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In The Spotlight

In The Spotlight

Join Michael Fling and Anika Chapin of the Goodspeed Artistic Staff as they explore and examine your favorite musicals—from contemporary hits to classic Broadway. They’ll share fascinating tidbits about each musical’s creation and history, then analyze a song or scene to illustrate how the dramaturgy of the show works.

Whether you're "Getting to Know" a show for the first time or learning more about an "Old Friend," you're guaranteed to fall in love with musical theatre all over again.


Anika Chapin

Anika Chapin is Goodspeed's Artistic Associate and a NYC-based dramaturg and writer. Before Goodspeed, her jobs included Literary Manager at Two River Theater, and a Company Manager on an Australian tour of CATS that traveled around Asia, among many others. She has her MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University, and was recently named one of the Broadway Women's Fund's '50 Women to Watch.' She thinks way too much about musical theater.

Michael Fling

­­Michael Fling is on the Artistic staff at Goodspeed in addition to being a freelance director. Prior to joining the Goodspeed team, Michael was a resident Associate Director at The Muny and has worked with a number of high-profile directors at theatres across the country. Most recently, Michael founded Craft Productions of Oklahoma, a summer stock theatre in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he is the Artistic Director. He is a proud graduate of the Directing program at Webster Conservatory.



Do you have questions or comments for our hosts? Email us at podcast@goodspeed.org


S2 E9: West Side Story

December 8, 2021
In the first ever LIVE episode of the show, Michael & Anika JETÉ (see what we did there) into the American classic West Side Story, which first premiered over 60 years ago. From its origins as Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet to the upcoming remake that is about to be released, this episode will absolutely get you ready for The Rumble.


October 3, 2021
While exploring mental health isn't completely foreign to Broadway musicals, when NEXT TO NORMAL premiered it was a game changer of how musical theatre could tackle complex emotional topics. Join Anika and Michael as they analyze this Pulitzer Prize winning show and it's wild journey to legendary status.


October 7, 2021
At 78 years old, Oklahoma!, is lookin' fine. Rodgers and Hammerstein's first musical together blew onto the scene in 1943 and redefined American Musical Theater forever. The deceptively simple story hides layers of complexity that have yielded rich interpretations ever since (and terrible high school productions, much to the chagrin of many a musical theater lover.) Michael and Anika dive into the darkness in the sunny text, the question of insiders and outsiders in American communities (and who is missing from the text), the direct connection from 'Lonely Room' to the work of Stephen Sondheim, and the very different experience watching the show in the state of Oklahoma. Give this episode an Oklahoma Hello and press play!


September 8, 2021
Midnight... not a sound from the pavement... except a pack of unitard-clad dancing felines in yak-hair wigs. Yes, for this episode we are taking a look at the most famous show ever written about a pack of cats who are auditioning to die: the Jellicle musical itself, CATS. Every part of this show, from its source material by a titanic poet known mostly for his dark musings on the futility of life, to its fraught development process, to its eventual mega-hit status, is unlikely. We'll discuss its now and forever allure, its truly odd plot and complex created mythology and yes, even the movie.

S2 E5: Assassins

August 4, 2021
Someone tell the story...of the brilliant, dark, fascinating Assassins. Join Michael and Anika for this mega-episode about the one-of-a-kind Sondheim and Weidman musical that has divided critics and audiences, exposed the dark loopholes of the American dream, and only become more "shmelevant" (don't worry, we'll explain) since its 1990 debut. From the addition of "Something Just Broke," to the odd and interesting roles of the Proprietor and Balladeer, to how the show might have pleased Brecht, there's so much to discuss we couldn't fit it into the length of a normal episode! So tune in for this jumbo dive into a show that is one of our absolute favorites.

S2 E4: In the Heights

July 7, 2021
Lights up on our latest episode, about Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes' joyous musical In the Heights. Join Michael and Anika as they track the show back from movie to Broadway to off-Broadway to workshop to college to Lin-Manuel Miranda's childhood neighborhood, and discuss what of the groundbreaking show is based on fact and what is fiction. We'll also debate our complicated feelings about the show's happy (?) ending and debut a brand new podcast segment! Grab a cafe con leche and tune in!

