Tag Archives: 50th anniversary

Robinson Remembers The Fab Four 50 Years Ago In NYC

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BeatlesAs the world prepares to mark the weekend’s 50th anniversary of the Beatles visit to New York City and appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” one former well-known Connecticut disc jockey is remembering it better than most of us.

Former WDRC personality and founder/chairman of the Ct School of Broadcasting, Dick “Dicky” Robinson (on the right holding microphone) , was one of a handful of select broadcasters invited to attend the Beatles’ press conference at the St. George Hotel in New York in 1964.

After the press conference, he also met privately with the Fab Four. Also shown in the picture taken that day are Ed Sullivan and his recording crew, Movie Tone News reps, and Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager, shown in the photo’s background.

Goodspeed Celebrates Its Golden Anniversary

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ggala2ggala1Rita Gardner remembers the first time she performed at East Haddam’s Goodspeed Opera House.

“The show was “Lady,Lady,” said Gardner, who traveled from New York Monday to attend the theater’s 50th anniversary gala. “On opening night they were still putting the seats in.”

Gardner was among many performers who had great memories of the theater and were part of the sold-out crowd celebrating the anniversary of the theater and the productions they have enjoyed.   

“There are too many to list,” said actor Ronn Carroll, who appeared in many of those including “Carousel,” “Camelot,” “1776” and “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” “It is always a joy to perform at this theater,” he said. “There is a quality to the shows. They are as good as Broadway, only the theater is smaller.”  

Thggala3e historic white building on the edge of the Connecticut River was as decked out for the night as the guests were. The theater was wrapped in gold bunting with bouquets of gold balloons planted everywhere including the three tents used for the occasion. A special VIP reception at the adjacent Gelston House kicked off the night with gala chairs Marcia Kalayjian and Hila Rosen, and Goodspeed board president Fran Adams providing the welcomes.

Following dinner, there was a star-studded show with music from various musicals that have been featured at the theater over the past five decades, including Gardner singing “When the Ship Cones In” and an impromptu performance of “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” 

Aggala5 nostalgic Michael Price, who has been at the theater’s helm for 47 years was a bit nostalgic when he arrived, sporting a commemorative Goodspeed medallion on his lapel, one that he fashioned himself.  

“It was actually a bookmark we handed out once,” he said about the pressed golden metal rendition of the theater building. “I thought it would be nice to wear it tonight.”

And as far as his feelings on such a noteworthy night?

“It is sweet and wonderful,” said Price, who worked at the theater when it first opened, leaving and then returning again to begin his long tenure. “I can’t believe it’s been 50 years.”

For more pictures, go here.

Goodspeed Gets Off To A Memorable 50th Anniversay Season

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goodspeed5goodspeed6goodspeed7It was a trip down memory lane at the Goodspeed Friday and we aren’t just talking about the season opener” Good News” a 1927 Jerome Kern musical based on a book by Laurence Schwab and B.G. DeSylva.

It was a special season opening night, the one marking the start of the 50th anniversary of the East Haddam theater and it was done with style and lots of good stories about the “old” days.

Special guest for the evening was Ann Pretzat, and if anyone should know about the start of the Goodspeed, it is she. She was in its very first production in 1963, “Oh Lady, Lady.” “I was doing some singing and small things in New York City and was thrilled to get the call to be in the show here,” said the now 83-year-old who attended with Goodspeed supporter, Edward Cape. Pretzat recalled the production marked a return for famed dancer-turned-choreographer Paul Draper, whose career was sullied after he was accused of being a Communist and included on the Sen. Joe McCarthy’s infamous list of alleged Communist-sympathizers.

“Michael Price was a gofer at the theater then,” she said smiling as the now executive director stopped to chat. “That was before I was fired,” he said,” referring to a five –year “sabbatical” he took before taking over the reins at the landmark riverside theater.

Price made an unusual pre-curtain speech to the opening night crowd, lauding the people and shows that contributed to the success of the theater, and reading a 1963 telegram that called the theater opening “an occasion which should be hailed by all.” It was from then president, John F. Kennedy.

Also reminiscing about his decades at the theater was facilities manager Ed Blaschik, who started his career as an usher in 1972 and never looked back. “I was just looking for a high school job when I started here,” he said. “And then I just liked it here and stayed.”