In 1959 an organization, the Goodspeed Musicals
, was formed to restore the old Goodspeed Opera House, located in East Haddam, Connecticut
, to its original Victorian
appearance and elegance. The opera house was originally built by a local merchant and banker, William Goodspeed
, in 1876. The opera house was finished in 1877 and it's first play Charles II
debuted on October 24, 1877. During the first World War
, the opera house was used to house the Connecticut
. It had also been used a general store and a Department of Transportation storage facility before the Goodspeed Musicals group purchased it in 1959. The restoration project took nearly four years and the Goodspeed Opera House was rededicated on June 18, 1963. The first performance in the new opera house was Oh, Lady! Lady!
The Goodspeed Musicals group, as well as the Goodspeed Opera House, state that they are
Dedicated to the preservation and advancement of musical theatre and the development of new works to add to the repertoire
rethinking, restoring and revitalizing America’s musical theatre heritage.
To help them in their on-going projects, Goodspeed utilizes the Norma Terris Theatre
, in nearby Chester, Connecticut
, to develop new musical projects and work with new artists. Several original plays were first debuted here or at the opera house before going on to Broadway
and winning Tony Award
The opera house complex is home to the Max Showalter Center for Musical Theatre Education, which offers internships and new writers' residency programs, as well as the Scherer Library of Musical Theatre, which houses the largest musical theatre research facility in the United States.
Tours for any of the Goodspeed facilities can be scheduled in advance for a small fee. Tickets to the opera house or theatre productions can only be ordered in advance.