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By Special Arrangement with Rashad V. Chambers

Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical

By Special Arrangement with Rashad V. Chambers

Goodspeed by the River

AUG 4 - 29

Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical is an exuberant new musical with a tour-de-force performance by award-winning actor Laiona Michelle. From classical music prodigy to “High Priestess of Soul,” this story taps into the legend that is Nina Simone with an honest and powerful portrait of her rich life and her ultimate decline. Feel the passion, joy and pain of a woman adored by millions – then and now.

Age Rating: 15+ for some language
Run Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes (including an intermission)

Written & Conceived by Laiona Michelle
Music & Various Quotes Inspired by Nina Simone
Additional Materials by Devanand Janki
Lighting Design by Will Johnson
Costume Coordinator Mary Readinger
Wig Design by Earon D. Nealey
Sound Design by Jay Hilton
Music Supervisor Mark Fifer
Directed by Devanand Janki

Premiere Production Presented by George Street Playhouse, February 1, 2019.
David Saint, Artistic Director | Kelly Ryman, Managing Director

Developed by Live & In Color, Artistic Director Devanand Janki

Special thanks to Ari Fulton


PERFORMANCE CALENDAR

LGB Performance Calendar

TICKETS

All tickets are $45

Buy Tickets

or call 860.873.8668

Monday: 10am-2pm
Tuesday:
10am-5pm
Wednesday-Friday:
10am-7:30pm
Saturday-Sunday:
11am-7:30pm

VIEW SEATING CHART
IMPORTANT INFORMATION
  


ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Laiona MichelleLAIONA MICHELLE (WriterNina Simone) Springfield, MA native added writer to her resume with her double bill as writer and star of  Little Girl Blue, The Nina Simone Musical, which launched its world-premiere engagement at the George Street Playhouse on Feb 1, 2019. Most recently she has taken on the mantle of book writer, for Mandela, a new musical based on Nelson Mandela’s life; from his days as a leading activist against Apartheid, to his imprisonment and eventual release to become the nation’s President. Laiona Michelle began to gain national notoriety when she made her Broadway debut in 2015, in the musical, Amazing Grace, which opened at the Nederlander Theater. Cast in the principal role of Nanna, a woman stolen away from her family by slave traders, she delivers one of the stand out musical moments of the play.

Laiona credits William Shakespeare as the reason that she fell in love with theatre. As a child, she was taken to see a Shakespearean production and knew immediately, “This is what I want to do.” Since that time, she has been developing her skills as a writer, actress and singer, constantly working on expanding the full range of her natural vocal abilities.

Laiona Michelle is the recipient of the The NAACP Hollywood award, Barrymore and Carbonell Awards (2005, Constant Star). She was also nominated for the Helen Hayes Award (2005, Yellowman).

Before joining the cast of Amazing Grace, Laiona was part of the First National tour of The Book of Mormon. And prior to that, she had honed her skills, performing at some of the most renowned regional theatres in the United States including the Arena Stage, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals, Westport Country Playhouse and many more.

In addition to her stage work, Laiona has also made appearances on network and cable television in Showtime’s LiftABC’s All My ChildrenNBC’s Law & Order SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The BlacklistHBO’s Crashing, as well as on Amazon’s Sneaky Pete (Bryan Cranston and Giovanni Ribisi).

Laiona has also written several children’s plays/musicals for Dream Studios, a not-for-profit arts organization providing access to the performing arts, and located in her hometown of Springfield, MA.

As a writer, an actor, and a Black woman, Laiona believes in the importance of “owning our stories.” She champions the idea of breaking down stereotypes that would box her in or type cast her, therefore limiting her ability to grow.

Laiona Michelle resides in New York City. She is a graduate of Brandeis University (MFA), and did her undergraduate work at Alabama State University in Theatre Arts. She is the proud mother of 7 year old son, Rohan.
 
