Tag Archives: Adam Brazier

Build That Wall!

“Build That Wall!” — Matt Rainnie Joins ‘Robyn Hood’ as Wicked Prince John — Local actor, writer, and broadcaster to play chief villain in Centre’s Christmas musical

Enter Matt Rainnie as the artist formally known as Prince. The well-known CBC broadcaster and performer joins a stacked cast this Christmas for Confederation Centre’s holiday musical, Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier.

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Rainnie plays bad boy Prince John, the tousle-haired tyrant of Sherwood-Parkdale Forest, and foil to Robyn Hood (Maria Campbell) and her Fairly Merrily Men. Prince John rules the Island with an iron-fist, taxing the poor and scheming to contaminate their water and construct a wall around the entire province. The Adam Brazier-directed musical is penned by Graham Putnam and Brazier, and plays select dates, December 9 – 17.

“I’m excited to step into this bright and musical and incredibly silly world,” remarks Rainnie, “and to be the bad guy? Oh, it’s the best. Prince John is a sniveling, arrogant bully and that’s so much fun to play. I even get an awful wig, so I’m adjusting to having bangs for the first time in many years.”

Rainnie joins a fun-loving ensemble of theatre pros, Holland College/Confederation Centre School of Performing Arts students, hobby actors, and emerging talent of all ages, including Charlottetown Festival veterans Jessica Gallant and Alana Bridgewater, fellow Islanders Sarah MacPhee, Jordan Cameron, Nadia Haddad, Lexi Durant, Cameron MacDonald, Fraser McCallum, Tamara Gough, Ellen Carol, Al Baldwin, Ken Williams, and dozens more.

“I think with these shows, Adam and the Centre have created a welcome new holiday tradition,” Rainnie continues. “It can be a really busy time of year and these productions offer escape to this colourful and wonderfully ridiculous world, a chance to laugh and sing along to great tunes. Robyn Hood aims to do that again.”

Rainnie is the host of CBC Radio One’s popular P.E.I. morning show, Island Morning. Active in the community, he has also hosted countless charitable events across the province and remained connected to the local theatre scene where he was a founding member of Sketch 22, and cast member with Annekenstein and the improve comedy quartet 4Play.

“Theatre was a rewarding part of my life but I put it on hold the last few years,” he offers. “My daughters were both in Adam Brazier’s holiday show Aladdin last year. That gave me the chance to see this phenomenal crew in action and to see how much fun everyone was having both on stage and off. I knew I wanted to be part of that experience this time around.”

The broadcaster began his career with CBC PEI in 1993. He was a TV reporter and journalist before finding his home in radio. For several years, he hosted and produced the afternoon show, Mainstreet. During that time he was occasionally guest host of Sounds Like Canada and Weekend Mornings, and was host and producer of the national summer program, Lost and Found.

He has also worked as a film reviewer for CBC across the Maritimes, as a writer for stage and screen, and in animation voice-over. He lives in Charlottetown with his wife and three children, two of whom will join him on stage in Robyn Hood.

Home for the Holidays

Adam Brazier’s holiday musical has added a local star, with the pride of Ten Mile House, Jessica Gallant joining the production as Maid Marion.

Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier marks the first time the Charlottetown Festival mainstay has performed in a Christmas musical comedy for Confederation Centre, and Gallant is excited for everything this hilarious adventure will hold.

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“I’m thrilled to be performing at home during my favourite time of year — Christmas!” says Gallant, who spends the fall and winter months in Toronto. “Although the Island temperatures may feel cold, the season is so warm and exciting. I’m expecting nothing but belly-laughs and wit with Adam’s take on Robyn Hood!”

Although this marks her first role in one of Brazier’s holiday farces, which include Cinderella and Aladdin, Gallant has been a Festival favourite for more than five seasons. She first debuted with the Confederation Centre Young Company in Abegweit: the Soul of the Island before making her Homburg Theatre debut as Diana Barry in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™.

She also appeared in the world premiere of Evangeline, and productions of Mamma Mia! and Alice Through the Looking-Glass. She played Canada’s favourite redhead for the past two Festival seasons while continuing to perform in musicals and workshops in the Toronto area during the year.

Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier will be staged at Confederation Centre on select dates, December 9 to 17, 2016. Enjoy an alluring song list of musical theatre and pop hits – including ‘9 to 5,’ ‘Holding Out For A Hero,’ ‘Imagination,’ and ‘The Final Countdown’ – and a cast of dozens of Island school children and community performers.

Artistic Director Adam Brazier will direct and the script is by Brazier and Graham Putnam, with Festival mainstay Craig Fair as music director and Matthew MacInnis as production stage manager. Maria Campbell stars as the female Robyn Hood with Alana Bridgewater as Friar Tuck, and more principle casting to be announced next week.

Festival Announces 2017 Fare

Confederation Centre of the Arts has announced a dazzling lineup for next summer’s Charlottetown Festival, presented by CIBC. The 2017 Festival will run June 3 to September 24 and include the 53rd season of the international sensation Anne of Green Gables–The Musical™; the iconic rock ’n’ roll mega-concert Million Dollar Quartet; the return of two beloved Festival-spawned musicals, Bittergirl and Glenda’s Kitchen; and a new Young Company production that will tour the country.

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Million Dollar Quartet is a hit musical inspired by the true story of the famed 1956 recording session in which producer Sam Phillips brought together the “godfathers of rock ‘n’ roll” – Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley – for one unforgettable jam session. Set in a Memphis studio, this story-and-song musical brings to light an extraordinary tale of broken promises, secrets, and a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of four friends that is both poignant and heartwarming. Featured are such hallmark hits as Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, Fever, Great Balls Of Fire, Walk The Line, Folsom Prison Blues, and many more.

Presented in rep with Quartet is the Island festival’s crown jewel, Anne of Green Gables–The Musical™. For the first time, the internationally acclaimed musical will be directed by Artistic Director Adam Brazier, leading a company of 23 amazing triple threats from across the nation. Having delighted more than 2.5 million people over 3,200 times at the Centre, Anne of Green Gables–The Musical™ remains the quintessential Canadian musical, and Brazier is thrilled to put his creative stamp on the iconic piece.

“2017 is a year to celebrate Canada and being Canadian, and this storied musical rests at the very heart of our national identity,” says Brazier. “Searching for love and belonging in a time of strife and strain, Anne represents all Canadians coming to this country, or those searching for light every day in their own trials.”A Misfortune

He continues, “Million Dollar Quartet is an electrifying true story perfectly built for our Homburg Theatre and our Island audience. Presley, Cash, Lewis, and Perkins — this is one unbelievable studio session that changed rock’n’roll forever.”

Back at The Mack is the howlingly funny cabaret show on getting over getting dumped — Bittergirl: The Musical. This Canadian-made comedy virtually sold out its entire run when first premiering at the Festival in 2015. Having now played Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre and headed for Winnipeg and a tour of British Columbia, it will return in 2017 with new songs and scenes, and the same great soundtrack of doo-wop favourites, including I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, I Will Survive, and Too Many Fish In The Sea.

Also playing The Mack, will be the world premiere of a new Canadian musical, A Misfortune. The story follows a young lawyer and a married woman in pre-revolutionary Russia on a walk through the woods; their friendship has reached an impasse. Soon they gather with three friends for a night in the country, discussing the inanity of their lives over an evening drink—and with each drink, more sordid secrets are revealed. Adapted from a short story by Anton Chekhov, one of the world’s most celebrated and enduring writers, A Misfortune is a romantic, bittersweet musical about small moments and momentous decisions.

Returning to the intimate Studio 1 theatre is Glenda’s Kitchen offering curious patrons a taste of the Island, literally and culturally! Festival icon, Glenda Landry and The Charlottetown Festival Orchestra lead this charming musical, exploring the many bounties of P.E.I.’s people, deep-seated traditions, and world-famous food. This afternoon cabaret is a must-see for Islanders and travelers alike and will feature new tunes and tales from Glenda and cast.

