The New Next Gilbert

J.J. Gerber is more than excited to be the next actor to play Avonlea’s beloved Gilbert Blythe in The 2018 Charlottetown Festival production of Anne of Green Gables: The Musical™.

thumbnail_image006“I grew up enjoying this story with my sister and Gilbert was always my favourite,” says Gerber. “When I heard that I would be getting a chance to play Gilbert I called her and we both couldn’t believe it.”

The Brampton, Ontario native is no stranger to the stage. Gerber just wrapped up Grease at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto where he played Sonny’s understudy. Last year Gerber played Troy in Stratford’s A Chorus Line, and was a member of La Troupe in Moliere’s The Hypochondriac.  He is currently playing Eddie in Citadel’s production of Mamma Mia!

This will be Gerber’s Charlottetown festival debut and he’ll do so opposite AJ Bridel who will reprise the role of Anne Shirley. The Kitchener, Ontario native captured the hearts of audiences last summer with her endless energy and abundance of talent. She just completed the Ross Petty pantomime A Christmas Carol-The Family Musical with a Scrooge Loose! in Toronto.

For his part, Gerber says that the story of Anne of Green Gables is the epitome of Canadian culture in theatrical form. “This story is about growing up in a land full of promise, possibility, and hope, and accepting those in need even if it isn’t the popular idea.” He ends by saying, “To think that I get to be a part of The Charlottetown Festival is truly a dream come true.”

The Adam Brazier-directed production is in year two of a major three-year refresh, and he is pleased to announce that this summer there will be a new revolving stage.

“The new stage will not only add a beautiful island texture to our production, but it will allow for better fluidity in our storytelling,” says Brazier.

Brazier goes on to explain that in the centre of the stage is an 18 foot revolve that is large enough to turn the Green Gables house 360 degrees. He says that this new perspective will inspire audiences to have the same sense of awe and wonder that Anne experiences. The stage will also become essential to scene changes, which he says, could play a pivotal role in creating the illusion of distance and travel. He ends by pointing out that although the stage is designed for Anne of Green Gables: The Musical™, there will be an additional platform that can be laid on top of it to accommodate other productions at the Centre.

 “This is an exciting summer for our production and I am so grateful for the hard work of our staff to help make this new vision a reality,” says Brazier.

Anne of Green Gables: The Musical™, sponsored by CAA, begins its Guinness Record Holding 54th consecutive season on June 18, playing the Homburg Theatre until September 22. Playing opposite in the same theatre is Jesus Christ Superstar, sponsored by Tim Hortons, which runs June 7 until September 22. Appreciation is extended to the title sponsor for The 2018 Charlottetown Festival, CIBC. Media sponsors are Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, and The Guardian.

Stay tuned for more exciting casting announcements in the coming months.

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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.

Misfortune’s World Premiere

A Misfortune makes its world premiere tonight at The Charlottetown Festival.Sponsored by Key Murray Law, the bittersweet Canadian musical is playing a short run at the Centre’s cabaret theatre, The Mack until Sept 22.

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Adapted from a short story by Anton Chekhov, the musical starts with two old friends going for a walk in the woods. Their conversation soon takes a turn, revealing hidden depths to their relationship and forcing them to question the lives they’ve chosen.

 “Despite being written over a hundred years ago, the play’s themes are timeless,” says Kevin Michael Shea, scriptwriter and musical co-creator. “We’ve all loved the wrong people, or not loved the right people enough.”

 A Misfortune promises audiences a romantic, bittersweet musical about small moments and momentous decisions. Set at a dinner party among friends, sordid secrets are revealed with every shot of vodka.

Confederation Centre will present only nine performances of A Misfortune, so get your tickets for this must-see show. Please visit: http://www.confederationcentre.com/en/show/350-A-Misfortune

The cast includes Rejean Cournoyer (Andrey), Kelsey Falconer (Sofya), Connor Lucas (Ivan), Melanie Phillipson (Masha), and Brendan Wall (Pavel).

A Misfortune is directed by Eliza-Jane Scott with music by Scott Christian and lyrics by Wade Bogert-O’Brien.

Special thanks are extended to the Government of Canada for their support of Confederation Centre and to The Charlottetown Festival title sponsor, CIBC. Appreciation is extended to media sponsors Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, CTV, and The Guardian.

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

This summer’s mega-concert musical, Million Dollar Quartet is set to open at The Charlottetown Festival at Confederation Centre next week. Sponsored by Tim Horton’s, the most anticipated Island production of the year has been on fire at the box office all year and promises to wow theatregoers when the curtain lifts on June 14.

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 In December 1956, a 20 yr. old Jerry Lee Lewis, 21 yr. old Elvis Presley, 24 yr. old Johnny Cash, and 24 yr. old Carl Perkins stepped into the legendary Sun Record Studios under the direction of Sam Phillips and created an evening of musicianship that, by today’s standards, would have taken months to arrange and negotiate.

 “Imagine what it would have been like to be a fly on the wall and experienced that evening first-hand,” enthuses Director and Choreographer Tracey Flye. “The comradery, the competition, and the opportunity to get a private glimpse into the lives of these young men — out of the spotlight for a few precious hours and able to simply be themselves and revel in each other’s musical talents.”

