March 18-20: Staged readings of three brand-new musicals plus
several special events celebrating the best and brightest in musical theatre from across the nation
East Haddam, Conn., FEBRUARY 3,: Come in from the cold and check out what’s hot at the 16th Annual Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals. The much-anticipated three-day festival of brand-new works returns to the Goodspeed campus after having been canceled in 2021 due to Covid-19.  This year’s Festival is unique in that all of the new musicals to be showcased are written by women.  The Festival kicks off on Friday, March 18 at The Goodspeed with a staged reading of A House Without Windows.  This fascinating new tuner features a book by Anna Ziegler and music and lyrics by Anna K. Jacobs.  Saturday, March 19 will be highlighted by a staged reading of the darkly comic and powerful new musical HoTwhich has music by Lynne Shankel and words by Sara Cooper.  The final day of the festival features The Gunfighter Meets His Match, a new musical filled with humor and heart with book, music and lyrics by Abby Payne. Additional Festival events, including seminars, symposium and exclusive cabarets, will round out this exciting weekend.  

Single tickets are $25 for each staged reading, $15 each for students.  Single show tickets and Festival packages are available through the Goodspeed Box Office 860.873.8668.  Single Show tickets can also be purchased online at  This year’s Festival is sponsored in part by lead sponsors RisCassi & Davis, P.C. and the Burry Fredrik Foundation with support from the Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation, The Jessica Waldman Thompson Endowment in Support of The Festival of New Musicals and Webster Private Bank. 

Goodspeed’s ever-popular Festival GOLD Package will offer patrons a weekend full of special events. The $155 package includes admission to all three staged readings; three Festival seminar sessions; the Festival Symposium; a Saturday evening pre-show dinner at either the Gelston House or La Vita; and a Meet the Writers Q&A, which will complete the weekend’s festivities. Also included in the Festival GOLD Package is admittance to either the Friday Night or Saturday Night Cabarets – informal gatherings showcasing new songs by new and established artists. A special SILVER Package which includes the three staged readings, three Festival seminar sessions, the Festival Symposium and the Meet the Writers Q&A is also available for only $100.

 “We are proud to welcome this amazing group of female-identifying writers to the Goodspeed campus and to share their important and entertaining stories with our audiences at this earliest stage of development.  They, along with the other prominent artists and industry experts who will participate in the symposium, seminars and cabarets will make this one of the most significant and memorable events in Festival history,” said Donna Lynn Hilton, Goodspeed’s Artistic Director. “The Festival of New Musicals is the cornerstone of Goodspeed’s new works development program and we invite all who enjoy musical theatre to join us for a weekend that will enlighten, entertain and educate all who attend,” she added.

“I can’t think of a more a delightful way to kick off spring and Goodspeed’s 2022 season than with the Festival of New Musicals,” said David B. Byrd, Goodspeed’s Managing Director.  “We are so excited to celebrate the future of musical theatre with our local community and with industry professionals from around the country,” he added.

The Festival of New Musicals is produced by Goodspeed Musicals’ Max Showalter for Education in Musical Theatre. Created in 2002, Goodspeed’s Showalter Center inspires and nurtures musical theatre artists and students by providing a unique and comprehensive range of training and educational programs to serve both the national and local academic communities.  The Goodspeed Festival program offers new and established artists the rare opportunity to thoroughly work on their projects with the help of Goodspeed’s renowned resources and artistic environment. At the same time, the Festival affords junior and senior students from prominent conservatory programs real-world experience in new musical development and performing new musicals. 

Preparations for the Festival begin on March 7th when the three teams of writers and composers arrive on the Goodspeed campus and dedicate their time to further writing and composing their musicals in development. They are joined by musical theater students from The Hartt School, who take part in rehearsals and continued development of the material.  The intensive retreat culminates with Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals, which showcases staged readings of the new musicals developed during the two-week long program, one of the Showalter Center’s major endeavors.

In order to keep all of the artists, staff and audiences safe from Covid-19, Goodspeed has developed a strong safety policy that requires all who attend the Festival to show proof of vaccination and wear masks at all events.  Complete details can be found at

Lodging and dining information for Festival attendees as well as up-to-date information on the weekend’s events can be found at
Information about the three staged readings and the schedule of special events for Festival Package holders includes:

