Celebrating the Super Duper Fantabulous Smorgasbord

What do 25 step dancers, two stilt walkers, and an improv troupe have in common? They are all performing in this year’s Confederation Centre of the Arts Holiday Variety Show, happening December 15 and 16 in the Homburg Theatre.

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The Holiday Variety Show presents the very best in Island artists and community players. Artistic Director, Adam Brazier (Evangeline) alongside Patty Sullivan (Kids CBC), will host a variety show where audiences can expect a smorgasbord of entertainment ranging from an all-female barbershop quartet to step dancers, and we can’t forget the return of beloved Islander Tara MacLean.

“This show is meant to celebrate our community,” says Adam Brazier, artistic director for the Centre. “By doing so, we’re creating a unified spirit of joy this holiday season.”

The show opens with Brazier directing a make-believe musical number, as he comes up with a new concept for a holiday variety show that features talent from the Island community. The audience then becomes a “fly on the wall” as Brazier adjudicates the auditions, which are hilarious and maybe a little bizzare. In the final act the actual Holiday Variety Show is performed.

With a cast of over 90 people, ranging in ages from 6 to 75, this year’s Holiday Variety Show will leave you full of joy, gratitude, and jubilation for the holiday season.

Special performances also by: The Popalopolots, Ava and Lily Rashed, Roberts Academy of Dance, The Mi’kmaq Confederacy, Maria Campbell, Justin Simard, and many more.

For tickets please visit: http://www.confederationcentre.com/en/show/384-The-Confederation-Centre-Holiday-Variety-Show

Special thanks are extended to Sobeys, the title sponsor for LIVE @ the Centre! Media sponsors are The Guardian, Ocean 100, and Hot 105.5.

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Holiday Spectacular Wants You!

The Holiday Spectacular Wants Island Community and Family Groups to Audition

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The Holiday Spectacular is a powerhouse FESTIVE event where our community is the star. We’re inviting all island and family groups of performers to audition and be a part of our Island’s holiday variety show. From dancing and singing to comedy and musical groups, we’re looking for it all. The sky is the limit. 

So ring in the joy of the season by showcasing your family’s hidden talents with us.

Holiday Spectacular is happening December 14 -16 @2 p.m. / 7 p.m.

Artistic Director Adam Brazier will be holding auditions on Saturday, October 28th and Sunday, October 29th. To book an audition time please contact Cindy Riley at criley@confederationcentre.com.

A Celebration of Rock, Blues, and Gables

The Charlottetown Festival 2018: A Celebration of Rock, Blues and Local Treasures

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The 2018 playbill features rock-opera Jesus Christ Superstar; a world premiere of Dutch Mason and Stories from the Red Dirt Road.

Confederation Centre of the Arts has announced a sensational lineup for next summer’s Charlottetown Festival. The 2018 Festival will run June 7 to September 22 and include the 54th season of the international sensation Anne of Green Gables–The Musical™; the phenomenal rock-opera Jesus Christ Superstar; two new Festival-spawned musicals, Dutch Mason and Stories from the Red Dirt Road.

Jesus Christ Superstar is a global phenomenon that has wowed audiences for over 40 years. It’s a timeless rock opera set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally known series of events but seen, unusually, through the eyes of Judas Iscariot.  Artistic Director, Adam Brazier is thrilled to be at the helm as director to put his creative stamp on the iconic piece.

“The themes of this timeless classic remain universal, their resonance today is palpable, as western civilization wrestles with existential questions about where power is held, where it should be held, and how fame affects the balance,” said Brazier.

Presented in tandem with Jesus Christ Superstar is the Island Festival’s crown jewel, Anne of Green GablesThe Musical™. With a company of 23 amazing triple threats from across the nation, this iconic musical has delighted more than 2.5 million people over 2,500 times at the Centre, and remains the quintessential Canadian musical.

At The Mack, Dutch Mason, inspired by the non-fictional book “On the Road with Dutch Mason” by David Bedford and Harvey Sawler, will take audiences on a fictional tour through Atlantic Canada with The Prime Minister of the Blues. When Dutch Mason’s regular harmonica player is sidelined, a political science professor and amateur harp player is recruited to join Dutch and his band on a historic road trip that will shock the professor out of his buttoned-down conformity.