Mark FiferMARK FIFER (Music Supervisor/Arranger and Pianist) is a NYC-based Musical Director, Pianist, Vocal Coach, and Arranger/Orchestrator for Theatre, Film & TV, session and concert events. Currently, Music Supervisor of Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical. NYC & Regional: Rent, The Who’s Tommy, Side by Side by Sondheim, The Rocky Horror Show, Hello Again, Our Town, Tits Fisher with Kitten’s Kiss, Fame The Musical (Macao). Raised on the classics but specializing in Rock/Pop, R&B, Jazz and the American Songbook, Mark also serves as vocal coach to scores of Broadway and international performers. Musical Theatre Faculty at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Vocal Director for Carnival Cruise Lines. www.markfifer.com

Kenneth SaltersKENN SALTERS (Percussion) Born in New Haven, CT, and raised in Columbia, SC, Salters began his musical career on trombone for one year before switching to percussion and continuing on to pursuing his studies as a percussion major at the University of South Carolina. Since moving to New York in 2006, he has worked with luminaries in jazz and R&B including Leslie Odom Jr., Renee Elise Goldsberry, Joshua Henry, and the late Aretha Franklin. Salters, after nearly 15 years in his adoptive home of New York, finds himself often exiting the city on tour, discovering new worlds – a career twist that was only afforded to him by moving to NYC. 

Saadi ZainSAADI ZAIN (Bass) Based in New York city, bassist Saadi Zain is versed in a multitude of musical genres including jazz, classical, R&B, Pop, Latin jazz and world music. This versatility has made him a good fit for modern musical theater and he has played in numerous Broadway pits and National Tours. He has performed in many countries throughout the world, including a US State Department tour of Africa. Saadi also performs in media and commercials and can be seen in a music video by pop star Dua Lipa released earlier this year. Saadi is happy to be back performing in CT, where he studied at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT. For more information on where Saadi has played and with whom, visit his website at www.saadizain.com

Devanand JankiDEVANAND JANKI (Director) is an award-winning Director-Choreographer based in New York City, originally from Canada. He is the founder and artistic director of Live & In Color, whose mission is developing new plays and musicals that celebrate diversity, Theatreincolor.org. His prolific New York credits include the hit Off-Broadway show Zanna, Don’t! (Winner of the Lortel, Callaway, & GLAAD Media Awards), John Patrick Shanley’s Romantic Poetry for the Manhattan Theatre Club, The Yellow Brick Road (Callaway nom.), Junie B. Jones (Lortel nom.), Cupid & Psyche, Henry & Mudge (Lortel nom.), Skippyjon Jones (Lortel nom.), Shine! The Horatio Alger Musical (NYMF), This One Girl’s Story (Abingdon Theatre, GLAAD Media Award nom.), and Buddy’s Tavern (York Theater - Lab). Dev has combined his philanthropic skills with his Broadway prowess on such concerts as: HAIR with an all-star cast, featuring Jennifer Hudson (Grammy nom.), Funny Girl featuring 16 Fanny Brices, including Whoopi Goldberg, Bebe Neuwirth, and Jane Krakowski; Dreamgirls and Seth Rudetsky's Broadway 101, all for the Actors’ Fund, the entertainment industry’s largest charitable organization. He has also served nine years as an Artistic Associate for Broadway Bares, one of the largest fundraisers for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. His other notable credits include: Amahl and the Night Visitors, Babes in Toyland, Anything Goes in concert (assoc.) all for Lincoln Center. The Wings of Ikarus Jackson and Barrio Grrrl! (Helen Hayes nom., Kennedy Center); The hit show, Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical (George Street Playhouse); The Rocky Horror Show, Xanadu, the regional premiere of Rent (Hangar Theatre, SALT Award); How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back?, and Disney's Aladdin (Chicago Shakespeare); Andrew Lippa's Asphalt Beach (AMTP); Man of La Mancha (Maltz Jupiter Theatre); The Full Monty (Foothills Theatre); The Scarlet Pimpernel (Gateway Playhouse); the workshop of Lily (Huntington Theatre). TYA Tours: Martha Speaks, If You Give a Pig A Pancake, Fly Guy & Other Stories, Nate The Great, The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters, the Musical, and The Jack Sprat Low Fat World Tour. Dev has also worked internationally, creating One Man's Dream II for Tokyo Disney, as well as the Korean Premiere of Zanna, Don't!, and concerts for Japan's #1 Boy Band: Shonentai. Live Industrial credits include projects for: Carnival Cruise Lines, Coca-Cola, MAC Cosmetics, Benjamin Moore Paints and Dove. As a performer, Dev has appeared on Broadway in Miss Saigon, Cats, The King & I, Side Show, and tours of A Chorus Line and West Side Story. He is the Director of the Musical Theatre Division at The Stella Adler Studio of Acting. He is a frequent guest teacher and lecturer across the country where he continues to be a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the arts. www.devanandjanki.com! 
CONSTRUCTION ALERT: Route 149 in East Haddam Closed Starting July 6
Route 149 in East Haddam will be closed with detours for five weeks beginning July 6. The route will be closed to all traffic from River Boat Launch to Landing Hill Road from Mondays to Fridays, opened to traffic during weekends until the project is completed. A detour route will guide drivers onto Routes 82 and 151.
     
