Category Archives: On Stage

Leah Goes Laura, and More

Leah Pritchard who first graced the stage of the Watermark Theatre as the plain spinster, Lizzie, in “The Rainmaker”, and then demonstrated her considerable acting range as the elegant Alais in “The Lion in Winter”, Peter and Balthazar in “Romeo and Juliet”, and the vibrant and witty Mabel Chiltern in “An Ideal Husband”, is returning for her third season with the Watermark Theatre. This summer, Leah will play one of the great roles of the 20th century theatre, Laura in “The Glass Menagerie”, along with the dual roles of Edith and Mrs. Bradman in “Blithe Spirit”.

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Leah is an actor rooted in the Atlantic region. Born in Nova Scotia and educated in Newfoundland, Leah earned her BFA in acting at Memorial University. Her acting credits include stints with the Gros Morne Theatre Festival, and Hard Ticket Productions in Newfoundland; Neptune Theatre, The Villain’s Theatre, Us vs. Them Theatre Collective in Nova Scotia; and of course the Watermark, where critics have said of her: “Leah Pritchard is really great at tuning in to the right emotional channel…” (The Rainmaker–The Buzz); “Oscar Wilde could not have hoped for a more expressive face or better comedic instincts than Pritchard’s” (An Ideal Husband–The Buzz).

Leah is a member of the award-winning Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble of Halifax, and sang on their debut album, “Here On These Branches”. She is also a teaching assistant for Neptune Theatre’s youth theatre workshops, and has helped lead Watermark Theatre’s youth Acting Conservatory the past two years. Next month, Leah will be appearing as Bessie in DMV Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Drowning Girls”, at Neptune Theatre.

The Watermark is delighted to have Leah back for the 2016 summer season.

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From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary

The Charlottetown Festival is hosting a special play reading on Thursday, March 24, at 7:30 PM in the Confederation Centre Art Gallery to mark World Theatre Day.

The free public reading is of Stories From the Quilt, directed and adapted by Marlane O’Brien from the story collection, as well as And My Name Is…Stories From The Quilt by Island writer, Margie Carmichael. The animated play reading will feature O’Brien, Artistic Director Adam Brazier, Donnie MacPhee, Melissa Mullen, Julie Pellissier-Lush, and others.

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Stories From the Quilt follows four short stories focusing on ordinary women with extraordinary skills, gifts, and strengths. They live next door or far away, shadowed by fear or absence of recognition. Each of these Island-centred tales balances humour and pathos, featuring a different lead – Tansie, Anna, Flora, and Olivia – and exploring themes of survival, forgiveness, and renewal. Led by O’Brien, a long-time Charlottetown Festival favourite, the script was workshopped last summer as part of the Festival development series with a group of notable performers from across Canada, including Jay Davis, Bruce Dow, Natasha Greenblatt, and Jan Alexandra Smith.

Created in 1961 by UNESCO, World Theatre Day is marked annually by theatre communities worldwide. It celebrates the power of theatre as an indispensable bridge-builder for mutual international understanding and peace and promotes and protects cultural diversity and identity.

Flying Boy Peter Pan and Aladin, Too

The Magical Journey, presented by Tohu-Bohu Productions, comes to the Harbourfront Theatre on Friday, March 18, at 7 PM

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A magical musical adventure in the heart of the fairy-tale world, featuring the most famous characters of all time. Along with Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Jasmine, Aladin and Peter Pan, the whole family will travel to an imaginary and enchanted world of song and dance.

The six characters will perform hits such as Hakuna Matata, Beauty And The Beast, A Whole New World, and many others, all in a beautiful setting!

For ticket information and purchases, please visit https://themagicaljourneyshow.com or call 1-855-251-6107. Tickets for this special engagement are not available at the box office or through Ticket Pro.

Family Affair

Island native, Bryde MacLean, was born to play the role of Ruth in Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit.” Her mother, veteran Charlottetown actor Sharlene MacLean, was pregnant with Bryde when she stage managed a production of the play at The Confederation Centre in 1984. Her father, the well-known Island actor Bill McFadden, starred as Charles Condomine in that same production. (A side note: the production was directed by Ron Irving and also starred Cathy Grant, Laurel Smyth, Martha Irving, and Deb Allen)

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With this lineage, Bryde was clearly destined for the stage. Encouraged by teachers at Kensington High School, trained at the Summerside School of Dance, Bryde went on to Ryerson University in Toronto, completing the four-year acting program in 2011. Bryde appeared as Anne at Avonlea Village and was invited to bring the Island’s favourite red-head to Barbados, appearing as Anne at the High Commissioner’s Canada Day Celebrations. Island audiences saw Bryde at The Confederation Centre last summer in “Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad”. She recently completed some film and media projects with Island-based Tiny Town Media, and can be seen in season 2 of the television series “Just Passing Through.”