Also at The Mack is Stories from the Red Dirt Road, adapted by our beloved festival regular, Marlane O’Brien, from the book “And My Name Is…Stories from The Quilt” by Margie Carmichael.  This is a funny, inspiring, heartfelt piece of four Island stories woven together through song and the red dirt road itself that joins our lives together.

 Additional announcements will be made at a later date, including a new Young Company production, so stay tuned.

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. 

 The Pick 3 Pass is back! Pick three Charlottetown Festival shows and pay only $129. The Pick 3 Pass and Festival tickets go on sale to members of CCOA September 20 & 21 and E-news subscribers September 21. Public tickets go on sale September 22.

Jesus Christ Superstar: June 7 – September 22 (1:30/8 p.m.) – Homburg Theatre.
Anne of Green GablesThe Musical: June 18 – September 22 (1:30 p.m./7:30 p.m.) – Homburg Theatre.
Dutch Mason: June 30 – Sept 22 (8 p.m.) – The Mack.
Stories From the Red Dirt Road: August 2 – September 21 (7:30 p.m.) – The Mack.

Keynote Speaker Announced for Theatre Conference

Confederation Centre of the Arts is pleased to announce Bob Martin as the keynote speaker for The Charlottetown Festival Theatre Conference happening Sept 5-9, 2017.

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“We’re excited to have Mr. Martin, a champion of Canadian theatre, as our keynote speaker for this important event,” said Adam Brazier, Artistic Director of The Charlottetown Festival. “His experience as both an actor and a writer, will bring an invaluable wealth of knowledge and inspiration to our attendees.”

Martin has worked as an actor and writer in theatre, film and television for over 30 years. He has received many awards in both Canada and the U.S., including a Tony for his portrayal of “Man in Chair” in The Drowsy Chaperone. This original Canadian musical not only made it to Broadway and the West End, but went on to win five Tony Awards in total, including the first for Canadian writers. Martin is also well known as the co-creator of Slings & Arrows, the hit Canadian television show about running a Shakespearean theatre festival.

The Theatre Conference, a national gathering, kicks off on September 5 with the performance of Kronborg 1582 in the Homburg Theatre followed by four packed days of showcases of new Canadian works, breakout sessions, panel discussions and more, culminating with the world premiere of the new musical, A Misfortune at The Mack. Martin will give his keynote speech on September 7 at 11:00 a.m. in Memorial Hall.

Aligning with the dates of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, The Charlottetown Festival Conference will celebrate industry developments and new ideas as well as showcase some of the new musical theatre content being created in Atlantic Canada. The winners of the 2017 Charlottetown Festival Commission will also be revealed, who will receive $50,000 in funding to develop new works.

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.

For more information, to purchase your conference pass, and see full conference schedule

A Stacked Sobeys Season

Confederation Centre has pulled back the curtain on a dazzling lineup for the upcoming season of Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre. Centre officials are proud to present their most dynamic season of LIVE to date, including contemporary dance, chamber music, Indigenous performance, choral concerts, rock’n’roll, family fun, and live theatre.

The advance ticket sale for Members of the Centre’s Founders’ Circle is available as of noon on Monday August 14. E-news subscribers will be able to purchase tickets as of Tuesday August 15 at 9 a.m., while tickets for the general public will be available as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday August 16.

 

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The ’17-18 season kicks off on October 16 with major pop-rock icons, The Barenaked Ladies and their Canada 1-FIVE-0 TOUR, presented by the National Arts Centre. October 24 marks the return of Canadian troubadour Joel Plaskett, joining his father Bill Plaskett for a collaborative show in the Homburg Theatre to celebrate their duo album, Solidarity.

November is jam-packed month with 11 shows on deck. These include Liam Corcoran’s album release for Nevahland; the Island premiere of A Passage to Bollywood, a rollicking family musical experience; the return of Classic Albums LIVE with the prog-rock classic 2112 by Rush; and a one night only musical comedy performance of the international hit, Menopause the Musical.

The holiday season is equally busy in December with Tomato/Tomato’s A Maritime Christmas channeling old school holiday concerts with special guests Heather Rankin and Dave Gunning. From December 14-16, Adam Brazier’s Holiday Spectacular variety show brings big laughs, guest stars, stunning dance and musical numbers, and sketches to the mainstage.

Sprinkled throughout December, the Choral Music Programme – under the direction of Donald Fraser – presents three beloved annual concerts, with Handel’s Messiah, Sing Noël, and Sing Along Messiah.

