Tag Archives: Homburg Theatre

Rockin’ Robyn

When I first heard of the production Robyn Hood from one of my students in Seniors College, I thought it sounded like quite a riot, considering the play had a cast of 75—Charlottetown’s version of a cast of thousands—and the script by Adam Brazier and Graham Putnam wove several stories together with contributions from the cast. One must certainly investigate a claim of that magnitude. After opening night at the Homburg Theatre, I can say with certainty the claim is completely true.

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The Confederation Centre of the Arts kicked off the Christmas season with Robyn Hood, a comic musical adaptation of the legend of Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest, except this time, Robyn is a woman out to defeat the power-hungry Prince John of the Kingdom of Charlottetown. Maria Campbell, an alumna of the Confederation Centre Young Company, belted out a charmingly exuberant Robyn Hood supported all throughout by Friar Tuck, played Alana Bridgewater, whose powerful and lovely voice filled the theatre—the two were perfectly matched singing together.

Not to be outdone was Maid Marian, played by Jessica Gallant, who matched the mood with her music as she tried to solve her dilemma: to betray or not to betray? Sarah MacPhee’s signature Town Crier role was resurrected yet once again and given the opportunity to rise in the ranks, thanks to Matt Rainnie’s dastardly pouting Prince John’s machinations. He was joined on stage by his two daughters in the Charlottetown ensemble impoverished by being taxed to the max by Prince John.

The numerous scenes offered multiple opportunities to shift around the cast of 75—filling the stage was certainly not a problem in this production. Although the production was not technically perfect, the minute slips here and there were easily covered up by the ribaldry and jokes that spared no one. A great deal of the humor, however, is strictly local and anyone who is not familiar with PEI culture might not understand why people were laughing. There was a generous dose of tongue-in-cheek wit throughout the play and even the songs were selected from a wide range of sources to provide a lively musical tapestry.

Besides the occasional dancer with lower energy levels, the performance was bursting with rollicking fun. Garnett Gallant’s set design was just right and I wonder if anyone else picked up on the bit of irony with the Bundy clock, guitar, golf cart, and Maid Marian’s selfie during the wild chase through the Christmas-lit forest, not to mention the occasional hand microphone appearing on stage after Friar Tuck declared the play would bring us back to a time before cellphones, iPads, and Netflix! Deliberate or not, inconsistencies aside, it all added up to a great deal of fun that might have started a tad slow but certainly built up to a rousing end.

If you’re in for some Christmas cheer, this is just the performance to see!

Review by Cindy Lapena. Used by permission. Originally posted on http://www.onrpei.com.

Ready! Aim! Robyn Hood!

Robyn Hood and her ‘Fairly Merrily Men’ are riding to the rescue this holiday season. Adam Brazier’s comedy-musical Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier comes to life this week, premiering Friday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m. and playing select dates until December 17 at the Homburg Theatre.

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From the comedic minds of Adam Brazier and Graham Putnam, Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre presents a ridiculous musical in the ‘pantomime’ tradition. Expect great music, dancing, and gags in this madcap adventure set in the Kingdom of Charlottetown and Sherwood-Parkdale Forest. Audiences are asked to boo the villain (Matt Rainnie’s tyrannical ‘Prince John’), cheer our heroes (Maria Campbell and Jessica Gallant as ‘Robyn Hood’ and ‘Maid Marian’), and revel in plentiful local humour and holiday cheer.

Robyn Hood features a cast of 75 performers, including Charlottetown Festival regular Alana Bridgewater (Spoon River, Hairspray), Sarah MacPhee (reprising her annual role as ‘the Town Crier’), Putnam (Sketch 22, Annekenstein), and students from the Holland College and Confederation Centre School of Performing Arts. See the full cast list online.

Musical Director Craig Fair leads the production’s many vocalists and community orchestra through an electric song list of musical theatre and pop hits, including ‘9 to 5′, ‘Feel the Same Way Too’, ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ‘Proud Mary’, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and many more. Choreography is from Taryn Verkerk, stage management from Anne Murphy, set design from Garny Gallant, and lighting design from Steve Ross.

Starting at just $25, tickets are on sale now. Visit confederationcentre.com/theatre or contact the box office at (902) 566.1267. The official hashtag is #RobynConfed. Appreciation is extended to production sponsor Maid Marian’s Diner and media sponsors The Guardian, Hot 105.5, and Ocean 100.

