Good News!

Music by DeSylva, Henderson and Brown

Book by DeSylva, Henderson and Mandel

New Adaptation by Mark Madama and Wayne Bryan

Poster design by Meghann O'Malley and kmt Designs

October 11 - 13 at 8 PM
October 14 at 2 PM
Mendelssohn Theatre

background | press release | synopsis | program | photographs

Press Release
Classic Football Musical "Good News!" to Play Homecoming Weekend at UM
ANN ARBOR - The University of Michigan's Musical Theatre Department opens its 2001-2002 season with the Homecoming weekend performances of the classic "football musical" "Good News!." The show will take place at the Mendelssohn Theatre in Ann Arbor from October 11-14. UM is pleased to have Mark Madama, a new member of the Music Theatre Department faculty, on hand to direct.

"Good News!" premiered on Broadway in 1927, the same year as Show Boat, helping to mark the rebirth of the musical comedy which had fallen out of fashion thanks to the popularity of the musical revues that were the rage in the '20s. Written by the team of B.G. DeSylva, Lew Brown, Ray Henderson, and Frank Mandel, the show immediately became one of the musical theatre successes of that decade, in large part because of its hit songs including "Button Up Your Overcoat," "The Varsity Drag," "The Best Things in Life Are Free," "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries" and "You're the Cream in My Coffee."

In the 1920s, colleges were reminiscent of country clubs, as is the case at the story's fictional setting, Tait College. Football reigns king on the Tait campus and Tait's collegians have a hot time keeping up with their star football player, Tom Marlowe. Most will drop everything to watch him practice, to do something to earn his favor, or follow the latest chapter in his soap-opera romance with the daughter of one of the school's wealthiest benefactors. Only one girl seems oblivious to the folderol - Connie Lane, an intensely studious woman. Ironically, Connie is recruited to help when Marlowe fails the astronomy final he needs pass to in order to play in the big game Saturday. The story develops when the football star and the tutor fall for each other, and the football coach and the astronomy professor rekindle their own college romance. Inevitably, these couples' love can only survive if the team wins the big game.

The musical was adapted twice for film, first in 1930 and then again in the more successful MGM version of 1947 that starred June Allyson and Peter Lawford. In 1974, following a year of preview performances on the road where the show was rewritten almost every night, producers took one more shot at bringing Good News! back to New York. It closed on Broadway after only two performances. UM will present the popular, revised version of "Good News!" that was written in 1993 by Mark Madama and Wayne Bryan for the Musical Theatre of Wichita.

Director Mark Madama took an interest in the show because "it had so many incredible songs, but for some reason wasn't getting performed." The publishing house that held the musical's rights told him that he could use the songs as long as he rewrote the script from scratch, which he did. The production went from script to stage at the Musical Theatre of Wichita in 10 days. The musical has since been produced throughout the nation, enjoying praise from the press including the Boston "Globe" who wrote: "An evening filled with a nostalgic joie de vivre ... especially funny ... first-rate!"

Madama will be joined in the production by faculty choreographer Linda Goodrich, who was also involved in the Wichita performances. Conducting the orchestra will be new School of Music faculty member Valerie Gebert, whose recent professional conducting credits include the Broadway production of "I Do! I Do!" and the national tour of "Cabaret." Shana McKay Burns, a guest artist at the UM this season, directs the scenic design. New York based lighting designer Jeff Davis returns to the UM for this show. Audiences may remember him from his work on" L'Enfant et Les Sortileges." The show's costume designer is UM undergraduate Meghann O'Malley, whose work has been seen in the UM production of "La Perichole."

Ticket prices are $20 and $15 reserved seating with students only $7 with ID. Tickets are available at the League Ticket Office, located within the Michigan League on UM Central Campus. The Ticket Office is open from 10am-6pm, Monday through Friday and 10am-1pm on Saturday. Order by phone at (734) 764-2538. All major credit cards are accepted.

The Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, located within the Michigan League at 911 North University, is wheelchair accessible and equipped with an infrared listening system for hearing enhancement.

Click here to view the Good News! program as a PDF file

Production Photographs

Choreographer Linda Goodrich
Wig Designer Guy Beck
Opening Set Musical Director Valerie Gebert
speaks with Kristin WIlliams

Annie Ramsey as Babe
Doug Boes as Beef
Chelsea DeOrio as Pat David Reiser as Tom
Kristin WIlliams as Connie

Adam Fry as Coach
Nathan Younger as Pooch
Kristin Williams
Natalie Ross as Prof. Kenyon
Nathan Younger

Doug Boes The Football Drill Nathan and the team

Annie and Stan The Varsity Drag Annie Ramsey and
Stan Bahorek as Bobby

The football game Set Designer Shana McKay Burns
Amanda Mengden and Joel Aalberts
The girls of Pi Beta Phi

Annie and Stan Kristin, Natalie and Annie Stan

Director Mark Madama and cast "Students Are We" Annie and Stan