The 2018 portion of the LIVE calendar is equally exciting, and more stacked than ever with the theatre renovations now complete and no more closures planned. January offers critically acclaimed Indigenous artist Susan Aglukark as well as the return of Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT). TDT has produced an exceptional body of original Canadian choreography and had a major impact on the development of national dance audiences.

Other highlights in 2017 include Island artists The East Pointers, Dennis Ellsworth and Kinley Dowling, and The Atlantic String Machine. The Songwriters Series also returns with three heavy hitting raconteurs from Canada’s East Coast: Old Man Luedecke, Hillsburn, and Fortunate Ones, each performing for one night only in the intimate listening space of The Mack. Fellow Maritimer, Classified makes a rare Charlottetown appearance on April 14, with a special acoustic performance with guest artists entitled Classified and Friends.

The Centre’s own dance umbrella program culminates their 2017-18 instructional season with four public performances — musical theatre romps The Nifty Fifties and All the World’s A Stage in March and April at The Mack, and the matinee and evening Annual Showcases, May 5 on the mainstage.

For ticket information and the entire Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre season calendar please visit confederationcentre.com/live or contact the Confederation Centre box office at (902) 566.1267 or toll free, at 1-800-565-0278. Special thanks are extended to the Government of Canada for their support of Confederation Centre; as well to Sobeys, the returning title sponsor for LIVE @ The Centre. Media sponsors are The Guardian, Hot 105.5, and Ocean 100.

Did You Hear Did You Hear?

While Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ is enjoying the first of a three-year revival in the Homburg Theatre, many changes are happening behind the scenes. Following the addition of new leads, sets, and costumes, a sweeping new sound design has been introduced and the harp has been returned to the orchestra for the first time in years.

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When asked to instill a new life into the musical’s score, Festival Music Director Bob Foster went right to the harp, bringing in Janice Lindskoog for a total of 14 orchestra members. “In many ways, the harp is the musical heart of the sound and is a most beautifully written part,” he says. “Just adding it back in has made a huge difference to the sound in the pit and on stage.”

 For her part, Lindskoog is thrilled to return, having played with the Festival from 2005-11, including a tour to Toronto. “Every harpist will bring their own personality and interpretation to the score, which is charming and timeless,” she offers. “I play the imaginative orchestrations by John Fenwick, which contribute special colours and allow for musical expression in the accompaniment of the voice.”

 adaThe musical world has changed a lot since Anne™ first premiered, and so has the listener’s ear. With advanced systems in every home now, a certain quality has become normalized, and a theatre can no longer rely only on its acoustic sound. Foster and Director Adam Brazier brought in Peter McBoyle, a sound design expert of great renown to help with this industry shift.

 “Alongside Kevin MacLean, Head of Audio, and the new advanced equipment at the Centre, we are on our way to bringing the sound of this musical up to date, “ says Foster. “I also give great thanks to the fine musicians in the pit who have helped breathe new life into this national treasure.”

McBoyle desired to present the score in a richer way and bring out the nuances in the strings and the woodwinds. He also wanted to clarify the actors’ mics, so that every lyric would be heard crisply. “I wanted to achieve all of this in a way that sounds natural and that doesn’t call attention to itself,” explains the designer. “Ideally the audience would never know that the sound they are hearing is coming from speakers.”

 One challenge was the large number of hats worn this year. “This can make it tricky to get a good mic position and good sound from the performer,” says McBoyle. “The sound reflects off the hat and makes a great mic sound not as sharp as it could be. Theatre is always a combination of collaboration and compromise though and we found ways to work things out.”

 “Sonically, the funeral procession in Act 2 is something I am most proud of,” he reflects. “The orchestration is really something special and the addition of a little bit of rain and a distant thunder makes it beautiful, sad, and thoughtful all at once.”

 “Of course, adding the live harp back in to the pit was a great decision for a variety of reasons and I’ve developed a mic technique that really makes the harp sound full and dynamic and so, given that it was an important part of the reinvention of this show, I am very happy with how it sounds in the mix.”

 Patrons can hear and see Anne™ in the Homburg Theatre until September 23, 2017. Special thanks are extended to the Government of Canada for their support of Confederation Centre; and The Charlottetown Festival title sponsor, CIBC and production sponsor RE/MAX Charlottetown.  Appreciation is extended to media sponsors Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, CTV, and The Guardian.

The New Anne Shirley