Return of the Mittentime Revue

After a four year hiatus to spend time touring, releasing records, winning awards, making movies, writing books, and undertaking a host of new projects, The Mittentime Revue crew is reuniting to bring P.E.I. the kind of artistic Christmas pageantry that only it can present.

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Performing for one night only on December 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Homburg Theatre, the Revue features a who’s who of the East Coast Music scene. Jenn Grant, Rose Cousins, Catherine MacLellan, Tanya Davis, Dan Ledwell, Patrick Ledwell, and Kinley Dowling join forces for a rousing festivity of words and music, laughs and antics, dashing theatrics, and holiday cheer.

Born out of friendship and a shared love of performing, The Mittentime Revue kicked off in 2007 to a sold-out crowd and instant critical and audience acclaim. A five year run solidified its reputation as a season highlight before the team took a break to follow other creative pursuits. Well, pursuit will bring them together for Christmas, eager to dust off the decorations and present the newest version of their hit show.

Said Ann Thurlow in her Guardian review for the last edition of the production, “The Mittentime Revue is exactly like the very best Christmas at home. Except it’s on a stage and there are no dishes. I love this show and I wouldn’t miss it.” Her review continues, “…wrapping a blanket around us that could warm the chill of a thousand winter months.”

Join these celebrated Islanders or a gleeful reunion in P.E.I.’s premiere performance hall. Expect creative renditions of your favourite carols, original poems and stories written just for this occasion, and, of course, the best holiday medley yet. Come ready for serenades and escapades, for the humour this dynamic group so easily expresses – charming, candid, infectious.

The Mittentime Revue is presented as part of Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre. This one-night only performance is sponsored by Hansen Electric. Tickets for this and other seasonal concerts are available at the box office at (902) 566-1267, toll free at 1-800-565-0278, or online at confederationcentre.com. Appreciation is extended media sponsors The Guardian, Hot 105.5, and Ocean 100.

Messiah Returns to Homburg Theatre

Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre presents an afternoon celebrating of one of the most enduring pieces of music in the Western choral tradition. On Sunday, November 27 at 2:30 p.m., the Confederation Singers, orchestra, and four guest soloists perform Handel’s Messiah, the Baroque-era oratorio that celebrates the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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Written in 1741, Messiah is the most famous creation of German composer George Frederic Handel, and its performance still awes listeners more than 250 years after the composer’s death. Ludwig van Beethoven himself, citing Messiah, said that Handel was the “greatest composer that ever lived.”

The concert is an annual tradition at Confederation Centre of the Arts, led by Choral Music Director Donald Fraser. Joining the Centre’s adult choir this year the guest vocalists include: mezzo-soprano Suzanne Campbell, soprano Shannon Scales, baritone Parker Clements, and tenor Sébastien Comtois.

Scales and Campbell, both of Charlottetown, have previously performed Messiah with the Centre’s Choral Programme, while this marks the debut guest performance for fellow Islander, Clements of West Cape. Also making his first performance with the Centre is Montreal’s Comtois, an operatic tenor currently studying at the Université de Montréal with renowned baritone John Fanning.

The Confederation Singers include 75 members this year from across the community. The Singers present an interesting and varied program of music throughout the year, performing seasonal concerts on local stages and at a variety of events. Other concerts include Choral Music on a Holy Day and the popular holiday tradition Sing Along Messiah, where the audience is invited to participate.

Handel’s Messiah will be presented on Sunday, November 29 at 2:30 p.m., in the Homburg Theatre of Confederation Centre of the Arts. Tickets are $25 and are available at the door, at Confederation Centre’s box office, online at confederationcentre.com, or via phone at 902-566-1267 (toll free at 1-800-565-0278).

Special thanks are extended to Maritime Electric, sponsors for the Centre’s Choral Music Programme, and Sobeys, the title sponsor for LIVE @ the Centre! Media sponsors are The Guardian, Ocean 100, and Hot 105.5.

All Live Dance and Music at the Centre

November is the busiest touring month in many artists’ calendars, and Confederation Centre will see 16 different performances over a jam-packed few weeks for Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre.

