Anne & Gilbert, The Musical marks 500th performance
The celebrated musical about Anne of Green Gables in love, Anne & Gilbert, The Musical will mark its 500th public performance tonight.
This landmark is unusual for Canadian musicals, one of the few Canadian musicals in recent decades to have received so many performances.
The 500 performances have been spread across the country, with performances in Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Western Canada. For 2010, the performances will likely move into the thousands as the marketing push by the Samuel French company will yield numerous U.S. productions.
Anne & Gilbert, The Musical is based on the sequel novels to Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. First produced in the 150-seat Victoria Playhouse theatre in Prince Edward Island, it now attracts 20,000 theatre goers each summer in Summerside. It is written by Nancy White, Jeff Hochhauser and Bob Johnston.
"We are thrilled about reaching the 500th performance mark," said producer Campbell Webster. "It is especially exciting given that Anne & Gilbert's sterling critical and audience reputation has been built largely by Islanders. The Anne & Gilbert company is almost 90% Islanders and over five years they have worked hard to create a world class show."
The numerous performances for Anne & Gilbert are likely soon headed for faraway shores, with plans underway for a Japanese tour in 2012.
Anne & Gilbert runs until Sept. 20 at the Harbourfront Theatre, with two rare matinees scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12. and Sunday, Sept. 20.
To book tickets to the any of the remaining performances, including the 500th performance, call 1-800-708-6505 or visit www.AnneAndGilbert.com.
I came across this review of Anne and Gilbert on a blog called The Way I See It by Amanda Campbell and wanted to share it.
This info was listed in the Tourism PEI e-mail newsletter today:
The internationally celebrated musical about Anne of Green Gables in love is offering FREE children's tickets to this year's production. Acclaimed by Newsweek as "Such a Hit!" and The Guardian as "Hands down the best!" Anne & Gilbert runs until September 19th. For more information and to book tickets: 1-800-708-6505.
Children 12 and under. Offer valid with the purchase of at least one adult ticket per coupon. Call now to reserve your free ticket: 1-877-566-3346. Must present Coupon to Box Office to receive free ticket.
You can >print the coupon at the Anne2008 website.
When Anne & Gilbert begins it run this Tuesday, June 23, a new actor and recording artist will be assuming the role of Gilbert Blythe. Michael Hughes will be portraying the role for the first time opposite Rebecca Parent's Anne Shirley, who is the acclaimed Island actress returning for her third season.
Photograph courtesy of www.mickehughes.com
In addition to being a gifted actor, Michael Hughes launched his recording career in December of 2008, with the release of his first, and widely praised new self-titled CD. Canadian Rock Legend Rik Temmet of Triumph raves that Michael Hughes is "The New 'Blue Eyes,'" with a "...beautiful smooth crooner range and falsetto. Smokey Robinson would kill for that."
Featuring a variety of standards such as "Kissing a Fool" and "You're All I Need to Get By," Hughes' debut effort is evocative of many of the past century's greatest singers including Van Morrison, James Taylor, and Frank Sinatra. The CD is an eclectic mix of jazz, pop, and R&B covers delivered by Hughes with a soaring range that spans over four octaves.
As a performer, Michael Hughes comes to a lead role in Anne & Gilbert with a prestigious international resume including two years in Japan as a star performer for Walt Disney Corporation. "We are excited by the talent Michael has," said Anne & Gilbert producer Campbell Webster, "As an actor, dancer and singer he is fantastic onstage partner to Rebecca Parent."
To hear tracks from Michael Hughes CD, visit www.mickehughes.com, where you can also learn more about Michael's career, including photos from his years in Japan. To buy tickets to www.AnneAndGilbert.com or call 1 800 708 6505. Anne & Gilbert runs from June 23rd to September 19th at the Harbourfront Theatre.
Here's a nice article on Martha Irving, the actress playing Marilla Cuthbert for a second year in Anne and Gilbert - The Musical.
Made for Marilla
Martha Irving uses her early years on P.E.I. to influence her character in the Harbourfront Theatre production of Anne & Gilbert - The Musical
BY SALLY COLE
June 19, Friday, 2009
Martha Irving believes her life has many parallels with the story of Anne of Green Gables.
“Like Anne, I moved to P.E.I. when I (was a girl). I came not as an Islander but immediately fell in love with the place.
“We lived in an old farmhouse with green gables. I also played in the woods near our house and loved the romantic idea of going into the garden and picking beans for supper and hanging the wash on the line. These things imbued my romantic soul with love for this place,” says the Canadian stage and screen actress.
In her life, there was also a Gilbert — a boy she competed for marks with (and felt shy about) and a girl she met in Grade 7 who became her Diana.
“We’ve been best friends all our lives,” says Irving, the daughter of Ron and Daphne Irving, who grew up in the rural community of York Point, which is now part of the Town of Cornwall.
Like many other girls, the works of L.M. Montgomery influenced her life.