S2 E3: Hello, Dolly!

June 9, 2021
Put on your Sunday clothes and polish up those silver trays, because IN THE SPOTLIGHT is diving into Hello, Dolly!. Join Michael and Anika as they talk about the show's surprisingly ancient inspirations and complex road to Broadway - including which parts of the score might not actually be composed by the great Jerry Herman. Come for the insights into one of Broadway's greatest shows, stay for how often we confuse the names Ernestina and Ermengarde. Press play - it only takes a moment!

S2 E2: Ragtime

May 12, 2021
Ready to ride on the wheels of a dream? On this episode, Michael and Anika dive into the celebrated late 90's spectacle that looms large in the Broadway imagination. Widely considered to be one of the contemporary classics in the canon, they'll debate the quality of the musical adaptation and whether or not it is the perfect show for this moment in American history...or the worst... 

S2 E1: Camelot

April 7, 2021
For the launch of Season 2 of In the Spotlight, Michael and Anika dive into Camelot, the fondly remembered Lerner & Loewe chestnut which debuted on Broadway in 1960. Though the show’s cast album topped the charts for over 60 weeks and has since become affiliated with the Kennedy administration, the development of the show was far from the perfection to which King Arthur strived. From one of musical theatre’s horniest songs to the truly bizarre original title, this may just be the Holy Grail of episodes. 


March 24, 2021
Join Michael & Anika as they deep dive into the creation of the new musical Passing Through and the process of “Putting It Together” with writers Brett Ryback & Eric Ulloa. Come along as they take you on a journey that starts with Andrew Forsthoefel's trek across America and ends with the musical's world premiere production at Goodspeed's Terris Theatre in Summer 2019, which is streaming on Goodspeed On Demand until April 4th. 

Spectacular Spectacular - 2020 New Year's Special

Dec 30, 2020
In this one-of-a-kind episode, Michael and Anika recap the first season of IN THE SPOTLIGHT, dish on some of their favorite parts of the season, and reveal how they choose musicals to put in the spotlight! Curious about what will be featured in the second season? Well there may be a few clues in the episode as well...so start your new year right with IN THE SPOTLIGHT! 

S1 E19: Show Boat

Dec 16, 2020
In the season finale of IN THE SPOTLIGHT, we take a ride aboard Show Boat. The 1927 Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II epic arose out of a sea of operettas and revues to be the first true musical - or was it? We look at the show's fascinating history and complicated legacy, dive into how "Bill" went from being a comedy number in another show to a devastating torch song with only a few tweaks, and celebrate the show that just keeps rollin' along almost a century after it changed theater forever. 

S1 E18: Hair

Dec 1, 2020
1967 was the Age of Aquarius on Broadway with the arrival the "American Tribal Love-Rock Musical" HAIR. The trippy, bold, messy, occasionally-naked show by James Rado, Gerome Ragni, and Galt MacDermot had started life at the Public Theater, the first show to do so, and its unconventional journey from the streets and parks of New York City to the Public to Broadway befits the deeply unconventional show itself. We'll take a look at the show's unique history, its distinctive structure, and its continuing influence, legacy and relevance. Press play and let the sun shine in, baby.

S1 E17: My Fair Lady

Nov 11, 2020
It was a loverly day when My Fair Lady opened on Broadway in 1956, and it quickly became a smash hit and beloved classic. Writing team Lerner and Loewe succeeded where others had failed and turned George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion into a musical - and what a musical! We'll look at the show's complex pre-history and thorny rehearsal days, and dive into the question of whether the show is a romance, or sexist, or both. Find one enormous chair and settle in for our latest episode!

