Tony & Grammy Award-Winner Jennifer Holliday, One of the Original Dreamgirls, Will Appear in This One-Night-Only Event on Monday, June 12

EAST HADDAM, Conn. (April 11, 2023)  Come celebrate with Goodspeed Musicals at their 60th Anniversary Gala & Auction on Monday, June 12, featuring a special concert by Broadway legend Jennifer Holliday. The grand evening will take place under a tent on the Goodspeed lawn, alongside the scenic Connecticut River. Guests will enjoy reminiscing about their favorite musicals shared with family and friends over the years as they mark Goodspeed’s diamond anniversary.

Festivities will begin with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by a four-course dinner provided by Riverhouse Catering. Entertainment will occur throughout the evening along with a Live Auction of unique experiences. The evening’s fundraising will be in support of Goodspeed’s 60th Anniversary with an emphasis on their support and development of new musicals.

The 60th Anniversary Gala & Auction will culminate in the iconic Goodspeed Opera House with a rousing concert by Tony Award and two-time Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Holliday accompanied by Goodspeed’s Resident Music Director Adam Souza and a seven-piece band.

“An anniversary this big is always a reason to celebrate,” said Artistic Director Donna Lynn Hilton. “After roaring back from 21 months of pandemic shutdown with our very successful 2022 season, we are particularly excited to welcome friends old and new to our Gala. Together we will celebrate all our community has created in the past 60 years and fundraise in support of our long-standing commitment to new musicals. I am personally thrilled to welcome the inimitable Jennifer Holliday, who originated the role of Effie White in Dreamgirls, to the Goodspeed stage as the headliner of our Gala performance. ‘And I am telling you …’ you do not want to miss this evening!’

Goodspeed’s Managing Director David B. Byrd added, “Our audience has been the catalyst for everything we’ve achieved over the past 60 years. Collectively, we have created over 15,000 performances of new and established work. We eagerly look forward to delighting, inspiring and challenging our patrons in the years to come. We will celebrate our impactful 60 years of creating the very best in musical theatre on June 12 and will toast our next 60.”

From Ms. Holliday’s early days as a girl singing solos with the choir in Houston, Texas, to her years on the Broadway stage and beyond, her inimitable voice has riveted the hearts of audiences from around the world. Ms. Holliday went from Broadway Baby to Household Name in the lead role as the iconic Effie ‘Melody” White in the 1981 smash hit Dreamgirls. She immortalized Effie, forever creating a template for delivering gut-wrenching, timeless performances, evidenced in her garnering a Grammy Award for the performance of the show-stopping torch ballad “And I am Telling You, I’m Not Going” and a coveted Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Effie.

In 2016, Ms. Holliday returned to the stage in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple as sultry singer Shug Avery. Her other recent theater credits include Sing Mahalia Sing: The Mahalia Jackson StoryDownhearted Blues: The Bessie Smith StoryHarlem Suite (as Aretha Franklin), Chicago (as Mama Morton), Grease (as Teen Angel), and Black Nativity (as the Angel of God).

Local celebrity and meteorologist Matt Scott will serve as the emcee for the event. Goodspeed Musicals’ Trustee and longtime resident of East Haddam Susan Link will serve as Gala Chair. All proceeds from this annual fundraiser will benefit the future of Goodspeed’s New Works Commissions.

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 delight, inspire and challenge audiences on its two stages – The Goodspeed in East Haddam, Conn., and The Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn. From Goodspeed, 21 musicals have gone to Broadway (including Man of La ManchaAnnieShenandoah and Holiday Inn) and 85 new musicals have been launched. Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals, GoodWorks commissioning program and the Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Grove at Goodspeed are distinguished cornerstones of the organization that highlight its commitment to nurture creators and the creative process. Goodspeed also maintains The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre and The Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre. The organization is supported in part by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts; CT Humanities; The Hoffman Auto Group; The Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; The Shubert Foundation; and WSHU Public Radio. Additional support is provided by Sennheiser, the official audio sponsor; and United Airlines, the official airline of Goodspeed Musicals. For more information, visit

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