Tag Archives: Anne of Green Gables – The Musical

Feelin’ Mighty Proud!

Confederation Centre announces broadcast special celebrating Anne across the Island; 

Guest appearances include Amybeth McNulty, Lennie Gallant, Meaghan Blanchard, Gracie Finley, Emma Rudy and more!

Confederation Centre of the Arts is set to release a one-hour broadcast special entitled Feelin’ Mighty Proud! This Island-wide celebration weaves highlights from the iconic Anne of Green Gables–The Musical™ with a summertime journey across the Island, stopping at key destinations that focus on the works of L.M. Montgomery and the lore of Anne Shirley. 

Feelin’ Mighty Proud! is an homage to Montgomery, the original Anne of Green Gables novel, our famed Anne musical, and the Island as a whole,” shares Adam Brazier, artistic director with the Centre. “This project will make every Canadian proud and is a heartfelt reminder of the incredible impact our heroine has made world-wide—one who has brought so many people together for generations.”

Directed by Brazier with Jason Rogerson, this new production is rich with special appearances, including video interviews from such luminaries as Amybeth McNulty (Anne with an E), RH Thompson, Gracie Finley and Glenda Landry, and current ‘Anne’, Emma Rudy. This past summer would have marked Rudy’s second straight season starring in Charlottetown. This season marked the first time in the musical’s 55-year Guinness Record-setting run that it could not be mounted, as the entire Charlottetown Festival was cancelled due to COVID-19. 

Rudy is joined here by Hank Stinson and Marlane O’Brien as the Cuthberts, and Catherine O’Brien as Rachel Lynde in a selection of scenes shot on the iconic Homburg Theatre mainstage. More than a dozen Charlottetown Festival company members also appear performing the musical’s title theme, including Islanders Aaron Hastelow, Michelle Bouey, and Josée Boudreau, as well as the Festival Orchestra. 

New performances for the special include rousing original interpretations of the songs of the famed musical, such as ‘If it Hadn’t Been for Me’ by Vishten; ‘The Words’  by Lennie Gallant; ‘Gee I’m Glad I’m No One Else But Me’ from Meaghan Blanchard shot in the famed ‘Anne house’ in Cavendish, ‘Kindred Spirits’ from Ava and Lilly Rashed, and more. Click here to enjoy two sneak peek audio samples from the special!

Feelin’ Mighty Proud will be broadcast in late September and is made possible due to the generous support of Canadian Heritage, the Province of Prince Edward Island, title sponsor CIBC, and production sponsor, CAA. Patrons can follow the Centre’s social media pages and confederationcentre.com for broadcast date and platform details.

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

Lucas Gets Gilbert Role

Festival Casting: Connor Lucas To Play Gilbert Blythe

Shawn Wright & Susan Henley to reprise roles in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ alongside Emma Rudy & Lucas

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Artistic Director Adam Brazier has announced select casting for the 55th consecutive season ofAnne of Green Gables—The Musical™.

Connor Lucas will return to The Charlottetown Festival this summer, making his debut as Anne’s academic rival and would-be beau, ‘Gilbert Blythe’. Lucas and his ‘Anne Shirley’ counterpart, Emma Rudy will also both appear in the Festival’s productions of Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical and Mamma Mia! this summer.

Hailing from Comox Valley B.C. Lucas first debuted at the Festival as part of the TD Confederation Centre Young Company. In 2017 he made the jump to the mainstage as ‘Moody’ in Anne™ as well as originating the role of ‘Ivan’ in the world premiere of A Misfortune at The Mack.

For his part, the Sheridan College grad can’t wait to return to P.E.I. “Having the opportunity to play Gilbert has been a dream of mine ever since first performing in the Young Company five years ago. I am so grateful to now have the chance to explore the role as part of such a fabulous company, in a terrific show, on a beautiful Island.”

