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Observership Program

Observership Program


Goodspeed Musicals Musical Theatre Institute


Whether you’re an aspiring or experienced director, choreographer or music director, Goodspeed’s Observership Program provides professionals, students, and professors a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can’t be taught in the classroom. This tuition-based program pairs theatre artists with world-class theatre professionals, allowing them to observe and possibly assist a Goodspeed director, choreographer, or music director during the rehearsal process of a production.

 Goodspeed Musicals Associate Program   Goodspeed Musicals Associate Program    Goodspeed Musicals Associate Program


The process of preparing a show begins when the cast, creative team, and staff converge on The Goodspeed green room for a welcome dinner. The next morning, there is a bagel breakfast for everyone and the rehearsal process begins. Observers will be invited to the welcome dinner and bagel breakfast, and they will be expected to observe and possibly assist a member of the creative team throughout the rehearsal process.

As part of the program, participants will be offered customized educational opportunities through Goodspeed’s Education Department. Observers will gain invaluable contacts, the opportunity to attend all rehearsals, best-at-curtain tickets to Goodspeed shows, and housing. Our goal is that Observers will become part of the Goodspeed family and leave with the skills, experience, and contacts necessary to succeed in the musical theatre industry.

Goodspeed produces both revitalizations of existing musicals and new works. For those working on productions at the Goodspeed Opera House, the Observership Program will end the Sunday after the show opens. For Observers working on a Terris Theatre production, the program will finish one week after the show opens. All applicants will need to indicate on their application when they would like to participate in the program.

This program is highly selective and will involve a phone interview process and reference checks. Only one Observer will be accepted for each show in each of the three areas mentioned above, so apply now!



Application Deadline:

Applications are accepted up to 1 month before the arrival date of the show you would like to observe. If you would like to apply later, please contact Erin Lafferty at 860.873.8664 x521 or elafferty@goodspeed.org  to inquire if space is available.

If you would like to apply after the deadline, please contact Erin Lafferty at 860.873.8664 x521 or elafferty@goodspeed.org to check availability.

The total registration fee is $2500. A $400 deposit is due when you submit your application. If you are not accepted, your deposit will be refunded in full. If you are accepted, your deposit will be deducted from the total registration fee. The deposit will not be refunded for any reason once you have been accepted. To pay the deposit with a credit card, please call Erin Lafferty at 860.873.8664 x521 or elafferty@goodspeed.org . If you prefer to pay by check, please make the check payable to "The Goodspeed Opera House Foundation." Checks should be mailed to Goodspeed Musical Theatre Institute, Attn: Erin Lafferty, PO Box A, East Haddam, CT 06423. The remaining balance of the registration fee is due one week after you have been accepted. Housing on the Goodspeed Musicals campus is included in the registration fee.


  1. Application deposits will only be refunded if you are not accepted into the program. Once accepted, your application deposit will be deducted from the total registration fee. If you should withdraw your participation for any reason, your registration fee may be refunded as follows: (a) Full refund for withdrawals made prior to 4 weeks before a program begins; (b) 50% refund for withdrawals made prior to 2 weeks before a program begins; or (c) No refund for withdrawals made within 2 weeks of a program beginning. Goodspeed reserves the right to change this policy at its sole discretion.
  2. The application process may involve multiple phone interviews.
  3. The show and rehearsal schedules at both theatres are subject to change. If you are accepted as an observer for a show and the dates need to change, we will inform you as early as possible. If you are unavailable during the new dates, you will not be required to remain on the Goodspeed campus.
  4. Goodspeed reserves the right to terminate an observership at any time for any reason. If Goodspeed deems that an observership needs to be terminated, the observer will receive a prorated refund and will be expected to leave the Goodspeed campus within 72 hours.

If you have any questions, please contact Erin Lafferty at 860.873.8664 x521 or elafferty@goodspeed.org.


The Goodspeed
Observers should expect to be on the Goodspeed Musicals campus for about 33 days, from the Welcome Dinner through the Sunday after the first performance.

