The sun is starting to shine and the snow is starting to melt. The feel of Spring is finally in the air! With the early signs of Spring approaching, that can only mean one thing- the beginning of the summer theatre season. I may be a little biased as I am three of the shows I am about to chat about, but I really think that this is going to be the summer to see theatre on PEI. With so much to offer and so many different stories to share, you’re not going to want to miss any of them. Let’s get started.
Productions, this show is sure to please a crowd of all ages. Telling the story of a day in the life of Charlie Brown, this bright and colorful musical follows Charlie’s constant mishaps and misfortunes through classic songs and dance numbers made famous by the Schulz comic strip, Peanuts.
If art and dance is up your alley, I highly recommend checking out “Banquet” at the Confederation Centre Arts Gallery May 31 to June 7. Choreographed by Mark Sampson and orchestrated by Christina Bouey, this mixture of movement and music explores the idea of immigrants coming together to try and build a cohesive community, fighting through feelings of alienation, homesickness, loss and ultimately, harmony.
2014 marks a big year for PEI due its strong place in history in the year 1864- the year of the Charlottetown Conference and the Meeting of the Fathers of Confederation. To celebrate that union of men, “1864: The Tall Hat Chronicles” will take a comical and satirical look at the Island’s history as it relates to the wider history of Canada and the world from July 1st until October 14th.
Nothing celebrates our nation more than The Charlottetown Festival’s first show to hit the main stage, “Canada ROCKS” June 19 to September 27. Coming back for its third incarnation, this show is sure to be a crowd pleaser of any Canadian music fan in any genre. Along with classic Canadian artists like Celine Dion, Tom Cochrane and Bryan Adams, the show will also feature new tunes from artists such as Metric, Arcade Fire, Justin Bieber and more. Make sure you snag tickets to this toe-tapper.
The Festival’s second and most famous (and now record-breaking) show is of course, the class tale of “Anne of Green Gables”. Celebrating its 50th year, “Anne of Green Gables- The Musical” is sure warm the heart for all ages and lovers of the novels and non-readers alike from July 1 to September 24. Chalk full of great songs, dance numbers and the return of Katie Kerr in the title role with Islander Jessica Gallant by her side as Diana Berry, you won’t want to miss this.
After you’ve seen the original, head across the street to The Guild. There, you will find the continuing story of Anne with “Anne & Gilbert- The Musical” June 17- October 12. Toted as the story of “Anne in love”, you will follow her remarkable journey through amazing Island tunes and some great stepping. Returning once again in the lead roles are Patrick Cook as Gilbert and Ellen Denny as Anne. You’ll be lucky if you don’t have “Island Through and Through” stuck in your head for days afterwards.
Rounding out the Charlottetown Festival’s season is “Searching for Abegweit”, debuting June 26 until August 29. Island legends, folklore and poignant tales are woven into the beautiful folk, blues and pop music of Lennie Gallant. The show also features multimedia that utilizes film, and visual works from well-known painter Karen Gallant.
Like I mentioned earlier, this is the summer to see shows in Charlottetown so make sure you get your tickets and book your trip to the Island. I look forward to seeing you in Charlottetown this summer.
Tyrell Witherspoon is appearing as Snoopy in “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” at The Guild on May 2-4, 8-10 and will also appear on the Charlottetown Festival stage in both Anne of Green Gables and Canada Rocks. For more on Tyrell, follow on Twitter: @tlwither.