When the Price is All in Your Head

LIVE @the Centre is taking a new approach to ticket pricing with a Pay What You Will (PWYW) offer to see Compagnia Baccalà’s  PSS…PSS on March 21 at 6:00 p.m. in the Homburg Theatre. This is the only stop in the Maritimes for the duo on their Canadian tour.

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“With PWYW theatre-goers of all walks of life can pay a price that is both fair and affordable,” says Darcy Campbell, Director for LIVE @the Centre. He goes on to explain, “By offering these special performances at a price our patrons set for themselves, we are hoping to reach new audiences.”

On the night of the show, patrons will receive an envelope to insert cash or use the slip inside to pay by credit card. Patrons are then asked to drop their envelopes in the bin located in the lobby, or hand them to staff who will be collecting them in baskets. 

Inspired by Chaplin, Keaton and the stars of silent films, this Swiss, two-man team gives a timeless performance of enthralling physicality and exquisite expression. Inventive, exciting, ridiculous, this breathtaking show of mishaps and acrobatics entitled PSS…PSS will have you laughing long after you leave the theatre. Winner of 15 international prizes, including the Cirque Du Soleil prize, PSS…PSS is brilliant, tender, hilarious and ingenious, and unlike anything you have ever seen.

Contact the Centre’s box office at (902) 566-1267, toll free at 1-800-565-0278, or online at confederationcentre.com to book tickets.

Special thanks are extended Sobeys the title sponsor for LIVE @ the Centre! Media sponsors are The Guardian, Ocean 100, and Hot 105.5. Thank-you to the Government of Canada for its support.

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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.

Making Cultural Connections

Before we were named, before we were labeled, even before we belonged” are the first words the audience will hear at the beginning of Susan Aglukark’s show, happening in the Homburg Theatre on January 27 @7:30 p.m. Those words are meant to set the tone for her performance.

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“If there is anything that you want to know about Inuit people, coming to my show is a good place to start,” says Aglukark. “I’m sharing what I have learnt so far.”

Aglukark is one of Canada’s most unique Indigenous artists. Her latest album tells the story of her Inuit ancestors’ journey, a journey that she couldn’t describe until 10 years ago. Like many other Indigenous people, she struggled to feel a connection to her ancestors.

“I finally acknowledged that I had lived most of my life in a constant state of fear that I was lesser than everybody else,” describes Aglukark. “I use the Inuktitut word Ilira to describe it”.

There is no English definition for the word, but Aglukark defines it as emotional discombobulation. She overcame her fears by realizing that she had the power to set the tone when speaking about her ancestors. She calls it making cultural connections.

Aglukark plans to give the audience a full sensory experience during her show through her songs and projected images on stage, to help tell the story of her Inuit ancestors, a story that she believes started long before her people were called Inuit. She acknowledges that her tour is happening during an exciting time for Indigenous artists now that the Canadian government has begun the process of reconciliation with Indigenous people.

“I believe it has allowed us to move into the healing stage as Indigenous people,” explains Aglukark. “Part of that healing is reconnecting to our culture and part of my responsibility as an artist is to practice connecting Inuit people to the past.”

Aglukark appreciates cultural organizations like the Centre that help to set a positive tone before shows, by stating at the beginning of each performance that the audience is standing on traditional Mi’kmaq land.

“Acknowledging Indigenous people on their lands is a powerful symbol of intentions,” says Aglukark. “It sets the tone of we’re here with a good heart and it helps to remove the tension in the room. As an Inuit artist I can’t do the work I do when we’re always in opposition.”

For tickets please visit: http://www.confederationcentre.com/en/show/370-Susan-Aglukark

This tour is part of the Atlantic Presenters Association (APA) and RADARTS’ Canada 150 Performance Series. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada. Special thanks are extended to Sobeys, the title sponsor for LIVE @ the Centre! Media sponsors are The Guardian, Ocean 100, and Hot 105.5.

Celebrating the Super Duper Fantabulous Smorgasbord

What do 25 step dancers, two stilt walkers, and an improv troupe have in common? They are all performing in this year’s Confederation Centre of the Arts Holiday Variety Show, happening December 15 and 16 in the Homburg Theatre.

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The Holiday Variety Show presents the very best in Island artists and community players. Artistic Director, Adam Brazier (Evangeline) alongside Patty Sullivan (Kids CBC), will host a variety show where audiences can expect a smorgasbord of entertainment ranging from an all-female barbershop quartet to step dancers, and we can’t forget the return of beloved Islander Tara MacLean.

“This show is meant to celebrate our community,” says Adam Brazier, artistic director for the Centre. “By doing so, we’re creating a unified spirit of joy this holiday season.”

The show opens with Brazier directing a make-believe musical number, as he comes up with a new concept for a holiday variety show that features talent from the Island community. The audience then becomes a “fly on the wall” as Brazier adjudicates the auditions, which are hilarious and maybe a little bizzare. In the final act the actual Holiday Variety Show is performed.