The Centre has already announced a new national touring production for the Young CompanyDream Catcher. With support from the Canada 150 Fund, the Centre will engage youth from across the country to create a new musical inspired by their dreams for Canada’s future. Around 20 young professional artists, who reflect the country’s cultural diversity, will be cast in two Young Companies – one touring and one on P.E.I., supported by TD. Participants will meet with Indigenous artists who will speak to them about the symbolic importance of dreamcatchers in their cultures. Small dreamcatchers will be created and integrated into an immense visual that will be on display outdoors at the Centre in 2017.

“We are thrilled for the 2017 Young Company to hit the national stage to celebrate the dreams of our nation’s founders, those of our youth, and those of the Indigenous Peoples in Canada, with a Canada-wide tour and original musical theatre project,” says Jessie Inman, CEO.

“Continuing our long history of national touring, Dream Catcher will seize the momentum of Canada’s sesquicentennial and engage young people from every province and territory, channeling their bold hopes and dreams for our nation’s future.”

Casting Call For the Hood of Sherwood

Confederation Centre Conducting Auditions for ‘Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier’

Robyn Hood is riding to the rescue this holiday season and Confederation Centre is looking to build a company around the hero of Sherwood-Parkdale Forest.

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Artistic Director Adam Brazier – who is directing and co-writing his third musical pantomime for Confederation Centre – will be holding auditions on Saturday and Sunday October 22 and 23 at the Centre. Audition appointments can be booked by contacting Cindy Riley via email at criley@confederationcentre.com. Those with an audition time will be asked to prepare one song of choice – with sheet music for the accompanist piano player – and tell a short joke.

All are welcome for this fun and exciting adventure.

Following the tradition of 2014’s Cinderella: A Fairly Tall Tale and last year’s Aladdin: Another Fairly Tall Tale, the Centre brings you a new ridiculous musical celebration at Christmastime this year. Enjoy stunning music, dancing, and laughter, plentiful local references, and a cast of dozens of Island children and performers, including some students from the School of Performing Arts – a partnership between the Centre and Holland College.

Additional core casting announcements will be made in the weeks ahead. For more on Robyn Hood, visit this earlier announcement. Follow along on social media @confedcentre (Instagram and Twitter); via Confederation Centre of the Arts; and using #RobynConfed.

A Captivating Union

A Captivating Union of Comedy, Music, and Family

Michel Tremblay’s tale of the hilarious misfortunes of one lady’s fortune is set to make its East Coast debut this month. Belles Soeurs: The Musical, a comedic and touching English musical performed by an all-female cast, opens at Confederation Centre next week, previewing September 13 and 14, before officially launching September 15.

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Presented in partnership with Copa de Oro Productions and the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, Belles-Soeurs: The Musical comes to The Charlottetown Festival after two wildly successful runs at the National Arts Centre and in Quebec. Almost 50 years after its first publication, Tremblay’s celebrated story, following 12 wounded but willful women in 1960’s urban Montreal, continues to resonate with translations in over 20 languages and productions all over the world.

“I know I personally connect with these ladies. Even though it seems to be specifically French-Canadian, I see my grandmother and my mother in them, and they were these fascinating, complicated ladies who wanted something so much more than they had,” reflects Brian Hill, of the award-winning creative duo (Neil) Bartram & Hill, who are behind the English book and music adaptation for Belles Soeurs: The Musical.

Directed by René Richard Cyr, the central story zooms in on the life of Germaine Lauzon, a wife and mother, who feels stuck in a life of dull domesticity. Her luck finally changes when she wins 1 million trading stamps from the local grocery store – the ‘Jamie Oliver stamps’ of their day, coveted and tradeable for a treasure trove of goods. Feeling on top of the world, she invites family and friends over for a stamp-licking party to help her redeem her many prizes. The evening quickly becomes clouded by the realities of jealousy, neighbourhood gossip, and scheming between the 12 women. So distracted by what she’s won, Germaine must re-gain sight of all she stands to lose.

“This is a story about family,” reflects the Centre’s Artistic Director Adam Brazier. “About a daughter struggling to break free from her overbearing mother, and sisters learning to accept each other for who they are, and not who the other thinks they should be. Belles Soeurs is a hilarious and profound musical comedy straight from the heart of the Canadian spirit and we are thrilled to present it on Prince Edward Island.”

