Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 9, 2022

REVIEW: Goodspeed Opera House, "Anne of Green Gables"

Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam, CT
through September 4, 2022
By Samantha & Susan Choquette

Goodspeed’s world-premiere production of the musical "Anne of Green Gables" is a fun, light-hearted show perfect for children, not to mention their adult chaperones. Goodspeed's angle on the classic tale sustains the story's most essential parts while making it their own. The mix of modern elements, particularly the choreography and costume designs blend with the turn-of-the-19th century plot, creating a beautiful retelling of this loveable story. 

Juliette Redden stars in the lead role of Anne Shirley; her impeccable voice, is particularly splendid in the songs "Waiting" and "A Different Kind of Girl". The lyrics and music certainly bring Anne to life. We see a stubborn, smart, and won’t take 'no' for an answer young girl in Act I. As Anne becomes more mature in Act II, Redden beautifully captures the essence of a young woman, grateful for what she learns about life. The direction of Act I seems to speed by yet with an even pace. The opposite is true in Act II.

Michelle Veintimilla as Diana Barry adds her beautiful voice and character to this story. Her is sure to be a fan favorite especially for the younger audience members. D.C. Anderson as Matthew Cuthbert adds a warm charm, unique to his role. "Honorable mentions" to Aurelia Williams (a spot-on comic), and Sharon Catherine Brown (a heart-wrenching singer) for their showstopping performances. 

With music by Matt Vinson and lyrics by Matte O’Brien, are light, witty, at times emotional, and contagious, like a worm in your head. Each actor has his/her moment to shine, whether it be a solo, duet, or a big showstopping number -- there are many. My personal favorites include "Different Kind of Girl," "Forever," and "Marilla’s Song". 

As a new production, there are a few aspects that I feel need some improvement. Although the relationship between Anne and Gil portrayed by a future star tenor Pierre Marais, are cute and develop throughout the production, it is never clear if this is meant to be a romantic connection or not.

For those who have yet to experience musicals at Goodspeed, its stage is quite small, and at some points feels unnecessarily crowded. Goodspeed's visually stunning house is a walk back in time, as is "Anne, the character and the actor, a vocal charm.