can be seen on DickinsonMozart In The JungleThe Family, and Adam Sandler’s The Week Of. BFA: University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) Max is a finalist in the 2021 Lotte Lenya Competition. @maxcherns

BEN CLARK is a singer, songwriter, composer and an Indiana native. Ben has been writing music since age 14 and has composed three musicals including The Circus in Winter, which was produced at Goodspeed’s Terris Theatre in 2014. For the piece he received praise including the Kennedy Center Award for Outstanding Musical Composition, and an entrance into the NAMT Festival in New York City which featured Sutton Foster in a leading role. Ben has a band called Ben Clark and the Long Shadows, which had two songs featured in the motion picture A Score to Settle starring Nicolas Cage. In addition, he has two other musicals in development: Skin And Bones, a collaboration with University of Nebraska playwright Andrew Kramer, and Bruno and the Gospel of Infinity. Since lockdown he has enjoyed collaborating intimately with his partner Dee, and is happy and honored to share the stage with her here at Goodspeed once again. 

ANNABELLE FOX is thrilled to be back in her home state singing the music ofJohnny and the Devil’s Boxalongside her husband Douglas. She was last seen playing the role of Abigail King in an excerpt of JDB as part of Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Ground Floor Series. She is currently working on the virtual production with A.D. Players to be streamed in June! Pre-pandemic, she starred as Jeanette in the Off-Broadway revival of No Strings, directed by Deidre Goodwin. Favorite Credits Include Savannah (Disney’s Freaky Friday), Kathy Selden (Singin’ In The Rain, CT Critics Circle nomination.), and Wendla (Spring Awakening). Her mission in life is to bring joy to people through performance. She is specifically drawn to material that elevates the human mind and radiates justice, sprinkling her spark and boldness into each character. She recently launched her own business Re-Find by Fox to help others refine and reimagine their space, style, or story. Keep an eye out for her in Better Days this fall on ESPN. BFA MT Belmont University. IG: @annabellefoxtieman & @thefiddlinproject. 

MICHAEL O. MITCHELL (Music Director, Ambassador of Love) is an award winning music director, composer, arranger, pianist, orchestrator and conductor. He is the Music Director for Amateur Night at the Apolloat the famous Apollo Theater. He is arranger, orchestrator, music director for a new musical,premiering fall 2021 in Miami. Michael is also the Associate Conductor for the upcoming Broadway show, MJ the Musical. Other Broadway credits include Motown the MusicalThe Color PurpleNice Work If You Can Get It and Memphis. Collaborations include work with Lisa FischerLeslie Odom, Jr.LedisiBilly PorterJazmin SullivanThe O’JaysKristen Chenoweth. Michael is a Yamaha Endorsed Artist.

DEE ROSCIOLI’s home base is NYC but she has travelled the world singing and acting.  Dee is best known for her seven year record-breaking run as Elphaba in the smash Broadway hit Wicked, where she led the Broadway, Chicago, San Francisco and 1st National Touring Companies. Most recently, Dee was seen on Broadway in The Cher Show portraying the pop icon herself as both Star and Lady Cher. Dee was profoundly honored to perform with her fellow Cher Show cast members on the 2019 Tony Awards. In 2015 she was invited into the closing company of the Broadway revival of Fiddler On The Roof playing the mischievous Fruma Sarah, which was filmed and archived for Lincoln Center’s performance library. Dee has also had the privilege of creating the role of Emily in John Kander’s newest musical Kid Victory, where she was directed by the incomparable Liesl Tommy. This production went on to have a critically acclaimed run at the prestigious Vineyard Theatre in NYC and she can also be heard on the Original Cast Recording. 

In addition to her theatre credits, she has performed twice as a headlining artist with the prestigious Philly Pops and has also been invited as a headlining artist with Boulder Philharmonic, Brazos Valley Symphony, Pennsylvania Philharmonic, South Bend Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Missouri Symphony, Desert Symphony, as well as the International Music Festival in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic and return concert engagements in Taipei, Taiwan. She has also created her solo show for the legendary Birdland Jazz, 54 Below and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival cabaret series. For updates on Dee follow her on Instagram and Facebook! @deeroscioli 

T. OLIVER REID (Director, Ambassador of Love) has spent the past 20 years working on Broadway shows, (HadestownOnce On This IslandSunset BoulevardAfter Midnight; Sister ActMary PoppinsThe Wedding SingerChicagoLa Cage Aux FollesNever Gonna DanceThoroughly Modern MillieFolliesKiss Me, Kate), which have amassed more than 20 Tony Awards from the American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards. He is also an accomplished cabaret artist and multiple award winner for his solo show, Drop Me Off In Harlem which he directed, wrote and starred in. He has produced and directed concerts for Feinstein’s 54 Below and continues to work in film and television. He is on faculty at NYU-Tisch’s Grad Acting Program and Columbia University School of the Arts’ Grad Acting program as well as Ohio University and Rider University. He sits on the Board of Visitors for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He’s currently in the critically acclaimed, Hadestown on Broadway.