S1 E16: Little Shop of Horrors

Oct 28, 2020
In a very spooky Halloween episode, we're headed to Skid Row as we explore Little shop of Horrors! We'll dive into the cult-classic movie that inspired the Off-Broadway smash, how it catapulted its authors Alan Menken and Howard Ashman into musical stardom, and confront how the show expertly entertains audiences and pulls at their heart-strings. So, lift up your head, wipe off that mascara and most importantly remember...DON'T FEED THE PLANTS!

S1 E15: A Chorus Line

Oct 14, 2020
For the fifteenth episode of IN THE SPOTLIGHT we had our first-ever 'Listeners Choose’ contest, and the winner was clear... the groundbreaking 1975 musical A Chorus Line. Michael and Anika dive into the Pulitzer Prize-winning piece about the lives of Broadway dancers, directed and choreographed by theatrical legend Michael Bennett. We examine the show's Rashomon-like origin story (or stories) and complicated history, as well as the show's brilliant and unusual structure. Ready to listen? A-five-six-seven-eight...!

S1 E14: Fiddler on the Roof

Sept 30, 2020
When Tevye the Milkman daidle-deedle-daidled onto Broadway in 1964, he was almost instantly a hit. Fiddler on the Roof, with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, wasn't the first adaptation of Sholem Aleichem's Tevye and His Daughters stories, but it was by far the most successful. We'll look at the history of the show's source material, its road to Broadway, the criticisms of its portrayal of Jewish life, and discuss what makes this miracle of miracles show so beloved.

S1 E13: RENT

Sept 16, 2020
RENT burst onto the scene in 1996, and Broadway was never the same. The visceral rock adaptation of Puccini's La Boheme changed musical theatre both inside and out and created far more than 525,600 superfans. We'll dive into the show's downtown roots, discuss what Jonathan Larson's tragic death meant for the show's development, and examine what the show's success wrought (namely lawsuits). Won't you light our candles and join us for a little Vie Boheme?

S1 E12: Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812

Sept 2, 2020
From an 87-seat off-Broadway theatre redesigned to be an immersive Russian bistro, to a specially-built tent, to a Tony-winning regional theatre, to a transformed Broadway theatre, Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 had one of the most unconventional journeys to the Great White Way. An adaptation of a section of Tolstoy's War and Peace, Dave Malloy's 2016 musical sounds like little else. We'll discuss the show's unusual production and contemporary sensibility to its delightful grab-bag style (and whether it's more aesthetic than substance), and the controversy that ended the Broadway run. Grab a vodka and your favorite fur hat and dive in with us!

S1 E11: Dreamgirls

August 19, 2020
And we are telling you... the next episode of IN THE SPOTLIGHT is about Dreamgirls! The 1981 backstage musical that profiled a (quasi) fictional girl group called The Dreams as they shoot to stardom was a hit then, and it has only grown more beloved. We'll talk about the show's music-infused structure, the complicated inspiration behind the story, where the show fits in the question of representation on Broadway and Michael Bennett’s cinematic original staging. If you want to know more about this earworm-filled classic, all you have to do is dream and we'll be there.

S1 E10: The Music Man

August 5, 2020
We got anything but trouble when we're talking about The Music Man, the Meredith Willson classic whose intricate musical structure and forms laid the groundwork for so many works to follow and firmly established his place as a Broadway “one-hit wonder.” We'll discuss what makes the show so brilliant, dive into the gorgeous "My White Knight," and reveal our least favorite table-work theory about the show (hint: it's about Winthrop's parentage.) Whether you're a fan of the show or a newbie, this episode is something special, just for you.

S1 E9: Jesus Christ Superstar

July 22, 2020
When Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice had the idea to turn the story of Judas betraying Jesus and his subsequent crucifixion into a rock opera, they were told it was "the worst idea in history." But they did it anyway, and Jesus Christ Superstar ushered in a new era of Broadway. We'll dive into the 1970 rock concert/musical hybrid and look at the controversies around the show, which has been accused of being everything from blasphemous to pro-religious propaganda. And don’t get us wrong, but Israel in 4 B.C. had no mass communication…we, like Judas, only wanna know… 

S1 E8: Wicked

July 8, 2020
Good News! We’ll spend “One Short Episode” exploring the fantastical world of the Stephen Schwartz mega-musical Wicked. From discussing the Gregory Maguire novel that served as an inspiration for the authors to how the show catapulted Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth into “Popular” Broadway superstars, you’ll know everything there is to know about Oz before Dorothy dropped in. 