Friday, March 18
A House Without Windows
7:30 p.m., The Goodspeed
Book by Anna Ziegler
Music and Lyrics by Anna Jacobs
Barbara Newhall Follett was the child prodigy author of a celebrated novel about a young girl who runs away from her family and vanishes into nature.  Twelve years after its publication, on December 7, 1939, Barbara walked out of her apartment with $30 and a light overcoat, and was never seen or heard from again.  She was twenty-five years old.  A House Without Windows is a meditation on the mystery of Barbara’s disappearance, the ways in which art imitates life and vice-versa, and what can happen when the life that seemed promised never materializes, especially to those for whom the line between reality and fantasy is already gossamer-thin.
Festival Cabaret: Timothy Huang
10:00 p.m., Gelston House
Saturday, March 19
10:00 a.m.  – 1:00 p.m., Gelston House / La Vita
Seminar titles to be announced.
*Symposium :  Topic and speakers to be announced
4:00 p.m., The Goodspeed 
*This event is free and open to the public.
Festival Dinner
5:30 p.m., Gelston House – OR – La Vita
Enjoy a three course meal with fellow festival goers.
7:30 p.m., The Goodspeed
Music by Lynne Shankel
Words by Sara Cooper
HoT is a darkly comic, through-composed feminist adaptation of Helen of Troy featuring an all-women+ cast. It exposes and examines the commodification women face throughout our lifetimes as Helen is first sexualized, then held to unrealistic beauty and gender-based standards, and finally vilified and discarded – until she decides to stand up and take back her power.
Festival Cabaret: Artist to be announced
10:00 p.m., Gelston House
Sunday, January 19
The Gunfighter Meets His Match
1:00 p.m., The Goodspeed
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Abby Payne
A Wild West boom town, famous for the legend of a brilliant Gunfighter, is stirred up by the arrival of a young ranch hand on a mission to understand the truth behind the Gunfighter stories. As mysterious past and present meld and the Gunfighter returns to protect his long lost love, he and the townsfolk must face their ghosts in this new musical filled with humor and heart.
Meet the Writers Q&A
3:30 p.m., The Goodspeed
Gain insight into the inspirations and processes of the writers during this lively festival wrap-up discussion.
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 Shenandoah) and more than 90 new musicals have been launched. Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals and The Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed are distinguished cornerstones of the organization that highlight its commitment to nurture the talents of new and established artists and support the ceative 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.


