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.

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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.

The New Anne Cast on Board the New Anne

Festival Casting: Full Company announced for 2017 AnneRevival
George Masswohl to play Matthew, Susan Henley as Marilla; Josée Boudreau as Miss Stacey
 
Complete casting has been announced for Anne of Green Gables—The Musicalat The Charlottetown Festival. The Adam Brazier-directed production is undergoing a major three-year revival, with new sets, costumes, sound design, even a new Green Gables house, and many more surprises to be unveiled over the next three summers. 
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The 2017 cast is anchored by AJ Bridel as Anne Shirley, with PEI’s Aaron Hastelow as her foil and sometimes love interest, Gilbert Blythe. Joining them as Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert are George Masswohl and Susan Henley. Other leads include Josée Boudreau as Miss Stacey, Marlane O’Brien as Rachel Lynde, Katie Kerr as Diana Barry, and newcomer to the Festival, Kelsey Falconer as Josie Pye. 
 
Sponsored by RE/MAX Charlottetown, the internationally acclaimed musical opens its 53rd season on June 26 in the Homburg Theatre. The Charlottetown Festival is sponsored by CIBC.
 
Masswohl is a five-time Dora Award nominee and a regular at Stratford and Shaw Festivals. He has performed across Canada with his baritone trio, BRAVŪRA, and returns to Charlottetown after performing in Johnny Belinda in 1998. “I am very happy to be returning. I can’t wait to walk the same streets and tread the same boards as the many great actors who have played Matthew before me,” he remarks. 
 
“P.E.I. carries great significance in my life,” he continues. “My mother – another Anne with an E – as a girl, was so transported by L.M. Montgomery’s work that she took her first opportunity to emigrate from Scotland to Canada. She wouldn’t set foot on the island of her dreams until that summer I was at the Festival. I’m hoping she’ll be able to make the trip this season. It would be a great honour to bring Matthew to life in her presence.”
 
Henley returns to the Festival following turns in Spoon River, Evangeline, Canada ROCKS! and as Mrs. Lynde inAnne of Green Gables—The Musical. The Saskatchewan native has performed in all major theatres across Canada and the United States, including three seasons at Stratford.
 
Additional casting includes Festival returnees: Eric Dahlinger, Robbie Graham-Kuntz, Stephen Guy-McGrath, Alana Hibbert, Melissa Kramer, Connor Lucas, Julain Molnar, Jamie Murray, Melanie Phillipson, Kristen Pottle, Adam Sergison, and Alicia Toner. Newcomers to this theatre include: Evan Taylor Benyacar, Greg Gale, Matthew Lawrence, Nicole Norsworthy, and Ashley St. John.

Summer School

It’s School Again! for Aaron Hastelow. The Islander will return to The Charlottetown Festival this summer for his second stint as Avonlea sweetheart, Gilbert Blythe.

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Last year Hastelow made history, becoming the first native Islander to play the romantic lead since Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ came to life in 1965. This summer he’ll do so opposite a new Anne in AJ Bridel, a new director in Adam Brazier, and as part of a completely redesigned show.

The new look and feel for Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ is being led by Brazier, artistic director at The Charlottetown Festival, alongside Musical Director Bob Foster, and Set and Costume Designer Cory Sincennes (Evangeline, Mamma Mia)

“I couldn’t be more excited,” remarked Hastelow. “When I heard that Cory was redesigning the sets and costumes I was over the moon. He’s one of Canada’s finest and I cannot wait to see him put his mark on the show.”

“AJ Bridel is going to be phenomenal as Anne,” he continues. “She’s a good friend and I can’t wait to get into rehearsals and start teasing her.”

Hastelow has spent several summers at the Centre, including roles in Mamma Mia!, Ring of Fire, and with the Young Company. He is currently performing in another staging of Mamma Mia! at Theatre Aquarius.

Known as a gifted singer of many styles of music, Hastelow is also set to release his debut album this summer, created at the Sound Mill Recording Studio. The self-titled EP will be available at The Showcase Gift Shop at the Centre and even includes an acoustic arrangement of Gilbert’s signature tune from Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™, ‘Wond’rin’,

For his part Hastelow is thrilled for everything that awaits in the golden summer ahead. “There’s nowhere better to be in summertime than P.E.I. — it’s home. It just means the world to me, and I can’t wait.”

Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ opens on Canada Day, July 1, sponsored by ReMax Charlottetown. Appreciation is extended to the title sponsor for The 2017 Charlottetown Festival, CIBC. Media sponsors are Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, CTV, and The Guardian.

