Tag Archives: Adam Brazier

The New Anne Shirley

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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.

Festival Funds New Canadian Musicals

The Charlottetown Festival and Confederation Centre of the Arts share a rich history as champions for Canadian playwrights and composers. To that end, The Charlottetown Festival is pleased to announce new project funding for original Canadian musicals.

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“We are seeking to fund new musicals in various stages of development from across the country,” explains Artistic Director Adam Brazier. “The commissions will range from early-stage to mid-stage funding for new or developing musicals.”

A total of $50,000 will be given to Canadian creators this year. Funding is available up to $6,000 for early-stage research and incubation and up to $15,000 for mid-stage or continued development. This new funding for musical development aligns with the announcement of the inaugural Charlottetown Festival Theatre Conference, celebrating new works, taking place September 5 – 9 at the Centre.

“With the recent breakthrough of successes like Evangeline, Ride the Cyclone, and Come From Away we are seeing Canadian stories produced and celebrated on stages across North America,” Brazier continues. “What better time than now, during the 150th anniversary of Confederation, to support inspired storytelling and exciting new ideas in theatre.”

To be considered for this opportunity, applicants should review the submission requirements online. Submissions can be sent electronically to submit2017@confederationcentre.com or by mail to the Centre c/o Artistic Director, Adam Brazier. Deadline for consideration is 5 p.m. AT on Monday, May 15, 2017.

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.

For more information and to review all requirements, visit: confederationcentre.com/centre150 and select ‘The Charlottetown Festival Commission.’

The Next Anne Shirley

Trading Kinky Boots’ red heels for red braids, AJ Bridel is set for school again. The 22-year-old actress will become the 18th triple threat to play Anne Shirley at The Charlottetown Festival, joining an all new production led by Artistic Director Adam Brazier.

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2017 marks the first time Brazier will direct the treasured Island musical, and his search for the iconic hero of Avonlea was exhaustive. “AJ brings the kind of imagination, desire, and youthful excitement that is essential to the role,” he explains. “I am very excited to begin the rehearsal process and bring this new Anne Shirley to our stage.”

Born in Calgary and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, Bridel is a rising star of Canadian theatre. In 2016 she won a Toronto Critics Award and Dora nomination for her turn as ‘Lauren’ in Mirvish’s Kinky Boots and also starred in the Ross Petty panto Sleeping Beauty. She made a national splash in 2012, placing in the top-3 on CBC TV’s Over the Rainbow reality talent competition and went on to play Dorothy in Drayton’s The Wizard of Oz. Her turn as Anne Shirley will mark her Festival debut as well as her first time on the East Coast.

For her part, Bridel is honoured to join the Festival, calling it a dream role. “I cannot wait to spend the summer on this beautiful island, working with one of Canada’s greatest directors, Adam Brazier and recreating Anne of Green Gables with the incredible cast and crew he has assembled,” she enthuses. “Anne is a Canadian treasure and I am so excited to put those red braids on and try my best to fill the shoes of the incredible actresses who have loved her as much as I do!”

Stay tuned for more exciting announcements as this is the first of several changes towards a revived Anne™ production with Brazier at the helm. Casting news will soon be revealed for ‘Matthew,’ ‘Marilla,’ ‘Rachel Lynde,’ ‘Diana,’ and ‘Gilbert.’

Set designer Cory Sincennes – who has made waves with striking Festival designs (Mamma Mia! and Bittergirl) and at theatres across the country – is hard at work imagining a new visual aesthetic for the now 53-year-strong production. The Festival’s Musical Director Bob Foster is also exploring a new sound design for the show with Peter McBoyle (Evangeline) and other changes. Choreographer Robin Calvert will return in 2017 as well.

Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ begins it Guinness Record Holding 53rd consecutive season June 26, playing the Homburg Theatre until September 23. Appreciation is extended to the title sponsor for The 2017 Charlottetown Festival, CIBC. Media sponsors are Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, and The Guardian.

Guild It and They Will Come

Join us on Feb. 27th for our annual Guild Fundraiser, all in support of Island artists! The evening will feature entertainment from Irish Mythen, Luka Hall, Aaron Crane, Lori Linkletter, Nora Mallet, Julien Kitson, Adam Brazier, Melissa Kramer and Ava & Lily Rashed.

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Hosted by Rob MacDonald and Graham Putnam, this is not an evening to be missed!

February 27th 7:30 – 10 PM at The Guild.

Bittergirl is Back

Let’s take it back to The Mack!

