Casting Announced for 2019 Charlottetown Festival

Select Casting Announced for Mamma Mia! and Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical

The 2019 Charlottetown Festival launching 50% off sale, November 17 to December 1

Artistic Director Adam Brazier, on behalf of Confederation Centre of the Arts, has announced select casting for The 2019 Charlottetown Festival. Sponsored by CIBC, the Festival includes six productions and runs June 28 to September 28.

Rebecca Poff and Katie Kerr will star as mother and daughter Donna and Sophie in Mamma Mia!, a co-production with the Grand Theatre in London, playing in the Homburg Theatre August 9 to September 27. Poff turned heads in the Festival’s  2018 concert performance of The House of Martin Guerre and also appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar and Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™. A native of Sudbury, Ontario, Poff has performed throughout the continent, including in the Canadian National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera and the U.S. National/Broadway tours of Show Boat.

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Kerr returns to the Greek Islands of Mamma Mia!, having previously starred as Sophie in the blockbuster 2016 production in Charlottetown, as well as with two other theatres. Kerr’s other credits consist of multiple roles in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™, including the title role from 2013-14, and in the world premiere of Evangeline. “Sophie is really the driving force in Mamma Mia!” says Brazier, who will once again direct the musical. “It’s no wonder Katie has since played the role across Canada; she is a tour de force as Sophi

The Festival’s new production of Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical runs June 28 until July 20 in the Homburg Theatre. Directed by the Festival’s associate artistic, Mary Francis Moore, the powerhouse rock musical is an electric experience, following Hamlet’s quest for vengeance upon his uncle Claudius for killing his father. Aaron Hastelow stars as Hamlet and will also appear in Mamma Mia! as Sophie’s beau, Skye. 

Brazier is pleased to welcome back Festival favourite Cameron MacDuffee opposite Hastelow as Claudius, King of Denmark. MacDuffee recently appeared as a scene-stealing King Herod in the Festival’s Jesus Christ Superstar, and has performed across Canada, including four seasons at Shaw Festival. His Charlottetown highlights include turns in Evangeline, Ring of Fire, and On the Road with Dutch Mason. He will also reprise his role as Harry in Mamma Mia! at the 2019 Festival.

Making her mainstage debut in Kronborg—The Hamlet Rock Musical will be Kimberly Truong as Ophelia. Truong hails from Prince Rupert, B.C. and was previously part of the Confederation Centre Young Company in Les Feux Follets. She has appeared in productions of Les Misérables, West Side Story, and A Chorus Line. Last year, she made her Broadway debut in the celebrated revival of Miss Saigon. “It is thrilling to have Kimberly back at The Charlottetown Festival,“ remarks Brazier. ”She has an extraordinary voice and an undeniable presence onstage.”

The other big news is that the Festival is once again offering a ‘50% Off Sale’ ticket sale for the 2019 Festival. This sale is a favourite for Islanders searching for tickets every summer and is on sale for a limited time only. From November 17 to December 1 these can be purchased at the Centre box office, online, or by phone at 1 (902) 566-1267 or 1 (800) 565-0278. This sale is available for Founders’ Circle members as of November 16.

Additional casting, including a new leading star for Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ and a new Gilbert, will be announced in the months ahead.

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Red Dirt Tales Told

“The stories told here are all very different on the surface but there is a common thread running through them and that thread is one of perseverance and determination.”
-The Buzz

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Stories from the Red Dirt Road is a beautiful tapestry of women’s stories. See it at the Mack this summer. — with Katie Kerr.

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.

Island Strong Anne Opens

The curtain lifted last night at 7:30 p.m. on an especially Island-strong edition of the long-running musical Anne of Green Gables. Jessica Gallant of Ten Mile House, P.E.I. stars as the world-famous orphan, with Charlottetown’s Hank Stinson and Aaron Hastelow as Matthew Cuthbert and Gilbert Blythe. This marks the first time an Islander has played Gilbert in the historic production, and thus the first time both romantic leads have been played by locals.

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Festival veteran Marlane O’Brien, of Crapaud, P.E.I. plays iconic busy-body, Miss Rachel Lynde, while Dora Award-winner Charlotte Moore reprises her turn as Marilla Cuthbert. New Island home-owner Katie Kerr returns to the role that first brought her to the Festival, as Diana Barry, and another Festival favourite and ‘Islander-by-choice’, Josée Boudreau debuts as Miss Stacey.