With a cast of over 90 people, ranging in ages from 6 to 75, this year’s Holiday Variety Show will leave you full of joy, gratitude, and jubilation for the holiday season.

Special performances also by: The Popalopolots, Ava and Lily Rashed, Roberts Academy of Dance, The Mi’kmaq Confederacy, Maria Campbell, Justin Simard, and many more.

For tickets please visit: http://www.confederationcentre.com/en/show/384-The-Confederation-Centre-Holiday-Variety-Show

Special thanks are extended to Sobeys, the title sponsor for LIVE @ the Centre! Media sponsors are The Guardian, Ocean 100, and Hot 105.5.

Join the Sisterhood

Menopause can be a difficult time in woman’s life. Hot flashes and night sweats can be annoying, but finding the humour in the experience can make it a little bit better. That is where Menopause The Musical comes in. It’s a show that celebrates women on the brink of “the change” and those who’ve survived it.

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Set in a department store, four women with nothing in common but a black lace bra come to realize that they have more to share than ever imagined. This off-Broadway sensation uses musical parodies to help bring a comedic spin to an otherwise serious topic. The show takes liberties with classic hits – turning the Bee Gees’ Staying Alive into Staying Awake – and audiences will leave with their faces hurting from laughing so much. 

Co-producer Mark Zimmerman describes why there is a need to have a musical about menopause, “At one time this is a topic that people didn’t discuss, but we bring it to life with this show through comedy.” Zimmerman goes on to explain, “By the end, the women in the audience form a sisterhood.”

Spoiler alert…the cast invites all women to come up at the end of the show to participate in a kick line which is supposed to represent the women joining a sisterhood.

The show was actually created from a hot flash and a bottle of wine,” laughs Janet Martin, Co-producer and cast member. “The show’s writer, Jeanie Linders, had a hot flash one night while drinking a bottle of wine with some girlfriends, they started discussing ‘the change’ and so from there she decided to write Menopause The Musical.”

Over the 11 years that Zimmerman and Martin have been involved in this show they’re still amazed at the absolute joy they see on the faces in the audiences.

“Mothers take daughters, sisters take sisters, and friends take friends. It’s a party every night,” Martin states.

And they insist that the show is also MAN-datory viewing for men.

“Men leave the show with a new perspective and new appreciation for what their partner is going through,” says Zimmerman. “Couples that do come seem to walk out of the show closer and happier.”

Martin ends by saying, “Laugher is healing and the show is relatable. It’s so exhilarating for me to see the standing ovations at the end of the night and to know that I brought a lot of happiness to women.”

This hilarious musical parody staged to classic tunes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s will have you cheering and dancing in the aisles. Join us on November 25 @7:30 in the Homburg Theatre.

Visit http://www.confederationcentre.com/en/show/363-Menopause-The-Musical  for tickets.

A Bit of Bollywood

 A Passage to Bollywood is a classic tale of love and friendship. It’s a story of a young village boy who moves to the big city to follow his dream.  The musical follows his journey and the relationships he builds with the woman of his dreams and the ‘Don’- who takes him under his wing. Filled with romance and drama, the story takes on an unexpected twist with a surprise ending.

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It sounds like a journey that we can all connect to in one way or another. But that’s not the only draw for people to come and see the show as part of the Sobeys’ LIVE @ the Centre program this year. The artistic director is as they say in the biz…the real deal.

Ashley Lobo, the Artistic Director of Navdhara India Dance Theatre, is an acclaimed Indian choreographer with over 32 years of experience in performing, choreographing, and teaching, both in India and overseas. With more than 30 Bollywood films under his belt, he has worked with all the top stars from Sharukh Khan, Hritik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai, just to name a few. Lobo studied dance at the famous ‘Bodenweiser Dance Centre’ and the extremely famous Sydney Dance Company. He is also immensely trained in classical ballet, jazz and contemporary styles of dance.

He is excited to bring A Passage to Bollywood to the Island and describes it as a relatable human story told in an entertaining way, “Like a typical Bollywood film, the show is full of song and dance with all the melodrama, romance, action, colour, and excitement you would see on screen – except it is onstage.”

Bollywood is a movement style of dance that incorporates all forms of Indian dance from classical to modern. It also draws inspiration from everyday activities like undoing a light bulb to starting a bike to create dance steps. Set in a surreal canvas that tells real stories, Bollywood dance is what Lobo would describe as an India biryani – meaning a party.

All this talent behind the scenes should make for a spectacular experience for the audience, one that Lobo says they’ll connect with, “It could have been the life of any person who migrated from one city to another or from one country to another.”

Coming to the Homburg Theatre November 15 @7:30 p.m., A Passage to Bollywood promises to turn a night of entertainment on its head.

 For tickets please visit: http://www.confederationcentre.com/en/show/356-A-Passage-to-Bollywood

 

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.