Also returning to Avonlea under Brazier’s direction will be Shawn Wright and Susan Henley, who drew accolades last summer for their portrayals of Anne’s guardians, ‘Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert’. Wright also turned heads with the 2018 Festival staging of his award-winning one-man show Ghost Light. For her part, Henley will carry leading roles on opposite ends of the theatre spectrum, returning for her third season as Marilla, and also taking it up the octave as ‘Rosie’ in Mamma Mia!

Sponsored by CAA, Anne™ previews in the Homburg Theatre on June 24 and 25, opening June 29 and playing through September 28, 2019. With a company of 28 amazing Canadian talents and a 14-member live orchestra, this treasured Canadian musical is a humorous, touching, and truly athletic experience that will inspire and mesmerize patrons of all ages with both graceful and exhilarating song and dance.

This 2019 staging is led by Brazier, Music Director Bob Foster; Choreographer Robin Calvert; Associate Music Director David Theriault; Costume & Scenic Designer Cory Sincennes; Lighting Designer Michael Walton; Sound Designer Peter McBoyle; and Conductor Craig Fair.

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 title sponsor of The Charlottetown Festival is 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

Celebrating a Pioneer

The Charlottetown Festival Celebrates the Life of Founding Member Fen Watkin

Member of the Order of Canada, Watkin had a profound influence on Canadian musical theatre

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The Confederation Centre of the Arts community is mourning the passing ofJoseph Fenwick “Fen” Watkin, O.C. 

Watkin was a founding member of the team that brought Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ to life in 1965 and was a driving force within The Charlottetown Festival for more than 40 years. Watkin passed away Thursday in Toronto. He was 96 years young.

“Fen will always be remembered for his kindness and humour,” offers Adam Brazier, artistic director of Confederation Centre. “His love of music and storytelling kept him engaged in the theatre throughout his celebrated life. He was a blessing to everyone who had the pleasure of working with him.”

Joseph Fenwick “Fen” Watkin was a virtuoso pianist and a highly accomplished arranger, conductor, and musical director involved in more than 200 original Canadian productions. He served for 12 years as associate music director of The Charlottetown Festival and 28 years as music director, spanning more than four decades from 1965 to the late 2000s.

The Toronto Symphony, CBC variety shows, and countless community theatre projects also benefitted from Watkin’s talents. As a mentor and coach he inspired generations of amateur and professional performers. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2005 for his considerable contribution to musical theatre.

Dean Constable, general manager of theatre at the Centre, fondly remembers Watkin, with whom he collaborated during the musical director’s final season leading Anne™. “Working alongside Fen you immediately realized that he was at the heart of those who had built The Charlottetown Festival,” Constable recalls. “He had a wonderful, gentle demeanour, and a terrific sense of humour, but rest assured if you were doing something wrong musically, he would see it corrected. The Canadian musical theatre community has lost an instrumental member and friend and we are grateful for his many contributions.”

Watkin first served as associate musical director at The Charlottetown Festival from 1965-77 alongside John Fenwick during a thriving era for musical theatre in Canada. Working with then artistic director Alan Lund, both Fenwick and Watkin conducted the orchestra for Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™and dozens of other productions, such as By George!, Kronborg 1582, Johnny Belinda, Singin’ & Dancin’ TONIGHT, and many more. Watkin became musical director in 1978 and continued to lead in this way until the mid-2000’s, including national and international tours of Anne™.

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

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.

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.

25 Hundred and Counting

The Confederation Centre of the Arts will be commemorating the 2500th showing of Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ at its August 23rd matinee performance with door prizes, treats, and cast appearances.

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Factoids:

Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ is officially recognized as the longest running annual musical theatre production in the world. The production had its official opening night on July 27, 1965 and since then 18 actresses have played the role of Anne. Over the 1991 season, 57,549 people saw Anne of Green Gables – The Musical™ at Confederation Centre and as of today that number will reach over two million.

For more information and tickets please visit: http://www.confederationcentre.com/en/show/2-Anne-of-Green-Gables-The-Musical

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.