The creative team that brought the Guinness Record-holding musical to life last season has returned in 2016, with Wade Lynch in the director’s chair alongside Musical Director Bob Foster and Choreographer Robin Calvert.

“With a history that has enjoyed success under some of the country’s greatest directors, and that has benefited from the talents of legions of actors, musicians, designers, technicians, and theatre artisans of every stripe, it is no small task to approach a new season with the responsibility of maintaining the high standards of previous productions while attempting to bring something new to the play and the story,” says Lynch, who performed in many seasons of the beloved musical himself.

“That said, we must never treat our production as an antique; Anne is new every time the curtain goes up,” he continues. “When Anne Shirley arrives at Bright River she is not only encountering the possibility of a new family, she is entering a whole new world. As theatre artists it is our challenge and our responsibility to present a musical theatre experience that is new for every performance. With the tremendous talents and abilities of our 2016 company, you can be certain that the Anne of Green Gables experience our audiences enjoy this summer is brand spanking new!”

Anne of Green Gables plays select dates until August 27. Confederation Centre wishes to recognize CIBC as the returning title sponsor of The Charlottetown Festival. The Centre also acknowledges the Department of Canadian Heritage; the Government of P.E.I., and the City of Charlottetown for continued support. Media sponsors are The Guardian, Hot 105.5, Ocean 100, and CTV.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Mamma Mia!

23 Canadian triple-threats, a world-class theatre, a mesmerizing pop-rock soundtrack, and a trip down the aisle you’ll never forget. It all culminates Saturday night when The Charlottetown Festival launches the Atlantic Canadian premiere of Mamma Mia!

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Over 60 million people have fallen in love with the characters, story, and absorbing music that make Mamma Mia! the ultimate feel-good musical. This sunny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise where on the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to find her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island.

Inspired by the mega-hits of Swedish superstars, ABBA, Mamma Mia! stars Katie Kerr and Eliza-Jane Scott, with David Cotton, Jan Alexandra Smith, Nicola Dawn Brook, Réjean Cournoyer, Stephen Guy-McGrath, Cam MacDuffee, and many more. For a complete cast list, visit Confederation Centre online.

Mamma Mia! plays select dates from June 1 to September 3 in the Homburg Theatre. For show times and tickets, contact the box office or visit http://www.confederationcentre.com. Adam Brazier is directing, with Bob Foster and Kerry Gage respectively leading music direction and choreography. Cory Sincennes is set, costume, and props designer, Michael Walton is lighting designer, and Peter McBoyle is sound designer. Craig Fair is associate music director and Production Stage Manager is Matt MacInnis.

The Charlottetown Festival is presented by CIBC. The Centre wishes to recognize Tim Hortons as the title sponsor for Mamma Mia! and 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.

Festival Completes Casting of Mamma Mia!

It’s an early start to the season for the cast and crew of The Charlottetown Festival. Rehearsals kicked off last week for the P.E.I. theatre event of the year — Mamma Mia!, opening June 1 in the Homburg Theatre.

Complete casting has been announced for the mega-musical, which stars Eliza-Jane Scott and Katie Kerr as a mother and daughter on the eve of Sophie’s wedding. Sophie (Kerr) wants her father to give her away, and having read her mother Donna’s diary, secretly invites three guests to the wedding, bringing back three men from Donna’s past to the paradise they last visited 20 years ago. The three gents are: Irish-American architect Sam Carmichael (Réjean Cournoyer), Australian adventurer Bill Anderson (Stephen Guy-
McGrath), and British banker Harry Bright (Cam MacDuffee).

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Local audiences are acquainted with all three, with Guy-McGrath appearing as the fiddle-playing René in last fall’s Evangeline and Cournoyer playing the villainous Hampson in that show as well as the White King in Alice Through the Looking-Glass. MacDuffee starred in Ring of Fire and Dear Johnny Deere, and toured with Cournoyer for the Centre’s 2015 production, The Founding Father.

Sophie’s husband-to-be, the loyal and handsome Sky, played by David Cotton (Baptiste in the world premiere of Evangeline), while Donna’s two best friends are brought to life by Jan Alexandra Smith and Nicola Dawn Brook. For the full Mamma Mia! cast list, see addendum.

