Bottled-up desire for live music will meet the most scenic theater setting in Connecticut Thursday, Aug. 20, when Goodspeed Musicals rolls out the first of a dozen outdoor concerts.

Featuring Broadway-inspired bluegrass quartet The Playbillies, the concerts will take place on the Goodspeed lawn overlooking the Connecticut River in East Haddam and feature songs, stories and music from familiar performers. Picnic baskets and lawn chairs are encouraged, with social distancing in place.

The Playbillies are musician-performers Andrew Crowe, Matt Cusack, Mike Rosengarten and Sam Sherwood. Motivated by their love of bluegrass music and Broadway classics, says a Goodspeed release, the group set out to “bluegrassify” every show tune they could — with a boisterous and fun result.

There’s nothing fun about the precautions during pandemic, however. Here’s the setup, even outdoors:

No physical tickets will be used. In order to minimize lines, ticket-buyers will be assigned a 15-minute arrival time window into the event area. Face masks are required at all times, except when seated in a designated seating area. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrances and at portable restrooms. All guests are asked to maintain a six-foot distance from other guests and Goodspeed staff at all times while attending the event. A complete list of audience guidelines, seating plan and event information can be found at goodspeed.org.

In addition, patrons must choose how many are in their designated seating area (4-by-6 feet for parties of four or less; 6-by-8 feet for parties of five or six). Each area will be 15 feet from other ones.

“We are proud to be performing at Goodspeed,” the Plabbillies shared in a release on the concerts, “especially because our very first bluegrass cover featured a tune that was born onstage in East Haddam. ... It’s a tune that bears a lot of weight during these times of quarantine and social distancing and it’s an adage we firmly believe in, ‘The sun will come out tomorrow!’ ”

Goodspeed’s Executive Director Michael Gennaro noted in the release that Goodspeed is unable to produce musical theater productions inside this year due to coronavirus restrictions so this is a pivot to something fun and special outdoors.

“We are thrilled to welcome our members and audience back to the Goodspeed campus for a joy-filled night of entertainment and fun. Goodspeed by the River concerts may be a new experience for our audiences but the quality of the musical performers on stage combined with the work of our dedicated staff in this glorious setting will be equal to the great performances Goodspeed has been known for.”

The concerts will take place Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6 p.m. through Sept 6, weather permitting.

All tickets are $25. Tickets went on sale to the public Aug. 11, available at 860-873-8668 or online at goodspeed.org. There’s also an outdoor dinner and concert package with a two-course meal and reserved table seating on the Gelston House lawn for just for $49 a person.

Connecticut Media Group