Belles Soeurs: The Musical plays select dates until October 1. To book tickets, confederationcentre.com or contact the box office, toll-free, at 1 (800) 565.0278. The Charlottetown Festival is presented by CIBC.

The Centre wishes to recognize 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.

Robyn Hood and Her Fairly Merrily Men Ride to the Rescue

Holding Out For a Hero? Robyn Hood and her Fairly Merrily Men are riding to the rescue this holiday season! From the comedic minds of Adam Brazier and Graham Putnam comes Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier, at Confederation Centre on select dates, December 9 to 17, 2016.

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Following the tradition of 2014’s Cinderella: A Fairly Tall Tale and last year’s Aladdin: Another Fairly Tall Tale, the Centre brings you a new ridiculous musical celebration at Christmastime. Enjoy stunning music, dancing, and laughter, plentiful local references, and a cast of dozens of Island children and performers.

Artistic Director Adam Brazier will direct, with Festival mainstay Craig Fair (Ring of Fire; Canada ROCKS!, Mamma Mia!) as music director and Matthew MacInnis (Mamma Mia!; Evangeline; Alice Through the Looking-Glass) as production stage manager.

P.E.I.’s own Maria Campbell (Jasmine in 2015’s Aladdin; Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart) stars as the female Robyn Hood in the Kingdom of Charlottetown. The Evil Prince John rules the capital city with an iron first, but just beyond the castle walls, in Sherwood-Parkdale Forest, Robyn Hood has hatched a plan to take back the Kingdom and steal from the 1% to give to middle class.

Campbell is an alumna of the Centre’s Young Company who performed at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. The Charlottetown native also appeared in Leslie Arden’s Harvest Moon Rising (The Guild) as well as in Albert Herring while completing her Master of Music at The University of Auckland.

She’ll be joined by Charlottetown Festival veteran Alanna Bridgewater as Friar Tuck. Known for her towering voice, Bridgewater is a Gemini-nominated vocalist/performer who’s been a member of Johnny Reid’s touring band and appeared in Mirvish’s We Will Rock You, as well as Festival credits in this summer’s Spoon River and as ‘Motormouth’ in Hairspray! Belfast, P.E.I. native, Sarah MacPhee also returns in the role she is still forced to play, The Town Crier. Additional core casting will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Starting at just $25, tickets are on sale now for members of Confederation Centre, with tickets available to the general public as of Thursday, September 8.

Visit confederationcentre.com/theatre or contact the box office at (902) 566.1267.

Walk Right In, It’s Around the Back, Glenda’s Restaurant

The final production of the summer season has opened at The Charlottetown Festival — a hot new matinee show that offers a taste of the Island, literally and culturally. Starring P.E.I. actress and accomplished chef Glenda Landry, Glenda’s Kitchen is sponsored by CAA, and plays select dates in Studio 1 at Confederation Centre until August 26.

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Glenda Landry is a 45-year veteran of The Charlottetown Festival, having shone for many seasons in Avonlea as Diana and later Mrs. Pye, among others, and in Centre productions such as The Kitchen Witches and Wizard of Oz. The Island native has also moonlighted for years as a chef, having completed the apprenticeship program at the Culinary Institute and plied her second trade alongside Chef Emily Wells at The Dunes and at Sim’s in Charlottetown.

This summer she leads a talented kitchen party cast, including fellow Islanders and Festival veterans Charlotte Moore, Marlane O’Brien, and Hank Stinson, all backed by the 12-piece Charlottetown Festival Orchestra, as they cook up the best kind of seafood chowder — a bowl with a story behind it. Glenda’s Kitchen plays Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 1:30 p.m. and concludes with a steaming bowl of chowder with an Island biscuit for every audience member.

Offering a bounty of songs, stories, and soup, Glenda’s Kitchen is directed by Artistic Director Adam Brazier and co-written by Brazier and Stinson. Musical direction and arrangements are by Scott Christian, and stage management is from Al Gadowsky.