Inaugural Projects include “The Snow Goose” and “Little Miss Perfect”
EAST HADDAM, Conn. (December 20, 2022) – Two-time Tony Award-winning Goodspeed Musicals proudly announces GoodWorks, its first formal commissioning program to support the creation and development of musicals that celebrate inspiring and transformational stories. The first GoodWorks commissions will be The Snow Goose written by Scott Gilmour and Claire MacKenzie and Little Miss Perfect written by Joriah Kwamé.
With GoodWorks, Goodspeed adds another tool to ensure the continued vitality of the American Musical Theatre genre. “Goodspeed has a long and storied history developing and producing new work. In more recent years we’ve introduced the Festival of New Musicals and the Johnny Mercer Writers Grove as critical tools in support of that priority,” Artistic Director Donna Lynn Hilton said. “Now, through GoodWorks, we have strengthened our ability to support the development of important new musicals from conception to the stage.” Hilton described that the goal of GoodWorks is “to commission and develop musicals that reveal the best in humankind; celebrate that which is good in our world; and will resonate with and inspire our audience.”
The first commission from this new commitment is The Snow Goose, written by Noisemaker, the Scottish writing team of Scott Gilmour and Claire MacKenzie, and adapted from the Paul Gallico novella of the same name. Set against a backdrop of war, The Snow Goose tells the story of Philip Rhayader, an artist living a solitary life in an abandoned lighthouse in the marshlands of Essex, England, a young local girl Fritha and the wounded snow goose who brings them together.
“I was gifted The Snow Goose 40 years ago, and I’ve always felt it should sing,” Hilton said. “We were fortunate to obtain an option on the Gallico novella. Scott and Claire (Hi, My Name is Ben at The Terris Theatre in 2019) were with us in East Haddam this past winter to discuss our expectations and goals for their first phase of work. We have a story treatment in place and in early 2023 during a residency at Britten Pear Arts on the southeast coast of England, where The Snow Goose is set, we will launch fully into writing the piece,” Hilton added.
“Paul Gallico‘s novella has captivated and transported readers for generations,” Gilmour and MacKenzie shared. “We‘re honoured to be bringing this story to the stage for the first time and delighted to continue our relationship with Goodspeed through its ambitious new commissioning program.”
For the second GoodWorks commission, a single song has inspired a full-length musical in Little Miss Perfect written by Joriah Kwamé. In this story, coming of age is even harder when you’re also coming out. Noelle struggles to decide whether she will be true to herself and an ally to her peers, or if she will settle with simply being Little Miss Perfect.
“Joriah’s song ‘Little Miss Perfect’ won the WRITE OUT LOUD contest in 2020, was covered by Taylor Louderman and, at last check, has well over 1 million views online,” Hilton said. “Joriah and his agent approached Goodspeed with the idea of commissioning a full-length musical based on the song. That work is well underway and I anticipate sharing the show with our audiences relatively soon.”
“Since writing Little Miss Perfect, I’ve been blown away by its global impact, and I’m so excited to be working with Goodspeed to create an all-inclusive coming-of-age story that will honor the original song while reimagining it in a way that feels fresh, exciting and relevant to today,” Kwamé added.
GoodWorks is only possible due to the generosity of our sponsors and donors who have encouraged the development of new musicals. These include the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; the estate of Christopher Weed; Susan Gonsalves; Jon Lukomnik and Lynn Davidson; and Straighten Your Crown Productions, Inc.
“We are incredibly grateful to those foundations and individuals who have supported the creation of the GoodWorks program and look forward to announcing more exciting new commissions soon as we continue to use our art form to bring communities together,” Managing Director David B. Byrd added.
ABOUT GOODSPEED MUSICALS:
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 Mancha, Annie 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 Hoffman Audi, the official auto sponsor; Sennheiser, the official audio sponsor; and United Airlines, the official airline of Goodspeed Musicals. The organization is supported in part by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts; CT Humanities; National Endowment for the Arts; and WSHU Public Radio.
Both graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Scott and Claire formed Noisemaker in 2012 as a partnership dedicated to creating and developing new musical theatre in Scotland. Now nearly ten years on, the pair have worked with a wide variety of companies and collaborators including the National Theatre of Scotland, The Citizens Theatre, Dundee Rep, Royal Lyceum, Sheffield Crucible, Goodspeed Musicals, The American Musical Theatre Project, Ruth Hendel Productions, Livewire Theatrical, LD Entertainment, National Youth Music Theatre and Selladoor Worldwide. During that time their work has also expanded from audiences at home in Glasgow, across the UK and now, more recently, in the US.
ABOUT JORIAH KWAMÉ:
Joriah Kwamé is a playwright/composer/lyricist based in NYC. In 2019, his career was launched when he won Tony-Nominee Taylor Louderman’s WRITE OUT LOUD competition for “Little Miss Perfect,” which since has grossed over 15 million views. He is a recipient of the 2020 ASCAP Foundation Cole Porter Award and was one of six ASCAP writers featured in the ASCAP Songwriters: Next Generation showcase. He participated in the 2020 Johnny Mercer Songwriting Project. He has written pieces for The New York Film Academy, Prospect Theater Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and 54 Below. He was enlisted by Andrew Lippa to write a piece for San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus’ premiere song cycle Songs Of The Phoenix, alongside the likes of Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Sondheim, and Ingrid Michaelson. Alongside Pasek and Paul, he wrote a song for Shawn Mendes in the Sony Picture Film Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. Original scores include How To You: A Musical Guide To Black Boyhood, Sophia, Our Beloved: A Musical Drama, Dream: A New Musical, and The Green. He is a 2021 Jonathan Larson finalist.