A House Without Windows
Book by Anna Ziegler
Music and Lyrics by Anna Jacobs
ANNA ZIEGLER’s (Book) plays include the widely-produced Photograph 51 (West End, directed by Michael Grandage and starring Nicole Kidman; named the number one play of 2019 by the Chicago Tribune; winner of London’s WhatsOnStage Award for Best New Play; available on Audible; published in Bloomsbury’s Modern Classics series), The Last Match (Roundabout; Old Globe; Writers Theatre), The Wanderers (Old Globe and upcoming at The Roundabout, winter 2023), Actually (Geffen Playhouse; Williamstown; Manhattan Theatre Club; Trafalgar Studios and many more; L.A. Ovation Award winner for Playwriting for an Original Play). She holds commissions from Roundabout Theatre Company, Second Stage Theatre and The Geffen Playhouse. Bloomsbury/Oberon Books has published a collection of her work entitled Anna Ziegler: Plays One. She is developing TV and film projects at HBO Max, Apple and Scott Free Productions.
ANNA K. JACOBS (Music & Lyrics) is a Jonathan Larson and Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award-winning composer, lyricist, and book writer. Her stage musicals include POP! (Yale Rep, Pittsburgh City Theatre, Studio Theatre; book/lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman), Teeth (NAMT, O’Neill; co-book/lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael R. Jackson), Anytown (George Street Playhouse; book by Jim Jack), Harmony, Kansas (Diversionary Theatre; Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals 2012; book/lyrics by Bill Nelson), Echo (Musical Theatre Factory), and Stella and the Moon Man (Sydney Theatre Company/Theatre of Image; play by Richard Tulloch, co-composed by Adrian Kelly). She contributed music and lyrics to the multi-composer works, Witnesses (California Center for the Arts; book by Robert Freedman) and Letters to the President (Cooper Union). She also penned the screenplay for The Real Gemma Jordan (University of Nebraska-Lincoln; music/lyrics by Rob Rokicki, directed by Alexander Jeffery & Alisa Belflower), which she is now adapting into a stage musical, and music and lyrics for the movie musical, Kaya: Taste of Paradise (NY Film Academy; screenplay by Jerome A. Parker, directed by Paul Warner). Currently, Anna and her playwright-collaborator Anna Ziegler are working on A House Without Windows, a new musical about the life and disappearance of child prodigy author Barbara Newhall Follett and commissioned by Barbara Whitman Productions and Grove Entertainment. She is also writing the book for a new musical adaptation for Disney Cruise Line Entertainment. Anna is a former Sundance Fellow and Dramatists Guild Fellow, and received her MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU-Tisch. When not working on her own musicals, she can be found nurturing young artists as Artistic Director of the New York Youth Symphony’s Musical Theater Songwriting Program.
Music by Lynne Shankel
Words by Sara Cooper
Lynne Shankel is an award-winning orchestrator and arranger living in the New York City area. Lynne was recently the music supervisor/arranger/orchestrator for Allegiance starring Lea Salonga and George Takei on Broadway. Her diverse musical background has led her to write orchestrations and arrangements for everyone from Chita Rivera, the New York Pops and Raul Esparza to Tony Award winner/Bon Jovi member David Bryan and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. She was music director/arranger for the Bway production of Cry-Baby, as well as the resident music supervisor for the Tony-award winning revival of Company, for which she conducted the Grammy-nominated cast album. She was music director/arranger for the Off-Broadway hit Altar Boyz, for which she received a Drama Desk nomination for orchestrations. Lynne received a second Drama Desk nomination for her work on The Extraordinary Ordinary (by Paul Loesel and Scott Burkell) in 2010. In 2012, she received the Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Orchestrations in San Diego for her work on Allegiance. In 2014, Lynne was orchestrator/arranger for the world premiere of Chasing The Song (music by David Bryan, book by Joe DiPietro ) at La Jolla Playhouse. She was orchestrator/music director for the acclaimed revival of Once On This Island at the Papermill Playhouse (directed by Thomas Kail) and the music supervisor, arranger and co-orchestrator for Bare The Musical. She also collaborated with lyricist Jon Hartmere to provide the new songs for that production which are featured on her new album, “Bare Naked.” Proud graduate of the University of Michigan.
 SARA COOPER (Words) is a Playwright-Lyricist. Recent highlights: The ASCAP Foundation Lucille and Jack Yellen Award (2021); Commercial musical adaptation of a major motion picture (TBA), lyricist (in development); The Memory Show, production TBA (2022), Benefit Reading, Alzheimer’s Association, The Mercury Theater Chicago (2019), New Bard, London (2016), Transport Group; The Duke on 42nd Street (2013), Water Gate Media, Seoul (2012-2013), Barrington Stage Company (2010), NAMT (2010); Perpetual Sunshine & the Ghost Girls, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat (2021), New York Theatre Barn New Works Series (2021), 5X15, Beck Center/Baldwin Wallace (2021), National Alliance for Musical Theatre 15-Minute Challenge winner (2020); HoT, Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals (2020, 2022), New York Theatre Barn New Works Series (2020), concert, Dixon Place (2019); Barrington Stage Company Spark Grant (2020); Windows and Breakfast, Lowbrow Opera Collective (2021, 2020); Polyanna, Grand Jury Prize, Barnstorm Media (2020); Elevator Heart, Moxie Arts (2019), USF (2018), Tisch New Musicals (2016); Fault Lines, The Kennedy Center (2018), American Opera Initiative Fellowship (2017); NYSCA Individual Theatre Artist Commission (2015); Things I Left On Long Island, FringeNYC (2014), Overall Excellence Award: Playwriting (2014), Time Out NY Critics’ Pick (2014); Jonathan Larson Grant, American Theatre Wing (2014). MFA Graduate Musical Theatre Writing, Tisch NYU. Dramatists Guild, ASCAP.
The Gunfighter Meets His Match
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Abby Payne
ABBY PAYNE (Book, Music & Lyrics) grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York. She has been a performer and singer/songwriter in New York City for several years, releasing four albums of original music with a fifth to be released in May 2022. Payne has also produced, created, and starred in several music videos and is a founding member of the Round Table, a female artist collective that seeks to create more community and opportunities for women. Her musical The Gunfighter Meets His Match, for which she wrote the book, music, and lyrics, was selected for the 2018 New York Musical Festival. Portions of the show have also been performed at HERE Arts, Joe’s Pub, and Playwright’s Horizons (with the Musical Theatre Factory). In 2019, she joined the Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals, and also performed an original holiday cabaret show entitled Christmas Spirits: Neat Edition with Craig Winberry at Feinstein’s/54 Below. In 2020 Payne was selected to attend the HBMG National Winter Playwrights Retreat in Grand Lake, CO.
Friday Cabaret
Timothy Huang is a New York based composer/lyricist/librettist. His musical American Morning (Prospect Theater, 2016 Village Theater Festival, 2015 NAMT Festival, 2012 BMI Master Class with Stephen Sondheim, 2011 ASCAP Musical Theater Workshop). Timothy was the recipient of the 2015 New American Musical Award and 2016 Richard Rodgers Award, making its author the first and only Asian American to win the latter as a triple-threat composer/lyricist/librettist. Timothy has contributed songs to Not Working: A 2020 Song Cycle (NYFA), This Golden Day (Emerson Stage), and Roasting on an Open Fire (Live and in Color). Other works include Gates of Remembering (Artistic Stamp), Peter and the Wave (DGF Fellows, Rhinebeck), The View From HereAnd the Earth MovedLINES: A Song Cycle (NYMF 05, 04, 08), A Relative Relationship (SoundBites, Best Musical), Missing Karma (City Theater of Miami, Theater Elision), and Koi Story (Sam French OOB SPF). Proud husband to Laura and father to Haven.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: