Tag Archives: Aaron Hastelow

Kronborg Hits the Homburg

Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical opens June 21 at Confederation Centre

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“To be or not to be” is the most famous question in all of drama. And it is around this central question that the history of Kronborg–The Hamlet Rock Musical hangs upon.

And like Hamlet returning to Denmark, this celebrated Canadian musical is returning to The Charlottetown Festival, 45 years since it was first produced here. Sponsored by SYSCO Food Services the production runs June 28 to July 20—just 15 nights—in the Homburg Theatre at Confederation Centre of the Arts. Preview performances are slated for June 21 and June 27.

Cliff Jones, the musical’s creator, is excited to see the show take on a new life. “This talented company and this theatre will be incredible for Kronborg,” he muses, “and I’ve also gotten the chance to tweak little things that have nagged me for years.”

The electrifying rock production has been revived by Director Mary Francis Moore and Music Director Craig Fair, as well as the talented Festival cast, crew, and orchestra. But it was a winding road back to Charlottetown and the world-renowned Festival.

First commissioned as a CBC radio play in 1973, the original title was Kronborg: 1582, named for the Danish castle and year Shakespeare’s original revenge tragedy takes place.Jones’ inspiration came from when he first heard the Jesus Christ  Superstar soundtrack, which married anthemic rock music with rich storytelling. It is a curious symmetry that the Kronborg remount follows last summer’s Superstar as the next “big Festival show” here on the Centre mainstage. Both productions also star Island son, Aaron Hastelow.

After the original radio production in 1973, the play moved to the stage at Confederation Centre. Its first staging at the Festival in 1974 was an absolute hit leading to an eastern Canadian tour with Brent Carver as Hamlet and Beverly D’Angelo as Ophelia. In the following years Jones and other directors would tackle this production through diverse variations. These included a month-long Broadway engagement as Rockabye Hamlet (1976), and a 14-month run in L.A. in the early ‘80s as Something’s Rockin in Denmark.

Then, the play was put to rest.

It wasn’t until years later when Jones crossed paths with Adam Brazier—the Centre’s artistic director—that Kronborg was given a new lease on life and was turned into a concert performance at the Historic St. Mary’s Church in Indian River, P.E.I. in 2017. Jones came back to Charlottetown while recovering from a serious health scare with Legionnaire’s disease. “The disease had quickly destroyed me,” he recalls, “I was delirious, could hardly recognize my daughters, was lethargic, and battling depression.”

When the Kronborg writer came in for rehearsals it gave him a new purpose. “I saw what they were doing with this incredible company and with Craig Fair’s new arrangements and musical direction. It made my life worth living again; it renewed me.”

Jones recalls the sold-out Indian River concert—with full company and an orchestra—as thrilling. Indeed, a Buzz review described the rock opera as “spectacular and electrifying…Aaron Hastelow shone brightly as Hamlet.”

For Jones, he pondered, “Can it get any better than this?” It turns out it certainly can. The new show is set to run for 15 nights this summer on the main stage.

When asked what endures about Kronborg all these years later, the writer offers “It’s always carried a special combination of being a fun, entertaining experience but also being faithful to Shakespeare’s story—to thine own self be true.”

New life for the writer and his storied musical awaits at this year’s Festival.

The full artistic team for Kronborg: The Hamlet Rock Musical is listed online. Confederation Centre wishes to acknowledge the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Government of P.E.I., and the City of Charlottetown for their continued support. The Charlottetown Festival is sponsored by CIBC.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse
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Casting Announced for Mamma Mia

The Charlottetown Festival: Complete Casting Announced for Mamma Mia!

Co-production between Charlottetown and The Grand Theatre has begun rehearsals in London, ON

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The Charlottetown Festival returns to an idyllic Greek island for Mamma Mia! this summer, and rehearsals are underway for the first leg of the show’s co-production with The Grand Theatre.

The blockbuster musical plays in London, Ontario from April 23 to May 18 and then The Charlottetown Festival company makes its homecoming to “the other island paradise” to begin work on Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ and Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical.

Mamma Mia! will play in Charlottetown from August 9 to September 28. Artistic Director of Confederation Centre of the Arts, Adam Brazier is directing the ABBA-driven phenomenon, and has announced complete casting. This week marks 20 years since the world-wide smash hit first premiered in London’s West End.

As previously revealed, the production stars Katie Kerr, as bride-to-be ‘Sophie’ and Rebecca Poff as her single-mother ‘Donna’. Aaron Hastelow plays Sophie’s beau, ‘Sky’, while her two best friends ’Ali’ and ‘Lisa’ are anchored by Hailey Lewis and Kim Truong.

Sophie is to be married but wants to first find her father so he can walk her down the aisle. She invites three possible men from Donna’s past to the wedding—Cam MacDuffee (the Festival’s On the Road with Dutch Mason) as ‘Harry’; Stephen Guy-McGrath (Million Dollar Quartet) as ‘Bill’, and Festival newcomer, Michael Torontow as ‘Sam’.

Rounding out the principal cast are Festival favourites Nicole Dawn Brook (Bittergirl—The Musical) and Susan Henley (Anne™) as the Super Troupers, ‘Rosie’ and ‘Tanya’; as well as Connor Lucasand Anthony MacPherson as party boys, ‘Eddie’ and ‘Pepper’. See complete casting in addendum.

Mamma Mia! is sponsored by Tim Hortons and plays the Homburg Theatre at Confederation Centre of the Arts. Musical direction is from Craig Fair, choreography by Lisa Stevens, set and costumes by Cory Sincennes, lighting design from Renée Brode, and sound design from Peter McBoyle.

Confederation Centre wishes to acknowledge the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Government of P.E.I., and the City of Charlottetown for their continued support.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

28660348_162333201093170_735205771249634989_n

PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

One More Night

Second Show Added for ‘An Evening with Aaron Hastelow and Friends’

Beloved Islander is up close at The Mack January 11 and 12; special guests include Tara MacLean and Alicia Toner

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After multiple years selling out this annual cabaret, Hastelow has planned the 2019 edition for The Mack, on Friday, January 11 at 7:30 p.m. Now, with tickets virtually sold out, Confederation Centre has added a second night for the show, Saturday January 12 at 7:30 p.m.

For the cabarets, Hastelow will welcome special guest Alicia Toner, a 2018 Music PEI Award-winner for her debut album I Learned the Hard Way, and a Charlottetown Festival veteran from Million Dollar Quartet, Spoon River, Evangeline, and more. Toner is also releasing a brand new single ‘Dangerous Home’ on January 11. Hastelow and Toner will come together to sing ‘Shallow’ from the recent Hollywood hit, A Star is Born.

Hastelow will also collaborate with special guest and fellow Islander, Tara MacLean, an award-winning singer-songwriter and star of her own show, Atlantic Blue. He will also welcome a guest band of all-star musicians, including Craig Fair (recent music director for The Charlottetown Festival), Andrew Murray, Jon Matthews, and Trevor Grant. Some of the choice musical selections on the night will include Fleetwood Mac, John Legend, Ed Sheeran, The Cranberries, Dave Matthews Band, Miley Cyrus, and more.

In 2017, Hastelow released his self-titled debut album, recorded at the Sound Mill Recording Studio, garnering three Music PEI Award nominations. After studying musical theatre at Sheridan, the Charlottetown native has appeared in theatre festivals across the country, including with Vancouver Opera, Neptune, Aquarius, and three seasons at Shaw Festival.

He also recently starred as the lead of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Centre and will star again as Hamlet in Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical and as Sky in Mamma Mia! at the 2019 Festival. Other previous Festival credits include Ring of Fire and two seasons as Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™.

Special thanks are extended to the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Province of Prince Edward Island, and the City of Charlottetown, as well to media sponsors Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, and The Guardian. This concert is presented as part of Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre.

For more details, visit confederationcentre.com. Tickets are going fast and can be purchased at the Centre box office, or online.

A Night With Aaron

An Evening with Aaron Hastelow & Friends

| The Mack

Join Island son and Charlottetown Festival favourite, Aaron Hastelow for one night only! Aaron has performed across Canada, recently starred in Jesus Christ Superstar at Confederation Centre, and released his self-titled debut album last year, garnering three Music PEI Award nods.

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Aaron has basically grown up at Confederation Centre of the Arts, with a long history spent in Centre dance classes, playing a child of Avonlea in Anne of Green Gables-The Musical™, and a summer with the Confederation Centre Young Company. After studying musical theatre, he has gone on to perform in numerous seasons at The Charlottetown Festival, including roles in Mamma Mia!, Ring of Fire, and two seasons as Anne’s beau, Gilbert Blythe, in Anne of Green Gables-The Musical™

Aaron welcomes special guests Alicia Toner, a Music PEI Award-winner for her debut album I Learned the Hard Way, seven-year Charlottetown Festival veteran with Spoon River, Evangeline, Million Dollar Quartet, and more;  and Tara MacLean, singer-songwriter, award-winning recording and touring artist, and star of her new show, Atlantic Blue.

Casting Announced for 2019 Charlottetown Festival

Select Casting Announced for Mamma Mia! and Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical

The 2019 Charlottetown Festival launching 50% off sale, November 17 to December 1

Artistic Director Adam Brazier, on behalf of Confederation Centre of the Arts, has announced select casting for The 2019 Charlottetown Festival. Sponsored by CIBC, the Festival includes six productions and runs June 28 to September 28.

Rebecca Poff and Katie Kerr will star as mother and daughter Donna and Sophie in Mamma Mia!, a co-production with the Grand Theatre in London, playing in the Homburg Theatre August 9 to September 27. Poff turned heads in the Festival’s  2018 concert performance of The House of Martin Guerre and also appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar and Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™. A native of Sudbury, Ontario, Poff has performed throughout the continent, including in the Canadian National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera and the U.S. National/Broadway tours of Show Boat.

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Kerr returns to the Greek Islands of Mamma Mia!, having previously starred as Sophie in the blockbuster 2016 production in Charlottetown, as well as with two other theatres. Kerr’s other credits consist of multiple roles in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™, including the title role from 2013-14, and in the world premiere of Evangeline. “Sophie is really the driving force in Mamma Mia!” says Brazier, who will once again direct the musical. “It’s no wonder Katie has since played the role across Canada; she is a tour de force as Sophi

The Festival’s new production of Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical runs June 28 until July 20 in the Homburg Theatre. Directed by the Festival’s associate artistic, Mary Francis Moore, the powerhouse rock musical is an electric experience, following Hamlet’s quest for vengeance upon his uncle Claudius for killing his father. Aaron Hastelow stars as Hamlet and will also appear in Mamma Mia! as Sophie’s beau, Skye. 

Brazier is pleased to welcome back Festival favourite Cameron MacDuffee opposite Hastelow as Claudius, King of Denmark. MacDuffee recently appeared as a scene-stealing King Herod in the Festival’s Jesus Christ Superstar, and has performed across Canada, including four seasons at Shaw Festival. His Charlottetown highlights include turns in Evangeline, Ring of Fire, and On the Road with Dutch Mason. He will also reprise his role as Harry in Mamma Mia! at the 2019 Festival.

Making her mainstage debut in Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical will be Kimberly Truong as Ophelia. Truong hails from Prince Rupert, B.C. and was previously part of the Confederation Centre Young Company in Les Feux Follets. She has appeared in productions of Les Misérables, West Side Story, and A Chorus Line. Last year, she made her Broadway debut in the celebrated revival of Miss Saigon. “It is thrilling to have Kimberly back at The Charlottetown Festival,“ remarks Brazier. ”She has an extraordinary voice and an undeniable presence onstage.”

The other big news is that the Festival is once again offering a ‘50% Off Sale’ ticket sale for the 2019 Festival. This sale is a favourite for Islanders searching for tickets every summer and is on sale for a limited time only. From November 17 to December 1 these can be purchased at the Centre box office, online, or by phone at 1 (902) 566-1267 or 1 (800) 565-0278. This sale is available for Founders’ Circle members as of November 16.

Additional casting, including a new leading star for Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ and a new Gilbert, will be announced in the months ahead.

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.