Bittergirl: The Musical sold out virtually its entire run when it first premiered at the Festival and will return this summer with new songs and scenes, and the same girl-group hits like ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,’ ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,’ ‘I Will Survive,’ and ‘Too Many Fish In The Sea.’

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For a limited time only Bittergirl tickets are 40% off for a special Valentine’s Day promotion. Use promocode ‘love’ between February 11 and 14 and treat yourself and a friend to the most hilarious musical of the summer. This promo applies to dates between July 8 and 19, 2017. For tickets, visit the Confederation Centre box office in person, via phone at 902.566.1267, or online at confederationcentre.com/theatre.

This hysterical Canadian-made comedy returns July 5 through August 26, and The Charlottetown Festival has announced complete casting. Jay Davis, Steffi DiDomenicantonio, and Marisa McIntyre all return from the 2015 world premiere and will be joined by London West End veteran, Nicola Dawn Brook.

Brook is no stranger to musical comedy, bringing howls to the Homburg all summer in 2016 blockbuster Mamma Mia! as former Dynamo, Rosie. Brook also recently appeared in Mirvish’s mega-hit Kinky Boots and has performed in her native United Kingdom. with the Prince of Wales Theatre and Victoria Palace, and on the screen in Sweeney Todd and The X-Factor.

For her part, Brook is thrilled to return to the Island “I’m a huge fan of 60’s music and coupled with its hilarious script I think we’re going to get up to some giggles on stage!” she enthuses. “I love to make people laugh. Especially when the news makes you want to scream!”

“The audiences were so warm and generous during our Mamma Mia run,” she continues, “I would often get a lovely hug from audience members after the show — that’s a very special feeling!”

Bittergirl: The Musical is written by Annabel Fitzsimmons, Alison Lawrence, and Mary Francis Moore and will be directed by Artistic Director Adam Brazier. Bob Foster is the show’s musical supervisor and Lisa MacDougall the musical director. Set and costume design is from Cory Sincennes.

Appreciation is extended to the title sponsor for The 2017 Charlottetown Festival, CIBC. Media sponsors are Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, and The Guardian.

Rockin’ Robyn

When I first heard of the production Robyn Hood from one of my students in Seniors College, I thought it sounded like quite a riot, considering the play had a cast of 75—Charlottetown’s version of a cast of thousands—and the script by Adam Brazier and Graham Putnam wove several stories together with contributions from the cast. One must certainly investigate a claim of that magnitude. After opening night at the Homburg Theatre, I can say with certainty the claim is completely true.

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The Confederation Centre of the Arts kicked off the Christmas season with Robyn Hood, a comic musical adaptation of the legend of Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest, except this time, Robyn is a woman out to defeat the power-hungry Prince John of the Kingdom of Charlottetown. Maria Campbell, an alumna of the Confederation Centre Young Company, belted out a charmingly exuberant Robyn Hood supported all throughout by Friar Tuck, played Alana Bridgewater, whose powerful and lovely voice filled the theatre—the two were perfectly matched singing together.

Not to be outdone was Maid Marian, played by Jessica Gallant, who matched the mood with her music as she tried to solve her dilemma: to betray or not to betray? Sarah MacPhee’s signature Town Crier role was resurrected yet once again and given the opportunity to rise in the ranks, thanks to Matt Rainnie’s dastardly pouting Prince John’s machinations. He was joined on stage by his two daughters in the Charlottetown ensemble impoverished by being taxed to the max by Prince John.

The numerous scenes offered multiple opportunities to shift around the cast of 75—filling the stage was certainly not a problem in this production. Although the production was not technically perfect, the minute slips here and there were easily covered up by the ribaldry and jokes that spared no one. A great deal of the humor, however, is strictly local and anyone who is not familiar with PEI culture might not understand why people were laughing. There was a generous dose of tongue-in-cheek wit throughout the play and even the songs were selected from a wide range of sources to provide a lively musical tapestry.

Besides the occasional dancer with lower energy levels, the performance was bursting with rollicking fun. Garnett Gallant’s set design was just right and I wonder if anyone else picked up on the bit of irony with the Bundy clock, guitar, golf cart, and Maid Marian’s selfie during the wild chase through the Christmas-lit forest, not to mention the occasional hand microphone appearing on stage after Friar Tuck declared the play would bring us back to a time before cellphones, iPads, and Netflix! Deliberate or not, inconsistencies aside, it all added up to a great deal of fun that might have started a tad slow but certainly built up to a rousing end.

If you’re in for some Christmas cheer, this is just the performance to see!

Review by Cindy Lapena. Used by permission. Originally posted on http://www.onrpei.com.