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The Homburg Theatre hosts virtuosic violinist James Ehnes tomorrow, November 2 for a performance the Ottawa Citizen has called “the very best kind of chamber music experience.” This Grammy Award and 10-time JUNO-winning artist is considered one of the world’s finest violinists and to celebrate turning 40, he is throwing a super-sized birthday party in the form of a national tour. Joined by acclaimed pianist Andrew Armstrong, they will perform ‘Stream of Limelight,’ by Bramwell Tovey, Handel’s ‘Sonata in D major,’ Beethoven’s ‘Spring’ Sonata, and a selection of dazzling pieces that are sure to bring down the house at the Homburg Theatre.

On the other side of the sonic spectrum, Canadian mainstays Theory Of A Deadman have been a major force in rock’n’roll for more than 15 years, touring the world and sharing the stage with everyone from Godsmack to Daughtry, to Nickelback and Mötley Crüe. The Delta, British Columbia-spawned band have the ability to transform their set into an acoustic landscape as well, maintaining the emotional intensity and timbre of their biggest hits. The road warriors visit the Homburg on November 17, playing selections from six different albums.

The Mack will also be busy in November welcoming P.E.I.’s rising star Dylan Menzie on the 12th for his first headlining performance since he released his full length album Adolescent Nature this summer. Fellow East Coast songwriter, Christina Martin returns to The Mack on November 19 while November 18 boasts two shows LIVE @ the Centre: Jill Barber and brother Matthew Barber bring their siblings tour for The Family Album to the main stage that night, while The Mack hosts Clip!, a must-see comedy performance from circus artist, Philippe Trépanier

Clip! is a clown solo show aimed at a young audience, from 4 to 101 — the young at heart. Philippe plays an employee in a theatre preparing for a major international conference. He is constantly distracted from his task, attracted by the only thing that interests him: playing. Playing in a theatre, playing at being a guest speaker, playing with a diabolo, playing the video producer. Will someone finally discover his many talents or will Philippe ‘drop the ball?’

On November 25, the Centre will host its most significant dance performance of the 2016-17 LIVE calendar. Out Innerspace Dance Theatre is a Vancouver-based contemporary company dedicated to the creation of innovative and integral dance works. Major Motion Picture explores timely themes of surveillance, otherness, propaganda and belief through eccentric characters. “The dancing is athletic, satisfying and accomplished,” says a recent Times Colonist review. “You will see things that you have never experienced before – abstract, visceral and challenging – this is bold and exciting contemporary dance.”

For the full Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre calendar, visit confederationcentre.com or drop by the box office. Confederation 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, and Ocean 100.

Inuk Punk Comes to MainStage

Tanya Tagaq‘s music isn’t like anything you’ve heard before. Unnerving and exquisite, this Inuk punk’s vocal expression may be rooted in throat singing but her music has as much to do with electronica, industrial, and metal influences as it does with traditional culture

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The celebrated Canadian singer, recording artist, and Inuk advocate is known for delivering arresting, elemental performances that are visceral and physical, heaving and breathing, and alive. Her shows draw incredulous response from audiences worldwide, and Tagaq’s tours tend to jump back and forth across the map of the world. From a Mexican electronica festival to Carnegie Hall, her music and performances transcend language.

Now ahead of the release of her new album Retribution, Tagaq is set to make her Island debut this month, hitting Confederation Centre’s Homburg Theatre on October 15 at 7:30 p.m. for Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre.

The first new single from Retribution is now available — a hip-hop song about metaphysics, molecular biology, and the female cycle. ‘Centre’ features Canadian rapper Shad, raucous ravens recorded in Nunavut, trombones, and rare lyrical moments from Tagaq.

As told to The Fader online, the singer says, “Our lyrics are about electrons, gravity, the fundamental forces, looking at how physical laws can be applied spiritually and emotionally, and how to centre yourself. As a woman, I know my centering happens where I make my babies, it’s not in my head, it’s in the cavities of my body where I hold blood. It’s where we create.”

Tagaq makes musical friends and collaborators with an array of like-minded talents: opera singers, avant-garde violin composers, experimental DJs, all cutting edge, ranging from Björk to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet to Owen Pallet. Her albums make for complex listening, but her string of Juno nominations and winning of the Polaris Prize attests to her ability to make difficult music speak a universal tongue. Enticing, unsettling, and utterly compelling, Tagaq’s music consistently delivers.