This summer, while Bryde is playing Ruth in “Blithe Spirit,” at the Watermark Theatre, her husband Jeremie Saunders will be playing Owen in “The Melville Boys” at Victoria Playhouse, in Victoria-by-the Sea. Bryde also looks forward to the arrival of her sister, singer-songwriter Tara MacLean, who will open her new musical show “Open Road” (a celebration of Atlantic singer/songwriters) at the Harmony House on July 23rd and 24th.

For Bryde, the summer of 2016 on the Island will definitely be a “family affair.” There is nothing Bryde would rather do than be working in great theatre at home on the Island, and she is absolutely thrilled to be joining the company this summer on the Watermark Theatre stage.

 

Dancing Umbrellas at The Mack

The musical comedy Flapper! by dance umbrella is on tap this week at The Mack.

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A showcase for the Intermediate II and Senior Musical Theatre classes, this madcap adventure celebrates the Roaring 20’s in song and dance, following young flapper Polly Pepper in the era of mobsters, Ziegfeld girls, zoot suits, and the Charleston.

Show times are 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday March 12 at The Mack.

Cead Mile Failte, in Other Words

Watermark Theatre is delighted to bid Céad Míle Fáilte – A Hundred Thousand Welcomes – to Irish Director Alan Kinsella, who will be staging Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit for the 2016 Watermark Summer Season.

Mr. Kinsella is a native of County Wexford, Ireland, who began his career as an actor at the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and continued in Ireland as a director of plays such as “Dedalus Lounge”, “Decadence”, and “Angels in America”, as well as musicals such as “Victor/Victoria”, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, and “Singing in the Rain”.

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An accomplished director of the classical theatre, Mr. Kinsella has staged plays such as “Edward II”, “Henry IV”, “Major Barbara”, and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” In 2010, he made his Off‐Broadway debut, directing Stephen Berkoff’s “Lunch”. Above all, Mr. Kinsella has made himself a master of the works of Noel Coward, having directed Coward’s “Still Life”, “While We Were Dancing”, and “Ways and Means”, at the Civic Theatre in Dublin as well as the Coward musical reviews “Marvelous Party”, and “Noel and Cole”.

Mr. Kinsella settled in Canada in 2013 and over the past three years has directed more than 20 Canadian productions in Toronto including “The Woman in Black”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Hair”, and “Anything Goes”.

In the hands of an experienced and able director – and one with such an extensive background in Coward’s works – the Watermark Theatre production of Blithe Spirit promises to deliver all the wit, dazzle and spark which marks the comedy of one of modern theatre’s great playwrights.

 

Cast of Spoon River Surfaces

Confederation Centre will play host to one of the most celebrated new musicals in Canada this summer. Today, the Centre announced an impressive 11-member ensemble for Spoon River, a mystical, musical celebration of life, co-produced by Soulpepper Theatre Company and The Charlottetown Festival.

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Playing The Mack cabaret theatre from July 6 to August 20, this uplifting hootenanny is composed and adapted by Charlottetown’s own Mike Ross and directed by Albert Schultz. The cast features a who’s who of Canadian musical theatre, including eight Charlottetown Festival veterans. They are:

Alana Bridgewater – Hairspray, Mirvish’s We Will Rock You, Gemini-nominated vocalist

Matt Campbell – lead in The Full Monty and Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad, Canada ROCKS!

Jonathan Ellul – Forever Plaid, King Lear and Oklahoma! at Stratford Festival

Susan Henley – ‘Rachel Lynde’ in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical, Evangeline, Hairspray! 1st U.S. National tour

Amanda LeBlanc – lead in Dear Johnny Deere, 2016 National Arts Centre Ensemble

Mary Francis Moore – co-writer of Bittergirl and Bittergirl-The Musical, lead in TPM’s The Thing Between Us

Alicia Toner – Evangeline, lead in the Centre’s Cinderella, Mirvish’s Once

Sandy Winsby – four seasons as ‘Matthew’ in Anne, Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway, Mirvish’s Kinky Boots

The ensemble also features three Soulpepper Theatre Company regulars marking their first performances with Charlottetown:

Richard Lam – Spoon River world premiere, The Crucible and Of Human Bondage

Brendan Wall – Spoon River world premiere, War Horse for Mirvish and London’s West End,  Mirvish’s Once

Daniel Williston – Soulpepper’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Death of a Salesman, Mirvish’s Kinky Boots

Based on the seminal Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, townsfolk of long ago are brought to life in this dream-like production whose soundtrack calls to mind the music of O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Spoon River’s residents raise their voices in song in an immersive portrait of early 20th-century rural life. The production won the 2015 Dora Award for Outstanding New Musical as well as the 2015 Toronto Theatre Critics’ Association Award for Best Musical.

Mike Ross is thrilled to bring this production to his home province. “Spoon River is a show dear to my heart, and I think that Charlottetown is the perfect place to tell these incredible stories about small town living, and love and loss,” he said. “I know this very talented cast will make the show an unforgettable musical and theatrical experience this summer.”