CELESTE ROSE is so elated to be back at Goodspeed Musicals where she has spent three winters performing in A Connecticut Christmas Carol and one summer playing Karie in the premiere of Passing Through. Off-Broadway and NYC credits: We Are The TigersUnexpected Joy(York Theatre) and The Bad Years. Other regional credits include Freaky Friday (Lyric Theatre Of Oklahoma),Sister Act (Ogunquit Playhouse and The Gateway Playhouse), Bernice Bobs Her Hair (Lyric Theatre Of Oklahoma), Titanic (Westchester Broadway Theatre). BFA Ithaca College. Love and thanks to the Rose fam and the wonderful team at Goodspeed.  Follow along @_celeste_rose &

RASHIDRA SCOTT is thrilled to be back at Goodspeed Musicals after having the pleasure of portraying Reno Sweeney in the 2016 production of Anything Goes at The Goodspeed and performing the title number of the 2020 Virtual Gala Shakin’ the Blues Away. Broadway: CompanyAin’t Too Proud(OBC), Beautiful(OBC, Grammy Award), Sister Act (OBC, U/S Deloris; 1st National Tour, Deloris), HairFinian’s Rainbow, and Avenue Q (Gary Coleman). Select regional credits: Dreamgirls (Lorrell, Marriott Theatre) and Hair (Dionne, Arizona Theatre Company). TV: Rescue Me (Sony/FX). Lead singer for Windborne’s Music of Whitney Houston. BM in Music Business/Management (Berklee College of Music). Thank God, Goodspeed, Nicolosi, Rich, and family.

ADAM SOUZA (Resident Music Director) Broadway credits include: Wicked, Kinky Boots. National Tours: of Wicked (2nd National, Original MD/Conductor), Kinky Boots (Original MD/Conductor), Spamalot(1stNational as MD/Conductor), The Midtown Menand Les Misérables. Adam also served as Associate Music Supervisor for the international mountings of Wicked,São Paolo, Brazil (in Portuguese) and Mexico City (in Spanish). His regional credits include: Next to Normal Hartford TheaterWorks, North Shore Music Theatre, and over 15 productions with Goodspeed Musicals including Because of Winn Dixie,  The Great American Mousicalwith Julie AndrewsSnapshots by Stephen SchwartzRoar of the Greasepaint…, George M!BrigadoonVery Good EddieRagsGreat Expectations, and The Road to HollywoodAdam has served on faculty for the Boston Conservatory at Berklee as an Associate Professor of Theatre, of which he is also an alumnus.

SCOTT WASSERMAN (Music Supervisor, Johnny and the Devil’s Box) BROADWAY: Ableton Programmer for HamiltonDear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812; Escape To MargaritavilleAnnie and Leap of Faith. OFF-BROADWAY: Invisible Thread(Second Stage). REGIONAL: Austen’s Pride (ACT of Connecticut – Orchestrator), Diana (La Jolla Playhouse – Electronic Music Programmer). OTHER: Radio City Music Hall (Orchestrator), 21 Chump Street (This American Life – Ableton Programmer). TELEVISION: The 71st Tony AwardsCrazy Ex-Girlfriend (Orchestrator). ALBUM: Joel B. New’s Cabot Cove (Broadway Records – Orchestrator & Arranger). PODCAST: Song Salad with co-host Shannon Deep (@songsaladcast) TWITTER: @scottwasserman1 INSTAGRAM: @swasserm

DOUGLAS WATERBURY-TIEMAN Originally from Lexington, KY now living in Nashville, TN with his wife and muse Annabelle Fox. BM in Musical Theatre: Belmont University. Off-Broadway: The Robber Bridegroom and Soot and Spit. Regional: OnceSunset Boulevard. TV: Succession. Waterbury-Tieman was Fiddler for Clint Black’s Looking for Christmas and performed aboard The Disney Magic.  Proud member of The Lobbyists and The Playbillies. Creator of Johnny & the Devil’s Box, a new musical that has been in development with Goodspeed at the Johnny Mercer Writer’s Grove and the Festival of New Musicals cabaret in 2019 thanks to a NAMT Frank Young Fund grant. Douglas is thrilled to be returning to Goodspeed to bring some music and celebration back to his favorite theatre after such a difficult season. Keep singing! 


Seating:  This event takes place in a tent in the Goodspeed parking lot.  For safety reasons, we are limiting capacity and will allow space between parties.

Tickets will be sold in groups of 2 with empty seats between each pair. For parties larger than 2, you may purchase multiple pairs of tickets that will be separated by empty seats.  For those wishing to buy only one ticket, the second seat in that pair will not be sold to anyone else.

Distancing will be maintained within the tent by leaving empty seats between each party.  From June 10 to July 4, there will be two empty seats between parties.  From July 7 to September 5, there will be one empty seat between parties. Empty seats will be clearly labeled.

Tickets:  No physical tickets will be used.  Your seat row and number will appear in an email confirmation when you purchase your tickets.  When you arrive at the event, an usher will check you in based on your last name and direct you to the appropriate entrance to the tent.  All members of your party must enter together.

Timed Entry:  In order to minimize lines, you will be assigned a 15 minute arrival time window (e.g. 6:20-6:35) when you will be allowed into the tent.  Your entry time will be included in your email confirmation. 

Rain Policy:  All performances will take place under a large tent and thus, will go on rain or shine. If a performance is cancelled due to extreme weather, we will contact you by email approximately 3 hours prior to curtain time as well as post it on the Goodspeed website and on our Facebook page. 

Safety Policies: Please note that Goodspeed follows state and CDC guidelines for safety. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrances and bathrooms.

Bathrooms:  Portable bathrooms will be provided at the event. They will be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis.  Hand sanitizer will be provided for your use before and after using the bathroom. One of the portable bathrooms will be accessible.

Picnics on the Goodspeed Lawn:  You are welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy the Goodspeed lawn before or after the show. Please plan to remove all trash and take it with you when you leave. 

Changing Guidelines: All guidelines are subject to change by federal, state, or local authorities. Please review all posted signage for the most updated requirements. Failure to adhere to posted guidelines will result in all party members being asked to leave the event grounds. No refunds will be given.

A complete list of audience guidelines, seating chart and event information can be found at

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