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Goodspeed produces "The Most Happy Fella"

Published September 19. 2013 4:00AM
Diane Sobolewski
Right, Mamie Parris and Bill Nolte star in "The Most Happy Fella."

Back in 1991, Goodspeed Musicals created a version of "The Most Happy Fella" that eventually traveled from East Haddam to Los Angeles - and then to Broadway.

Goodspeed is revisiting "Fella" with a new production. It opens Friday at the vaunted Goodspeed Opera House, and it's powered by part of the creative team behind the theater's recent acclaimed "Carousel" - director Rob Ruggiero and choreographer Parker Esse.

It will star Broadway vet Bill Nolte, whose New York credits include "La Cage Aux Folles," "The Producers" and "Amour." Female lead Ann Arvia likewise has appeared in a variety of Broadway shows, from "Mary Poppins" to "Les Miserables."

"Fella" was adapted by Frank Loesser, who was the composer of "Guys and Dolls" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying," from Sidney Howard's play "They Knew What They Wanted."

It features an ambitious score - arias, duets, and choral pieces among the pieces - and a dramatic love story. An aging vineyard owner in Napa Valley proposed to a San Francisco woman - by mail. She has never seen him in person, and he's sent her a photo not of him but of his good-looking ranch foreman. When she accepts the proposal and turns up at the winery to get married, as you can imagine, things don't go well.

- KRISTINA DORSEY

"The Most Happy Fella," Goodspeed Opera House, 6 Main St., East Haddam; opens Friday and runs through Dec. 1; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Wed., 7:30 p.m. Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri., 3 and 8 p.m. Sat., and 2 p.m. Sun.; also, 2 p.m. on select Thursdays abnd 6:30 p.m. on select Sundays; tickets start at $28, all prices subject to change based on availability; (860) 873-8668, goodspeed.org.

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