For a limited time only, the Festival is offering 20% off performances in the month of June. Use promo code ABBA when contacting the box office online, in person, or via phone. This offer runs from May 21 to 28, applies to Tier-1 and 2 seating only, and is not valid with any other promotion.

“I have seen a lot of theatre in my short 41 years,” says Artistic Director, Adam Brazier. “Never have I seen a party and celebration the likes of Mamma Mia! This show redefined the modern musical and set in motion the success of other jukebox hits like Jersey Boys, We Will Rock You, and Ring of Fire. This pop fable leaves the audience laughing and dancing in the aisles. Somewhere in the crowd there’s you. Join us on a nostalgic journey through the guiltiest pleasure of the summer.” Brazier is joined by Bob Foster, musical director, and Kerry Gage, choreographer.

Mamma Mia! opens June 1 and plays until September 3.

The complete cast in alphabetical order is:

Jak Baradell – Ensemble
Josée Boudreau – Ensemble
Nicola Dawn Brook – Rosie
David Cotton – Sky
Réjean Cournoyer – Sam
Josh Doig – Male Swing
Jessica Gallant – Ensemble
Troy Goldthorp – Pepper
Robbie Graham-Kuntz – Ensemble
Stephen Guy-McGrath – Bill
Aaron Hastelow – Ensemble
Kayla James – Ensemble (U/S Sophie)
Aisha Jarvis – Lisa
Katie Kerr – Sophie
Melissa Kramer – The Priest
Cameron MacDuffee – Harry
Jamie Murray – Ensemble
Sarah O’Brecht – Ali
Jade Percival – Female Swing
Eliza-Jane Scott – Donna
Adam Sergison – Eddie
Jan Alexandra Smith – Tanya
Sarah Vance – Ensemble

Super Troupers Come Trooping

Additional casting has been revealed at The Charlottetown Festival for the international smash, Mamma Mia! Inspired by ABBA’s unforgettable collection of hits, the musical is a celebration of mothers and daughters, old friends and newfound family. The Festival recently announced Katie Kerr as Sophie and co-starring as her free-spirited mother is Dora-Award nominee Eliza-Jane Scott.

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Audiences will remember Scott for her 100-megawatt smile and delight as the White Queen in last year’s Alice Through The Looking-Glass and roles in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™. The Kingston, Ontario native has performed with Soulpepper Theatre Company, the First National and Canadian Tours of The Producers, and for Theatre 20, Stratford Festival, and more.

Donna owns a small hotel on a beautiful Greek island, and she is about to let go of the spirited daughter she has raised alone. For the wedding, Donna invites her two lifelong best girlfriends – practical and no-nonsense Rosie and wealthy, multi-divorcee Tanya – from her one-time backing band, Donna and the Dynamos. Sophie has secretly invited guests of her own however, bringing back three men from Donna’s past to the paradise they visited 20 years ago. Over 24 magical hours, new love blooms on this lush island full of possibilities.

“I am so excited to be back to play Donna,” exclaims Scott. “It’s so meta! This summer I am playing a woman who escapes to a beautiful island to make a living and support her family and here I am, a woman coming to beautiful P.E.I. to make a living and support my family! What? Am I the winner and did I just take it all? Yes Rose!”

Joining her as the Dynamos are Nicola Dawn Brook (Rosie) and Jan Alexandra Smith (Tanya). Smith co-starred in Alice last year as the Red Queen and has appeared in Anne™ in Charlottetown over multiple seasons as Miss Stacey, Mrs. Sloane, and Mrs. Spencer. The Toronto native has performed across Canada, including with the Shaw Festival, Theatre Calgary, Stage West, Theatre 20, and more. This marks Brook’s debut with the Festival, having recently played ‘Trish’ in Mirvish’s blockbuster Kinky Boots. She has also performed in her native U.K. on London’s West End and others with Prince of Wales, Victoria Palace, and Theatre Cymru, as well as film and TV roles in Sweeney Todd and The X-Factor.

Supported by production sponsor, Tim Horton’s, Mamma Mia! plays from June 1 to September 3, 2016 in the Homburg Theatre. Confederation Centre wishes to recognize CIBC as the returning title sponsor of The Charlottetown Festival. The Centre also acknowledges the Department of Canadian Heritage; the Government of P.E.I., through the Department of Education, Early Learning, and Culture, and the City of Charlottetown for their continued support. Media sponsors are The Guardian, Hot 105.5, Ocean 100, and CTV.