S1 E7: Cabaret 

June 24, 2020
Willkommen, bienvenue, and welcome to In The Spotlight’s look at Cabaret, the 1966 musical by John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Joe Masteroff. We’ll look at the show’s source materials and inspiration (including the real-life woman behind Sally Bowles, who was a muse to more than just Christopher Isherwood, the author of the original novel), and dive into how the show changed form with each revival. With chat about Hal Prince, Brecht and Weill, Queer representation in musical theater, new Broadway theaters and Joel Grey’s face makeup…you’ll want to come to the Cabaret old chum. 

S1 E6: Les Misérables 

June 10, 2020
The megamusical Les Misérables is an epic in every sense of the word: based on a novel by Victor Hugo that is huge in both size and scope, the show came to Broadway by way of France and then London, with audiences as big as the famous waving red flag. We'll dive into the musical’s unconventional genesis, discuss about how the score of the show illustrates the complex relationship between its protagonist and antagonist, Jean Valjean and Javert, and discuss our favorite and least favorite (sorry, Cosette) elements of the show. And you might just, briefly and horrifyingly, hear the people sing. 

S1 E5: Guys and Dolls 

May 27, 2020
When you see a guy reach for stars in the sky, you can bet that IN THE SPOTLIGHT is diving into the classic 1950 musical comedy Guys and Dolls. We’ll discuss why the show is both a great musical and a great comedy, share some juicy stories of the show’s creation, and take a closer look at "My Time of Day" and how it reveals secret layers of Sky’s character. 

S1 E4: Spring Awakening 

May 13, 2020
The 2006 musical Spring Awakening by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater took the world by storm when it first landed on Broadway. Although its source material was a German play from 1891, the exploration of teenage repression and angst nonetheless felt breathtakingly new and prompted The New York Times to write that "Broadway may never be the same." In the fourth episode of IN THE SPOTLIGHT, Michael Fling and Anika Chapin tell the story of this pop/rock musical classic which spawned a legion of imitations and a lot of karaoke screlting.

S2 E3: Into The Woods

April 29, 2020
Go into the woods with us as we explore Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical fairy tale which recently earned the title of runner-up in our 2020 Musical March Madness Tournament. Learn about the show’s path to Broadway, including the line Sondheim put in the show after an actor said it to him in a phone call – the only time he’s ever “borrowed” a line from a performer! As one of Michael and Anika’s favorite shows, not only will you fall in love with Into The Woods – you’ll WISH the episode could be even longer.


Episode 2: Annie

April 15, 2020
In this week's episode,
we’ll discuss the American classic Annie
which premiered at Goodspeed about 45 years ago. Michael & Anika explain
this history of the show, how it got to Goodspeed, and even reveal which famous
composer may have worked on the music for a brief time. Featuring a deep dive
into the song “Maybe” and fun facts that illuminate how the show almost never
came to be, the podcast will leave you fully dressed with a smile.


S1 E2: Annie

April 15, 2020
In this week's episode, we’ll discuss the American classic Annie which premiered at Goodspeed about 45 years ago. Michael & Anika explain this history of the show, how it got to Goodspeed, and even reveal which famous composer may have worked on the music for a brief time. Featuring a deep dive into the song “Maybe” and fun facts that illuminate how the show almost never came to be, the podcast will leave you fully dressed with a smile.


S1 E1: South Pacific

April, 8, 2020
Take a deep dive into Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific with Anika and Michael. Learn about the history of the show (including which future James Bond appeared in the chorus) and explore the show’s storytelling and structure with a dramaturgical analysis of the song "Twin Soliloquies." Both a celebration and an exploration of one of the all-time great musicals, it is tempting to say this is some enchanted podcast.


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