For ticket information and the entire Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre season calendar, visit confederationcentre.com/live or contact the box office at (902) 566.1267. Tickets for all shows are now available.

Appreciation is extended to Sobeys, the returning title sponsor for LIVE @ The Centre. Confederation 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, and Ocean 100.

Final Countdown at the Festival

Confederation Centre is proud to present one more week of the touching new musical Belles Soeurs: The Musical — the closing production of a very memorable Charlottetown Festival season. Crackling with electricity and performed by a powerhouse all-female cast, Belles Sœurs plays the Homburg Theatre until Saturday, October 1.

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For a limited time, the Centre is offering 35% off theatre tickets for this heartfelt rags to riches story. To obtain this special discount – for Tier 1 & 2 seating only – patrons should contact the box office, quoting promo code ‘belles35’.

This promo ends on Monday, September 26 and for more information or tickets, visit confederationcentre.com/charlottetownfestival or contact the box office, toll-free, at 1 (800) 565.0278.

In Belles Soeurs: The Musical we meet working-class housewife Germaine Lauzon, played by Canadian treasure and Dora Award-winner Lisa Horner (Little Mosque on the Prairie; Kinky Boots; Wizard of Oz; Les Mis). Germaine wins one million department store stamps – the Jamie Oliver stamps of the 1960’s – and invites her Montreal family and friends over to celebrate. But pride + greed = envy! The women complain aggressively, overshare shamelessly, and fantasize freely while secretly coveting Germaine’s precious stamps.

Richly textured and outrageously fun, Belles Sœurs will sweep you through joy and drama, laughter and tears, all resonating through the medium of the modern musical. Audiences will fall in love with hits such as ‘I Want it All,’ ‘Johnny,’ and the incredible ‘Ode to Bingo,’ leaving them humming for days.

This touching musical is based on Michel Tremblay’s internationally­-celebrated play and is produced by Copa de Oro and the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts. Adapted and directed by René Richard Cyr in collaboration with the award winning duo Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, Tremblay’s tale takes on a whole new dimension in this musical Opening Night Reviews calls: “Hilarious, a landmark piece of theatre…a quiet riot of piety and a cautionary tale of commercialism.”

The Charlottetown Festival is presented by CIBC. Confederation 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.

A Quiet Riot

The English musical theatre adaptation of Les Belles-Soeurs, originally written by Michel Tremblay (his landmark piece of theatre, Les Belles-Soeurs, has been performed around the world in more than 25 languages), is a fun show to behold, but could also be a cautionary tale of commercialism and the perils of piety.

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When dreary housewife Germaine Lauzon (Lisa Horner, who is debuting at The Centre this year, having played in Kinky Boots, Wizard of Oz, Les Misérables (Mirvish Productions); Fiddler on the Roof, Good Mother (Stratford), & TV/Film credits for Little Mosque on the Prairie, Road to Avonlea to name a few. Lisa has also received two Dora Awards for her work in Wizard of Oz and Grey Gardens) wins one million customer loyalty stamps worth $100,000 of free catalogue items and is betrayed by her God-fearing friends and relatives during a stamp licking party, one has to wonder what they are really worshipping. Is it God, materialism, or both?

The performance runs rampant with religious overtones. Germaine’s favourite exclamation is: “St. Therese!”, a French saint who wants for everything in her childhood but joined a convent to serve God when she was 15 years old. Germaine hands out the stamps to her friends, almost as if they are a sacrament, to paste to redemption cards. The most notable, and entertaining, example is the Ode to Bingo stop action, slo-mo number, in the second act, which ends in a tableau reminiscent of da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

The play starts off with a bang amidst an invigorating performance of “I Want It All” with an all-female cast of jealous homespun ladies spanning the generational spectrum trickling in, drooling over the prospect of new furniture, reversible dresses, & 4-slice toasters. It takes place in the working class community of Plateau-Mont-Royal, Montreal, in 1965, in the midst of the Quiet Revolution, a time of cultural introspection for Quebec. The time period is after schools are no longer administered through the Catholic Church and before Expo 67, when French president Charles De Gaulle declared “Vive le Quebec Libre!” on the balcony of Montreal city hall.

The word ‘Free’ is a recurring theme in the script. Germaine and her party guests crave things they don’t have to pay for but also wish to be liberated from their dreary lives. They steal their host’s stamps, diminishing their respective portrayals of piety, leaving Germaine to question her own belief system.

The ‘holier than thou’ attitude of the party goers is most evident when Germaine’s sister Pierrette (played by Geneviève Leclerc in her debut at The Centre, having appeared in: Guys & Dolls, Lies My Father Told Me (Segal Centre); Les Misérables (US and Canadian tours), a club hostess and social pariah, makes an appearance at the end of the first act. Everyone seems scandalized and are hesitant to exchange words with her, even if they see her regularly at the club. Germaine’s daughter Linda (played by Elise Cormier, also debuting at The Centre, appearing in Les Misérables(Le Capitole, La Place des Arts) & Little Women (La Bordée) is anxious to speak with Pierrette about her lifestyle and how she was able to escape the drab existence that plagues the other characters.

One of my favorite numbers included a song of jealousy called ”It’s A Dull Life” featuring some unusual, yet surprisingly delightful percussion choices (by Peter Colantonio with pit credit for Belles Soeurs: The Musical (National Arts Centre) including pots, pans, a washboard & even a kazoo! Another song featured the use of a rocking chair & of course, there’s no other way to describe it other than to say It Rocked! Aside from the music & a story that I think a lot of people can relate to (6/49 & Chase the Ace wishlist fantasies have never been hard to come by around here), the use of gossip & perfectly timed passive-aggressive name-calling kept the laughs rolling throughout this kitchen party of a tale that surfs on the cusp of rags to riches.

This show is excellent and will give audience members a lot to talk about. The creative and technical aspects are all very well thought out and executed. The 1960s kitchen and costumes (Costume Designer: Mérédith Caron who has contributed to more than 150 works & is considered a leader in the field of costume design, having worked at the Stratford Festival & Cirque du Soleil: Criss Angel Believe (Las Vegas) & Amaluna since the beginning of her career in 1978) were brilliantly done, along with the second storey balcony where the characters could sing and emote without having to be on the stage proper. Audience members familiar with the story will recognize Pierrette almost immediately.

Eagle-eyed viewers may also recognize Lisa Horner (Germaine) as the Ikea Start the Car lady, from the iconic commercial (which, oddly, has similar themes to this play). In this show, Horner looks more like Jean Stapleton’s Edith Bunker, which is a testament to the skills of the makeup and costume departments. I enjoyed the costumes of Linda most of all. They were bright, fun, and fit the period; and were a stark contrast to the other ladies’ outfits. Germaine’s party dress is also a showstopper.

Any acting troupes looking for a fun musical with 12 strong female roles, an entertaining book and lyrics (Book and lyrics by Director René Richard Cyr & Music by Juno Award winner Daniel Bélanger), should take a look at Belles Soeurs: The Musical.

Belles Soeurs: The Musical runs from September 13th to October 1st, 2016 at the Homburg Theatre.

Review by Kimberly Johnston and PL Holden, Used by permission. Originally posted on http://www.onrpei.ca.

Coming Soon!

When a Montreal housewife wins one million customer loyalty stamps from a department store, her life is turned upside-down in this heartwarming English-language comedy, Belles Soeurs: The Musical, playing at the Homburg Theatre from September 13 to October 1, 2016.

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The musical is based on Michel Tremblay’s landmark piece of theatre, Les Belles-Soeurs, which has been performed around the world in more than 25 languages.

Mamma Mia! It’s the Official Opening Night!

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Mamma Mia! is terrific fun.

Review by Ben Brantley from The New York Times

Perhaps the single most ecstatic musical to open on Broadway since A Chorus Line. Mamma Mia! leaves you uplifted, enraptured and feeling like a number one!

Review by Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly

Mamma Mia! is a mega-hit that has audiences dancing in the aisles.

Review by Michael Kuchwara from Associated Press

This feel-good musical is a phenomenon! Audiences seeking escapist fun are returning night after night to relive the thrill!

Review by Roma Torre from NY1

The most fun on Broadway! Audiences are going wild!

Review by Liz Smith from Syndicated Columnist