DEVANAND JANKI (Director, Little Girl Blue) s an award winning Director-Choreographer based in New York City, originally from Canada. He is the founder and artistic director of Live & In Color, whose mission is developing new plays and musicals that celebrate diversity. Theatreincolor.org. His prolific New York credits include the hit Off-Broadway show Zanna, Don’t! (Winner of the Lortel, Callaway, & GLAAD Media Awards), John Patrick Shanley’s Romantic Poetry for the Manhattan Theatre Club, The Yellow Brick Road (Callaway nom.), Junie B. Jones (Lortel nom.), Cupid & Psyche, Henry & Mudge (Lortel nom.), Skippyjon Jones (Lortel nom.), Shine! The Horatio Alger Musical (NYMF), This One Girl’s Story (Abingdon Theatre, GLAAD Media Award nom.), and Buddy’s Tavern (York Theater - Lab). Dev has combined his philanthropic skills with his Broadway prowess on such concerts as: HAIR with an all-star cast, featuring Jennifer Hudson (Grammy nom.), Funny Girl featuring 16 Fanny Brices, including Whoopi Goldberg, Bebe Neuwirth, and Jane Krakowski; Dreamgirls and Seth Rudetsky's Broadway 101, all for the Actors’ Fund, the entertainment industry’s largest charitable organization. He has also served nine years as an Artistic Associate for Broadway Bares, one of the largest fundraisers for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. His other notable credits include: Amahl and the Night Visitors, Babes in Toyland, Anything Goes in concert (assoc.) all for Lincoln Center. The Wings of Ikarus Jackson and Barrio Grrrl! (Helen Hayes nom., Kennedy Center); The hit show, Little Girl Blue - The Nina Simone Musical (George Street Playhouse); The Rocky Horror Show, Xanadu, the regional premiere of Rent (Hangar Theatre, SALT Award); How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back?, and Disney's Aladdin (Chicago Shakespeare); Andrew Lippa's Asphalt Beach (AMTP); Man of La Mancha (Maltz Jupiter Theatre); The Full Monty (Foothills Theatre); The Scarlet Pimpernel (Gateway Playhouse); the workshop of Lily (Huntington Theatre). TYA Tours: Martha Speaks, If You Give a Pig A Pancake, Fly Guy & Other Stories, Nate The Great, The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters, the Musical, and The Jack Sprat Low Fat World Tour. Dev has also worked internationally, creating One Man's Dream II for Tokyo Disney, as well as the Korean Premiere of Zanna, Don't!, and concerts for Japan's #1 Boy Band: Shonentai. Live Industrial credits include projects for: Carnival Cruise Lines, Coca-Cola, MAC Cosmetics, Benjamin Moore Paints and Dove. As a performer, Dev has appeared on Broadway in Miss Saigon, Cats, The King & I, Side Show, and tours of A Chorus Line and West Side Story. He is the Director of the Musical Theatre Division at The Stella Adler Studio of Acting. He is a frequent guest teacher and lecturer across the country where he continues to be a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the arts. www.devanandjanki.com

Run Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes including intermission
Age Rating: PG-13
Language Warning: Please note that this production contains some strong language
HERO WEDNESDAYS
In appreciation of all you've done to get us through the pandemic, we're offering a $5 discount to healthcare workers, first responders, teachers and frontline workers for any Wednesday Goodspeed by the River performance. Use code hero5 (Cannot be combined with any other offer - except Dinner Package. Two discounted tickets per party per event. Subject to availability.)

GELSTON DINNER PACKAGE - $69
Includes dinner at the Gelston House (right next to Goodspeed) and a ticket to a Wednesday or Thursday evening show. Please arrive at the Gelston House at 5:15pm. Call 860.873.8668 to purchase the Dinner Package. View Menu

Learn More about the show!

Writer's Notes  
Director's Vision

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