  • The Will Rogers Follies: March 12 to April 15, 2018 
  • Oliver!: May 29 to July 1, 2018
  • The Drowsy Chaperone: August 20 to September 23, 2018

The Terris Theatre
Observers should expect to be on the Goodspeed Musicals campus for one month, from the Welcome Dinner through a week after the first performance.

  • You Are Here: April 23 to May 24, 2018
  • A Connecticut Christmas Carol: October 29 to November 22, 2018


"My time at Goodspeed was one I will always remember. It was a wonderful experience and I feel honored to have been given the opportunity. Working on a new musical was an experience like no other in theatre. It was magical. It was frustrating. It was inspiring. It was fresh. It was new! Hunter Foster was an exceptional director with a great vision. Learning from him and his AD was the best! I highly recommend this program for any and all aspiring directors at any level in their career. I am so inspired by my time there and Goodspeed will always have a special place in my heart."
-August Garritano, Executive Director, Performing Arts Workshops

"The Goodspeed Directing Observership Program is a valuable educational experience for any current directing student, beginning professional, or seasoned director, and particularly for those whose credits and interests are primarily in the area of musical theatre. As a university directing and performance teacher who spent a few years in regional theatre but most of his creative life in academic settings, I wanted to refresh my knowledge of how a well-established professional organization runs and observe the creative process of putting together a developmental production of a new musical. The Directing Observership Program provides an excellent opportunity to gain valuable insight from members of the visiting artistic team and the Goodspeed staff into all areas of production and management. The atmosphere is welcoming and supportive and I found everyone connected with A Sign of the Times to be accessible and willing to include me in discussions, meetings, and various tasks when appropriate.  There are numerous and obvious benefits to the program for anyone who is beginning or in the middle of their professional directing careers, but I encourage those in academia who are seeking a quality professional development opportunity to consider applying. I know that when I return to the classroom this fall, I will draw upon the experience in ways that I am unable to predict at this time. I also know that the professional, artistic, and personal aspects of my life have all been enriched by my time at the Goodspeed."
-Kenneth Risch, Directing Observer (Professor of Theatre at Utah State University)

"The Observership Program at Goodspeed allowed me so many opportunities I had not realized were possible. Under the Music Direction Observership, I began my first week in the rehearsal studio behind the piano, watching the music director accompany throughout. As I had seen this kind of production process before, I became interested in the other responsibilities of the music department. I was allowed the opportunity to work under the Music Assistant as he taught me how to tape and bind music books for the musicians, how to program on a music software, and how to format orchestrations and music parts. This was the side of the production I didn’t know existed, and I wanted to learn all of its parts. Being allowed that opportunity made me feel like I was included and involved, and therefore, an active participant within my surroundings - something I wasn’t sure whether to expect from a program titled “observership.” But perhaps the most important part of this program was that I determined the value I got out of this experience. This program is truly what you make of it, with several supporting hands guiding you to any direction you are interested in going."
-Misao McGregor, Music Direction Observer

“A Goodspeed observership is a must for any aspiring director.”
-John Curtis, Directing Observer 

“It was an absolutely worth-while experience. People were very friendly at the Opera House and I felt like a part of the production.”
-Tom Xi, Music Direction Observer

“The program was a wonderful experience, and I would recommend it to any young director. Everyone at Goodspeed was generous and welcoming, and there’s so much to be learned from the high quality of work that gets produced there.”
-Andrew Willis-Woodward, Directing Observer 

“Goodspeed's Observership program was very exciting and eye opening for me. It gave me an insight into how the professional theatre industry really works, essentially having a backstage pass to most meetings and conversations throughout the rehearsal process. I know I also made several new contacts with which I can continue to grow and learn about the expectations and realities of working outside of an educational or community theatre setting. This was a fantastic experience that helped me discover an excitement to be where all of these professionals were.”
-Cody Jordan, Directing Observer 

Read an article published in Theatre Topics journal written by a participant in Goodspeed’s Observership ProgramTheatre Topics is an official publication of  the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE).

Housing & Transportation

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 Goodspeed Musicals The MAx Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre