Lifting the Curtain

A fiery redhead. A grieving son. A gregarious family on the Rock. The musical pull of the Atlantic. A young woman’s search for family. Sit a spell. Have we got a story for you! Confederation Centre has announced the playbill for The Charlottetown Festival–the largest musical theatre festival in Atlantic Canada.

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Sponsored by CIBC, the Festival will commence June 28 with the much anticipated return of Kronborg–The Hamlet Rock Musical. This original Canadian work has become a cult favourite for Islanders who recall the 1975 production starring Brent Carver and Beverly D’Angelo. This remains the only production in the history of the Festival to be produced on Broadway.

Based on the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet, originally written by Cliff Jones, this musical rocked the rafters in 2017, selling out a concert presentation at the Historic St. Mary’s Church in Indian River and later packing the Homburg Theatre. Next summer’s fully realized production will weave the story of a prince who plots revenge on his uncle for taking his beloved father’s life.

Festival favourite and Island son Aaron Hastelow, coming off rave reviews as the lead in this season’s Jesus Christ Superstar, will return to star as Hamlet next year. Additional major casting information will be revealed later this fall, when the Centre offers a ‘Buy-1-Get-1’ sale for a limited time only, from November 17 to December 1. The Festival will also announce production information on the 2019 Confederation Centre Young Company.

The Festival’s crown jewel Anne of Green Gables–The Musical™ will return for its 55th consecutive summer, a testament to the global appeal of a classic inspired by a classic. This enduring story of an orphan girl who came from away and changed the Island forever will run June 29 to September 28.

A mother, a daughter, three possible dads, and a trip down the aisle you’ll never forget! Back to the Centre by popular demand, it’s Mamma Mia! This sunny ABBA-driven tale follows a daughter’s quest to find her father by inviting three men from her mother’s past to her wedding. Presented as a co-production with the Grand Theatre in London, Mamma Mia! will play on P.E.I. from August 9 to September 28.

Over at The Mack, the Festival is thrilled to welcome Tara MacLean’s Maritime love-letter, Atlantic Blue. This celebration of East Coast songwriters previously played at The Guild, and will show from August 2 to September 28. MacLean explores the place and people behind classic songs like ‘Sonny’s Dream’, ‘Put Your Hand in the Hand’, ‘Fare Thee Well Love’, and more. The Island songwriter celebrates those who found a way to create beauty from the challenging experiences in their own lives. With the addition of members of the Festival and its orchestra, this new production will make every Atlantic Canadian proud.

From July 20 through September 28, Spinning Yarns will shine a light on Newfoundland and Labrador in the early ‘80s: a world of raucous adventures, death defying escapades, and dubious childcare! This hilarious evening of story and song stars festival favourite, Stephen Guy-McGrath (Evangeline, Million Dollar Quartet). Through it all shines a fierce love of family and a boundless longing for home.

The Centre wishes to acknowledge the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Government of P.E.I., and the City of Charlottetown for their continued support. Media sponsors are The Guardian, Hot 105.5, Ocean 100, and CTV.

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A Rock Opera for the Ages

A struggle between people in power and exploring the choices that define a person’s character and their future..Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera that you’ll never forget.

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(Brendan Wall + Aaron Hastelow, Jesus Christ Superstar, Charlottetown Festival 2018)

Stars of Superstar

Complete casting has been announced for Jesus Christ Superstar at The 2018 Charlottetown Festival. The Adam Brazier-directed production will present his take on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s legendary rock opera.

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The 2018 cast is anchored by Festival newcomer Lee Siegel as Judas, with PEI’s Aaron Hastelow as Jesus Christ. Joining them as Mary Magdalene is another Festival newcomer Hailey Gillis. Other leads include Greg Gale as Caiaphas, Cameron MacDuffee as King Herod, Edward Murphy as High Priest, Brendan Wall as Pontius Pilate, Jacob MacInnis as Peter, Andrew McAllister as Simon Zealotes, and Tara Jackson as Annas.

This will be Lee’s fifth time performing in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar; his past performances have included a run on Broadway where he played Simon Zealotes the 2012 revival. The Niagara Falls, ON native is excited to play Judas again, this time for The Charlottetown Festival.

Jesus Christ Superstar has been a part of my life since I was a child and I’m thrilled to have the chance to step back into the shoes of Judas,” says Siegel. He goes on to say, “I have never been to PEI, so I’m looking forward to meeting the locals, experiencing the Island, and sharing in the excitement of the Festival. It’s an honour to be a part of such a prestigious Canadian theatre company, and I hope it’s the start of many seasons to come.”

Gillis will make her debut to the Festival as Mary Magdalene. The Grimsby, ON native is no stranger to the stage, having performed in all major theatres across Canada including several seasons with Soulpepper.

A global phenomenon that has wowed audiences for over 40 years, Jesus Christ Superstar is a timeless rock opera set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally known series of events seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Appreciation is extended to the title sponsor for The 2018 Charlottetown Festival, CIBC. Media sponsors are Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, and The Guardian. The musical is sponsored by Tim Hortons. Show opens on June 7 in the Homburg Theatre.

Shouting Out Bouey and Hastelow

January 6, 2018 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm at The Guild.
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After three consecutive years of sold-out performances, Michelle Bouey and Aaron Hastelow are coming home to PEI to present an all-new night of music this January 6th at The Guild. Join these well-known best friends as they share not only their voices but their stories.

Reserved seating, so book fast!

