Connecticut musical theater organization builds homes for actors

December 23, 2011 11:25AM

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Goodspeed Opera House
Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, Conn. has added 17 homes in an “artists’ village” for its actors as a way to draw better talent, produce more shows and run them for a longer period, according to the New York Times and Goodspeed’s website. In addition, the $5.5 million project is expected to be a boon for the village.

The new environmentally friendly homes allow the company to put visiting actors up in houses that are more like hotels, with bedrooms and adjoining baths, kitchens and shared living and dining areas, rather than in the nine older homes it owns in East Haddam Village. The higher up the person is in the food chain, the better the digs he or she gets, the Times said. The homes range from three- and six-bedroom houses for actors to town houses for directors and choreographers. The homes are all in walking distance to the Goodspeed Opera House, its website says.

“We built this with the same philosophy as for our productions,” said Dan McMahon, Goodspeed’s director of marketing. “Make it the best you possibly can, and it will stand the test of time.”

At the same time, the non-profit theater will divest itself of its older homes, which are contiguous to a town redevelopment site.

The state Department of Economic and Community Development awarded Goodspeed a $2.5 million grant to start the project, and Goodspeed has raised almost all of the remaining $3 million. Theater-goers are being asked to pay for furnishings, bedding and appliances for the houses. That way, “people at all levels of giving can have a part in the project,” said Elisa Hale, the public relations manager. [NYT]