Festival Completes Casting of Mamma Mia!

It’s an early start to the season for the cast and crew of The Charlottetown Festival. Rehearsals kicked off last week for the P.E.I. theatre event of the year — Mamma Mia!, opening June 1 in the Homburg Theatre.

Complete casting has been announced for the mega-musical, which stars Eliza-Jane Scott and Katie Kerr as a mother and daughter on the eve of Sophie’s wedding. Sophie (Kerr) wants her father to give her away, and having read her mother Donna’s diary, secretly invites three guests to the wedding, bringing back three men from Donna’s past to the paradise they last visited 20 years ago. The three gents are: Irish-American architect Sam Carmichael (Réjean Cournoyer), Australian adventurer Bill Anderson (Stephen Guy-
McGrath), and British banker Harry Bright (Cam MacDuffee).

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Local audiences are acquainted with all three, with Guy-McGrath appearing as the fiddle-playing René in last fall’s Evangeline and Cournoyer playing the villainous Hampson in that show as well as the White King in Alice Through the Looking-Glass. MacDuffee starred in Ring of Fire and Dear Johnny Deere, and toured with Cournoyer for the Centre’s 2015 production, The Founding Father.

Sophie’s husband-to-be, the loyal and handsome Sky, played by David Cotton (Baptiste in the world premiere of Evangeline), while Donna’s two best friends are brought to life by Jan Alexandra Smith and Nicola Dawn Brook. For the full Mamma Mia! cast list, see addendum.

For a limited time only, the Festival is offering 20% off performances in the month of June. Use promo code ABBA when contacting the box office online, in person, or via phone. This offer runs from May 21 to 28, applies to Tier-1 and 2 seating only, and is not valid with any other promotion.

“I have seen a lot of theatre in my short 41 years,” says Artistic Director, Adam Brazier. “Never have I seen a party and celebration the likes of Mamma Mia! This show redefined the modern musical and set in motion the success of other jukebox hits like Jersey Boys, We Will Rock You, and Ring of Fire. This pop fable leaves the audience laughing and dancing in the aisles. Somewhere in the crowd there’s you. Join us on a nostalgic journey through the guiltiest pleasure of the summer.” Brazier is joined by Bob Foster, musical director, and Kerry Gage, choreographer.

Mamma Mia! opens June 1 and plays until September 3.

The complete cast in alphabetical order is:

Jak Baradell – Ensemble
Josée Boudreau – Ensemble
Nicola Dawn Brook – Rosie
David Cotton – Sky
Réjean Cournoyer – Sam
Josh Doig – Male Swing
Jessica Gallant – Ensemble
Troy Goldthorp – Pepper
Robbie Graham-Kuntz – Ensemble
Stephen Guy-McGrath – Bill
Aaron Hastelow – Ensemble
Kayla James – Ensemble (U/S Sophie)
Aisha Jarvis – Lisa
Katie Kerr – Sophie
Melissa Kramer – The Priest
Cameron MacDuffee – Harry
Jamie Murray – Ensemble
Sarah O’Brecht – Ali
Jade Percival – Female Swing
Eliza-Jane Scott – Donna
Adam Sergison – Eddie
Jan Alexandra Smith – Tanya
Sarah Vance – Ensemble

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Luisa Marshall Brings Thunderdome to Summerside

Luisa Marshall is “Simply The Best” and her Canada-wide PTSD Awareness Tour HOPE BEYOND THUNDERDOME TOUR 2016 comes to the Harbourfront Theatre on Thursday, May 26th at 7:30 pm.

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Years ago, Luisa performed for the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in a grueling show tour that included war-torn Bosnia, Sarajevo and later the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Israel and Egypt. The most requested song on both tours was ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’. Marshall wanted to add meaning to her tour so she chose her passion concerning the PTSD concerns with the Canadian Military and Firemen.

Luisa Marshall has appeared on Oprah twice and recently made a special appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show to a 25-second standing ovation.

Join us for an evening of Tina Turner classics and help bring awareness for Military and Firemen living with PTSD.

From Art to the Arts, and Musicals, Too

The massive complex in the heart of Charlottetown might seem a tiny bit intimidating on first glance – imposing architecture, a full city block, four large sandstone cubes. But once you’ve stepped onto the property of Confederation Centre of the Arts, you soon sense the people-friendly atmosphere that permeates this cultural centre that is officially Canada’s memorial to the founding fathers. Visitors enjoy ice cream and a live brass quintet, families crowd into the amphitheatre for a rousing (and free) noontime show by a corps of young “triple threats,” and culture buffs study public works of art.

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Venture inside and the fun continues. Newly opened in 2015 is “The Story of Confederation,” a startlingly realistic replica (also free) of the original Confederation Chamber, where the 1864 Charlottetown Conference discussions led to the creation of a country. The original chamber in Province House next door is currently closed for conservation work, but the first-rate film and interpretation provide a full and entertaining explanation of nation building Canadian style. For more on Confederation, visitors take in a vignette or walking tour with the Confederation Players, easily recognized by their warm wool suits and charming gowns – really the only folks around town wearing top hats and carrying fluttering fans.