A New Superstar

Confederation Centre of the Arts is pleased to announce that Island treasure, Aaron Hastelow will play the role of Jesus Christ in The 2018 Charlottetown Festival production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

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Jesus Christ Superstar is one of the most iconic and revered pieces in the musical theatre canon, and Jesus is easily the most iconic and revered name in history,” says Hastelow. “Being trusted to tell this story is a responsibility I don’t take lightly, and I’m honoured to have the opportunity.”

Hastelow has spent several summers at the Centre, including roles in Mamma Mia!, Ring of Fire, Anne of Green Gables-The Musical™, and with the Young Company. Since the summer, Hastelow has been busy promoting his self-titled EP which is nominated for two 2018 Music PEI Awards; New Artist of the Year and Pop Recording of the Year. He is currently performing in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Theatre Aquarius in Ontario. In spring 2018, he will play the role of Bert in Mary Poppins at The Capitol Theatre in Moncton alongside festival regulars, Josée Boudreau and Glenda Landry.

In 2015 Hastelow made history, becoming the first native Islander to play the romantic lead of Gilbert Blythe since Anne of Green Gables-The Musical™ came to life in 1965. After two seasons of playing Avonlea’s sweetheart, school is out for Hastelow as he takes on this larger-than-life role.

He ends by saying, “I can’t wait to get into the rehearsal hall with our astounding cast and brilliant creative team to discover this man for myself and to share the love and compassion he fought so hard for.”

Stay tuned for more exciting news as this is the first of several cast announcements for The Charlottetown Festival’s 2018 season.

Jesus Christ Superstar opens June 7 and runs until September 22. Appreciation is extended to the title sponsor for The 2018 Charlottetown Festival, CIBC. Media sponsors are Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, and The Guardian.

Kronborg Coming Home

Kronborg is coming home. After a sold-out performance at Indian River in July, Confederation Centre is pleased to announce an encore concert performance of Kronborg 1582 – coming home to the Centre for one night only. The rock opera starring P.E.I.’s Aaron Hastelow as Hamlet will be presented on September 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Homburg Theatre.

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This performance also marks the kickoff to The Charlottetown Festival Theatre Conference, September 5 to 9 . There will be a tickets pre-sale for members as of tomorrow, Tuesday August 8. Tickets for general public will be available as of Wednesday August 9. Tickets are also available as included in Festival Theatre Conference pass.

Tickets are available at the Confederation Centre Box Office at 130 Queen Street, online, in person, or via phone at 1.800.565.0278 (toll free) or 902.566.1267.

Kronborg features a Festival ensemble and orchestra of more than 30 performers from Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ and Glenda’s Kitchen. The Festival’s Associate Artistic Director, Mary Francis Moore directed the production and musical direction is from Craig Fair.

The production rocked the rafters at the Historic St. Mary’s Church in Indian River on July 28, playing to a sold out house. The Buzz reviewed that show calling it “Spectacular…impressive… left people on their feet literally screaming for more!” With that magic in the air, producers felt Island audiences deserved a chance to see the Festival classic back where it all began — on the main stage.

Based on the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet, the rock opera was originally produced by Confederation Centre in 1975, starring Brent Carver and Beverly D’Angelo, and went on to play on Broadway. The musical was created by Cliff Jones and was originally commissioned by the CBC. It tells the story of a Danish prince who plots revenge on his uncle for killing his father.

 This concert performance replaces the originally scheduled concert performance of The House of Martin Guerre at this time, which is unable to be presented this season to unforeseen events.

Special thanks are extended to the Government of Canada for their support of Confederation Centre; and The Charlottetown Festival sponsor, CIBC. Appreciation is extended to media sponsors Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, CTV, and The Guardian.

Kronborg 1582 at Indian River

In celebration of one of the Festival’s most successful ever musicals Confederation Centre will revisit Kronborg 1582 this month, presenting a concert performance at the world-renowned Historic St. Mary’s Church in Indian River on Friday, July 28.

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Based on the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet, the rock opera was produced by Confederation Centre in 1975, starring Brent Carver and Beverly D’Angelo, and went on to play on Broadway. The rock musical was created by Cliff Jones and was originally commissioned by the CBC. It tells the story of a Danish prince who plots revenge on his uncle for killing his father.

On Friday July 28 at 7:30 p.m., members of The 2017 Charlottetown Festival Ensemble and Orchestra will deliver a concert performance of Kronborg at the W.C. Harris-built Indian River Church, marking an exciting collaboration between two iconic Island summer events: the Indian River Festival and The Charlottetown Festival.

The concert performance will star P.E.I.’s own Aaron Hastelow as Hamlet, Cam MacDuffee as Claudius, Kristen Pottle as Ophelia, and Alana Hibbert as Gertrude. Additional casting includes George Masswohl as Polonius, Connor Lucas as Laertes, Eric Dahlinger as Horatio, Evan Taylor Benyacar as Marcellus, Robbie Graham-Kuntz as Rosencrantz, Adam Sergison as Guildenstern, Glenda Landry as Honeybelle, Hank Stinson as Sexton/Ghost, and Susan Henley as the M.C. Additional cast members from the Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ company will complete the Kronborg chorus.

Kronborg: 1582 is directed by the Festival’s Associate Artistic Director, Mary Francis Moore and musically directed by Craig Fair. Tickets are available at indianriverfestival.com, at the Indian River Festival box office at Historic St. Mary’s Church, 1374 Hamilton Road (12-5 p.m. daily), or via phone, at 1-866-856-3733.

Special thanks are extended to the Government of Canada for their support of Confederation Centre;  and The Charlottetown Festival sponsor, CIBC. Appreciation is extended to media sponsors Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, CTV, and The Guardian.