Tag Archives: Charlottetown Festival

A Rock Opera for the Ages

A struggle between people in power and exploring the choices that define a person’s character and their future..Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera that you’ll never forget.

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(Brendan Wall + Aaron Hastelow, Jesus Christ Superstar, Charlottetown Festival 2018)

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House of Martin Guerre Debuts in Charlottetown

The Confederation Centre of the Arts is bringing the critically-acclaimed and multi-award-winning The House of Martin Guerre toThe Charlottetown Festival this September. This intimate concert presentation, starring Adam Brazier and Josée Boudreau, is based on a true story from 16thcentury France and explores what limits an individual confronts to follow their heart.

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The original book was written by Leslie Arden and Anna Theresa Cascio, and then adapted to music and lyrics by Leslie Arden. The story follows a young peasant girl named Bertrande who is forced to marry the abusive Martin Guerre.  After years of unhappy marriage, he abandons her and their son; but years later a stranger returns claiming to be Martin Guerre. He is a transformed individual and Bertrande accepts this person, but then she declares him an imposter and he is sent to jail and trial.

“Making its Atlantic Canadian debut, The House of Martin Guerreis a powerful musical about community, tradition, and what we’re willing to believe for love,” says Adam Brazier, artistic director of The Charlottetown Festival and starring in this musical.

It is one of the most celebrated Canadian musicals ever written, but it was lost to the public for decades because rights of the piece were locked up by American commercial producers. The last productions were in Toronto in 1997 and in Chicago in 1996.  This production at the Confederation Centre, directed by Mary Francis Moore with musical direction by Wayne Gwillim, is a chance for local audiences to see this concert.

“I saw this inspired musical almost 20 years ago and it remains one of the best original Canadian musicals I’ve ever seen,” says Brazier.

Leslie Arden is one of Canada’s foremost musical theatre composers. Her extensive career has taken her around the world, but her love of theatre came from watching The Charlottetown Festival, where her mother, Cleone Duncan, performed for many years in Anne of Green Gables – The Musical™.

The House of Martin Guerre (Concert Presentation) comes to the Homburg Theatre on September 18 at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased now. Appreciation is extended to the title sponsor for The 2018 Charlottetown Festival, CIBC. Media sponsors are Ocean 100, Hot 105.5, and The Guardian.

Soul Sister Takes the Lead

The story of Jesus Christ Superstar is told through the eyes of Judas Iscariot – a tragic figure who is dissatisfied with how Jesus is leading his disciples and what downfalls may come because of it. This season at The Charlottetown Festival, audiences have been raving about actor Lee Siegel’s interpretation of the role.

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This week, people who come to our production of Jesus Christ Superstar will see a new interpretation, as actress Alicia Toner fills in for the iconic part.

“I’ve known since I got my contract for this year that I would be going on this week, so I started going back to the album and the movie and listening again,” says Toner about her preparation. “I also had the entire rehearsal period to watch Lee (Siegel) make Judas into a compassionate but conflicted being and had my own understudy run to get a feeling for stepping into this role.”

Toner is a well-known singer and performer on P.E.I.. Earlier this year she won the SOCAN Songwriter of the Year award with MusicPEI and has been on The Charlottetown Festival main stage for the past six seasons.

The role of Judas, itself, has always been a dream for Toner to play. Toner says, “I definitely did not think I would ever be able to say I got a chance to play Judas. It means a lot to be able to do it here in Charlottetown.”

Adam Brazier, director of Jesus Christ Superstar and artistic director of The Charlottetown Festival, is also excited to see Toner in this role.

“Alicia Toner is a powerhouse force of nature. Her incredible vocals and ability to interpret this story without gender bias or any shifting of narrative offers an amazing experience for anyone who is familiar with this highly celebrated production,” adds Brazier.

For Toner, she feels the narrative of the story doesn’t change with a woman in the role of Judas, but by simply having a different actor playing that part it will be a new experience for audience-goers.

“If you’ve already seen the show, you know that Lee is a force to be reckoned with. We are obviously two different people, genders aside, and seeing the show with a different Judas will be a different experience. That being said, the narrative remains the same. One thing I love about playing Judas as a woman is that nothing needs to change.

If you’ve heard the musical, you also know how vocally-demanding the role of Judas can be. Toner has years of experience as a singer and performer that has allowed her to prepare, vocally, for these parts. Only in one song was the key changed and the rest remains the same. Still, even though she feels she’s ready, she’s also nervous and excited.

“Name the emotion and I am feeling it – excited to share the stage in a different context with this incredible cast and thankful to Lee for creating such a beautiful character for me to step in to.”

Alicia Toner will be taking on the role of Judas from August 15 to 19 and can be seen throughout the season in Jesus Christ Superstar as a Soul Sister and Anne of Green Gables-The Musical as Prissy Andrews until September 22.

Dutch Mason Pulls In

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.

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.