A Night to Remember

You were amazed by their stellar performances this summer as actors, dancers, and musicians in Spoon River, Mamma Mia!, Anne of Green Gables–The Musical™, Glenda’s Kitchen, and the Centre’s youth troupes. Now, The Charlottetown Festival Company and Confederation Centre staff invite you for a fun-filled night of music, laughter, and fellowship — the 40th Annual Maud Whitmore Benefit Concert

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This Sunday, August 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Homburg Theatre, the staff, cast, and crew will volunteer their talents to raise money from ticket sales for the Maud Whitmore Scholarship Fund. These scholarships assist selected performers, designers, musicians – both emerging and established – in achieving proposed professional goals, such as new artistic training or workshops.

The show will be hosted by beloved Festival veteran, Glenda Landry, who played in countless Festival productions and for many years played the role of Diana Barry. Some of the performances slated this year (no Anne™ pun intended) include P.E.I.’s Aaron Hastelow singing a medley of Fleetwood Mack tunes, Susan Henley (Spoon River) delivering her rendition of ‘Both Sides Now’ by Joni Mitchell, the Confederation Players and the Confederation Brass coming together for a short selection of Victorian standards, Mamma Mia! and Anne™ company member, Josh Doig performing his own choreography to an Alanis Morissette song, and much more.

Tickets for the 40th annual Maud Whitmore Benefit Concert cost $20 and are available at the Confederation Centre Box Office at 1(800) 565-0278 or at charlottetownfestival.com.

Last year, the Roddy Diamond Scholarship for a focus in technical theatre or stage management was awarded to Seren Lannon, company manager for the Young Company in 2015 and 2016. “Through winning the Maude Scholarship,” says Lannon, “I was able to spend a weekend in NYC receiving training from top-notch Broadway Stage Managers, and learn first-hand what it would be like to work at the Gershwin Theatre. It was an experience that was invaluable from a career perspective. Had I not won the scholarship, I would never have been able to afford to go, and I could not be more grateful.”

The concert is named after the late Maud Whitmore, a veteran Canadian actor, who endeared herself to audiences from 1965-1977 at the Festival in Anne of Green Gables–The Musical™. Her years of commanding performances inspired many to enter into careers in the musical theatre industry.

Island Strong Anne Opens

The curtain lifted last night at 7:30 p.m. on an especially Island-strong edition of the long-running musical Anne of Green Gables. Jessica Gallant of Ten Mile House, P.E.I. stars as the world-famous orphan, with Charlottetown’s Hank Stinson and Aaron Hastelow as Matthew Cuthbert and Gilbert Blythe. This marks the first time an Islander has played Gilbert in the historic production, and thus the first time both romantic leads have been played by locals.

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Festival veteran Marlane O’Brien, of Crapaud, P.E.I. plays iconic busy-body, Miss Rachel Lynde, while Dora Award-winner Charlotte Moore reprises her turn as Marilla Cuthbert. New Island home-owner Katie Kerr returns to the role that first brought her to the Festival, as Diana Barry, and another Festival favourite and ‘Islander-by-choice’, Josée Boudreau debuts as Miss Stacey.

The creative team that brought the Guinness Record-holding musical to life last season has returned in 2016, with Wade Lynch in the director’s chair alongside Musical Director Bob Foster and Choreographer Robin Calvert.

“With a history that has enjoyed success under some of the country’s greatest directors, and that has benefited from the talents of legions of actors, musicians, designers, technicians, and theatre artisans of every stripe, it is no small task to approach a new season with the responsibility of maintaining the high standards of previous productions while attempting to bring something new to the play and the story,” says Lynch, who performed in many seasons of the beloved musical himself.

“That said, we must never treat our production as an antique; Anne is new every time the curtain goes up,” he continues. “When Anne Shirley arrives at Bright River she is not only encountering the possibility of a new family, she is entering a whole new world. As theatre artists it is our challenge and our responsibility to present a musical theatre experience that is new for every performance. With the tremendous talents and abilities of our 2016 company, you can be certain that the Anne of Green Gables experience our audiences enjoy this summer is brand spanking new!”

Anne of Green Gables plays select dates until August 27. Confederation Centre wishes to recognize CIBC as the returning title sponsor of The Charlottetown Festival. The Centre also acknowledges the Department of Canadian Heritage; the Government of P.E.I., and the City of Charlottetown for continued support. Media sponsors are The Guardian, Hot 105.5, Ocean 100, and CTV.