Stepping across the pavilion and into Confederation Centre Art Gallery, you find yourself in a completely new setting, surrounded by contemporary art exhibits and historical artifacts. The exhibits extend from the four upstairs galleries into the lower concourse of the complex, and the classic Brutalist-style architecture of the 1964 building protects the treasure trove of culture within, but a pleasant surprise in the partly underground hallways is the beautiful light-filled, marble-clad space called Memorial Hall, where the founding of Canada is officially commemorated.

It’s not possible to leave Confederation Centre without taking in some live theatre. The Charlottetown Festival is noted for its first-class Canadian musicals, most famously for Guinness-record setting Anne of Green Gables – The Musical™, in 2016 running alongside the blockbuster Mamma Mia! and Soulpepper’s latest success Spoon River. With tickets in hand, fully inspired by visual art and historical anecdotes, it seems a perfect moment to settle at a table in Mavor’s courtyard – the finest outdoor dining in the city – with dinner and a drink before the show.

Art for Music, Space and Time

Art for Music is a celebration of achievement in the visual arts and media. The performance at The Guild will feature four young, up-and-coming Island artists: Jenna Cyr, Angelina MacKinnon, Julia Dunn, and Emma Doucette. Art for Music is happening on Thursday, May 19th, at 7:30pm.

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During the event, Music PEI will be presenting industry awards for Media Person of the Year and Visual Artist of the Year. This year’s nominees for Media Person of the Year are: Blair Arthur Dewar, Karen Mair, Mikey Wasnidge, Todd Maclean.

The 2016 nominees for Visual Artist of the Year are: Sandy Kowalik, Ryan Hutchinson (Visual Communicator), sixeyedcatprintco.

The Gallery at The Guild will feature an exhibit with work from the Visual Artist nominees.

Admission is by donation.

Here Come the Fiddlers

The fiddlers are coming, the fiddlers are coming – from all across the Island to perform in PEI Fiddlers in Concert at Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside on National Fiddle Day, May 21, 2016.

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PEI Fiddlers in Concert is a unique opportunity to see and hear so many of your famous and favorite fiddlers and their tunes, including highlighting our most proficient fiddlers and stepdancers.

A great fun evening for the whole family to enjoy the young and old who carry on the great island tradition of fiddle playing. And we insist on clapping and toe tapping!!

A Musical Mess Up at the Guild

An obsession with Debbie Harry of Blondie turns awkward during a meeting after a concert. The sweet and sour notes of a father teaching his daughter how to play guitar. A musical mess up at a small town beauty pageant nets a prize. Do musical tastes predict compatibility in love?

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Seven people will share how music has helped shape their lives in ‘Playlist’: Dave Atkinson, Laurie Brinklow, Lindsay Carroll, Laura Chapin, Gordon Cobb, Lori Mayne and Dave Stewart.

“I ran a similar show in Prince Rupert, BC for three years when I was living out there,’ says ‘Playlist’ producer and participant Laura Chapin. ‘It became a very popular event that I was sure would work here.” The main difference with the PEI monologue show is that a theme focused around music has been added, giving the program a through line and a subject for the participants to work with.

“Our first read -throughs were such a delight, with one piece echoing another in small but surprising ways,’ says Chapin. ‘I think everyone came away from the rehearsal feeling pretty excited. We can’t wait to share this show. And I think people will come away from this show thinking about what music has meant to their lives too.”

Proceeds from the 90-minute show on May 14 at 8 PM will go to support PEI Literacy Allianceʼs Summer Tutoring Program for Kids

Raffi Brings Baby Beluga to PEI

Raffi is a singer, songwriter, producer, author, lecturer, and tireless advocate for children. He is best known for his work as a children’s entertainer whose string of gold and platinum-selling recordings in North America includes his classic song, “Baby Beluga”.

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Once called “the most popular children’s singer in the English-speaking world” (Washington Post) and “Canada’s all time children’s champion” (Toronto Star), Raffi is also a recipient of the Order of Canada and the United Nations’ Earth Achievement Award.

He has never advertised to children or made any commercial endorsements. His commitment to treating his young fans with respect changed society’s outlook on music made for children.

In 2010, Raffi founded The Centre for Child Honouring on Salt Spring Island, BC. With the motto “Respecting Earth & Child,” the Centre is at the heart of a global movement that views honouring children as the best way to create sustainable, peacemaking societies.

Don’t miss RAFFI and his Beluga Grads Concert LIVE at the Confederation Centre for the Arts on May 15th at 2 PM! Sing along to your favourites like Baby Beluga, Down By The Bay, Bananaphone and many more !

Proceeds benefit The Centre for Child Honouring.