 That is what Million Dollar Quartet promises — a momentary glimpse into these four extraordinary lives, under ordinary circumstances. Four young musicians unaffected by their public persona for an evening, able to play for the pure joy of playing. “How lucky are we that the producer and architect of that evening, Sam Phillips, had the foresight to make it all happen!? “ exclaims Flye.

 The cast includes Greg Gale (Cash), Matthew Lawrence (Elvis), Jefferson McDonald (Jerry Lee), Ed Murphy (Perkins), Alicia Toner (Dyanne), and Stephen Guy-McGrath (Sam Phillips). Additional accompaniment is provided by Trevor Grant (Fluke, the drummer) and Evan Stewart (Brother Jay Perkins, bass).

 Million Dollar Quartet is musically directed by Bob Foster, with sets and costumes from Corey Sincennes, lighting by Michael Walton, and sound design by Peter McBoyle. The original concept and direction is by Floyd Mutrux, with the book by Colin Escott and Mutrux. Adam Brazier is Artistic Director for The Charlottetown Festival.

 Special thanks are extended to the Government of Canada for their support of Confederation Centre; production sponsor, Tim Horton’s; and The Charlottetown Festival sponsor, CIBC. Appreciation is extended to media sponsors Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, CTV, and The Guardian.

The New Anne Cast on Board the New Anne

Festival Casting: Full Company announced for 2017 AnneRevival
George Masswohl to play Matthew, Susan Henley as Marilla; Josée Boudreau as Miss Stacey
 
Complete casting has been announced for Anne of Green Gables—The Musicalat The Charlottetown Festival. The Adam Brazier-directed production is undergoing a major three-year revival, with new sets, costumes, sound design, even a new Green Gables house, and many more surprises to be unveiled over the next three summers. 
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The 2017 cast is anchored by AJ Bridel as Anne Shirley, with PEI’s Aaron Hastelow as her foil and sometimes love interest, Gilbert Blythe. Joining them as Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert are George Masswohl and Susan Henley. Other leads include Josée Boudreau as Miss Stacey, Marlane O’Brien as Rachel Lynde, Katie Kerr as Diana Barry, and newcomer to the Festival, Kelsey Falconer as Josie Pye. 
 
Sponsored by RE/MAX Charlottetown, the internationally acclaimed musical opens its 53rd season on June 26 in the Homburg Theatre. The Charlottetown Festival is sponsored by CIBC.
 
Masswohl is a five-time Dora Award nominee and a regular at Stratford and Shaw Festivals. He has performed across Canada with his baritone trio, BRAVŪRA, and returns to Charlottetown after performing in Johnny Belinda in 1998. “I am very happy to be returning. I can’t wait to walk the same streets and tread the same boards as the many great actors who have played Matthew before me,” he remarks. 
 
“P.E.I. carries great significance in my life,” he continues. “My mother – another Anne with an E – as a girl, was so transported by L.M. Montgomery’s work that she took her first opportunity to emigrate from Scotland to Canada. She wouldn’t set foot on the island of her dreams until that summer I was at the Festival. I’m hoping she’ll be able to make the trip this season. It would be a great honour to bring Matthew to life in her presence.”
 
Henley returns to the Festival following turns in Spoon River, Evangeline, Canada ROCKS! and as Mrs. Lynde inAnne of Green Gables—The Musical. The Saskatchewan native has performed in all major theatres across Canada and the United States, including three seasons at Stratford.
 
Additional casting includes Festival returnees: Eric Dahlinger, Robbie Graham-Kuntz, Stephen Guy-McGrath, Alana Hibbert, Melissa Kramer, Connor Lucas, Julain Molnar, Jamie Murray, Melanie Phillipson, Kristen Pottle, Adam Sergison, and Alicia Toner. Newcomers to this theatre include: Evan Taylor Benyacar, Greg Gale, Matthew Lawrence, Nicole Norsworthy, and Ashley St. John.

Join the Cast of Volunteers at the Centre

Our volunteers play a vital role in providing our visitors with warm and friendly hospitality at its best during their visit to Confederation Centre of the Arts. The goal of the volunteers is to enhance the experience of our visitors.

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What volunteers do:

· Greeting guests arriving through the doors of the Cofederation Centre
· Providing island hospitality at its best by giving accurate and helpful information
· Promoting all services and facilities of the Confederation Centre
· Assists other departments with office tasks as required
· During The Young Company performance – distribute programs, pins and Canadian flags
· Provide the role of greeter prior to start of performances
· Helps with dress up booth in lobby pre-show

Requirements: Must be friendly, outgoing, customer focused individual with a positive attitude who wants to be part of the Guest Services team of Volunteers.

Hours: Volunteers are needed Monday-Saturday. Hours are flexible. Various shifts available.

Examples:

11am -1:30 (during Young Company Performance and Confederations Players Vignette at Province House
6:30 pm – 7:30 Pm Main entrance at Confederation Centre prior to performances to welcome guests and or facilitate the dress up area in lobby pre show.

Cruise ship days (shifts are flexible).

Application Process: Anyone interested in being part of our cast of volunteers please contact Joy Gallant, Manager of Guest Services at jgallant@confederatoncentre.com or call 628-6118. Deadline May 16, 2017.

Volunteer hours are eligible for Canada Bursary program for grade 11 and 12 students.

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.