“From an early age, her stories resonated with me. Then after I got married I had myself a little redhead. Now 15, she is quite precocious with a huge vocabulary and imagination.
“Luckily she doesn’t have Anne’s temper — knock on wood,” laughs the mother of Madelaine Claire Higgins.
While she shares similarities with Anne, Irving’s theatrical desires have leaned towards a certain spinster.
And that’s why she is so happy to come home again this summer to perform the role of Marilla Cuthbert in Anne & Gilbert - The Musical.
“I always wanted to play Marilla. But I had to wait until I was old enough. And now I’m so lucky that this opportunity came along,” says Irving who will reprise her role for the second year when the curtain rises on the show at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside on June 23.
Based on Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island, which are sequels to Anne of Green Gables by Montgomery, the musical by Nancy White, Bob Johnston and Jeff Hochhauser chronicles Anne’s coming of age and her rocky romance with Gilbert Blythe, her childhood friend and rival.
“What I like about (Marilla) is her conflicted character.
“She feels tremendous emotion, but she’s not allowed to express it.
“So she has this wonderful prim and proper side mixed with vulnerability so there’s always something interesting in the scene as she tries to figure out how to express herself and not be overcome,” says Irving.
Her favourite part about doing the show is getting to sing two songs — a duet with Rachel Lynde called Our Duty and When He Was My Beau, a soulful solo about lost love.
“After playing a person who has trouble expressing herself emotionally, I finally get to say all the stuff that’s bubbling inside me,” Irving says.
She also likes making the transformation to an older woman.
“The costume helps and so does the wig. But I have to spend a half hour before the show in makeup — making the lines on my face deeper so the audience can register them,” she says.
Although confident in the role now, stepping onto the stage last year was scary.
“In some ways it was a little bit daunting because everybody has their own view of Marilla here. And everyone takes great pride and ownership in the story.
“So, in a sense the Island has an image of Marilla that you have to live up to. But growing up here and knowing what the people are like — being very private but asking very personal questions — has probably informed my Marilla,” she says.
Irving’s understanding of language is definitely a bonus, says director Heidi Ford.
“On stage she speaks with a soft Island accent, exactly what I was looking for. She brings it into her song work and scenes,” says Ford.
As a cast member, Irving is inspirational.
“Martha is an incredibly intelligent woman so she brings such intelligent, detailed work into her role as Marilla,” says Ford.
“As a company member she is a wonderful spirit.”
At a glance
Martha Irving fast facts
Schools: Parkdale Elementary, Cornwall Junior High, Charlottetown Rural High School, Mount Allison University and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
Favourite food: Sushi.
Favourite book: Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson. “It helped me a lot through a difficult time.”
Favourite movie: Whale Rider and The Lives of Others.
Things to take to a desert island: A musical instrument, pen and paper, a sense of humour, my husband, his sailboat.
Words to live by: “Treat everything in life as a lesson — the good and the bad, the easy and the challenging.”
Trivia: She likes to plays a driving game called Padiddle even when she's on her own. Irving is also a reiki practitioner. It's a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.
Recent projects: “I just finished a movie in Halifax. It’s working title is Halo and it stars P.E.I.’s own Martha MacIsaac. She’s the sweetest person.”
Future projects: Irving’s theatre company LunaSea Theatre, will be producing Twelfth Night in a cathedral in Halifax at Christmas.
Websites: www.jubileetheatre.com, www.anneandgilbert.com.
Island Classic is Published on Human Foot: Anne & Gilbert, the internationally celebrated Island musical, has reached a new low0 comments at 10:58 AM
Island Classic is Published on Human Foot
Anne & Gilbert, the internationally celebrated Island musical, has reached a new low.
Anne & Gilbert, after years of reaching critical heights in major publications including NEWSWEEK, Variety, The Dallas Morning News and The Toronto Star, is treading close to the ground.
One of the Island performers who has appeared in both the Prince Edward Island and Ontario productions, has tattooed Anne & Gilbert's music on one of his feet. Nick Whelan, an actor in three of Anne & Gilbert's Island productions, as well as a 2008 two-month tour of major Ontario theatres, has permanently emblazoned musical notes from Anne & Gilbert's signature tune, Island Through & Through, on one of his feet.
Anne & Gilbert co-writer Nancy White noted that while she is pleased that prestigious New York theatre publisher Samuel French will soon publish Anne & Gilbert, Whelan's tattoo is in fact the first publication (and most permanent) of the musical. For his part, actor/singer/dancer Whelan said that the toe-tapping tune found its way to his left foot because of his love for Anne & Gilbert and its connection to the Island.
Anne & Gilbert, and Whelan's dancing tattooed left foot, debuts for its fifth season, at Summerside's Harbourfront Theatre on June 23rd. For tickets visit www.AnneAndGilbert.com or call 1 800 708 6505.
On Saturday, July 18th there will be a new marathon held in PEI, although this one involves sitting, not running.
It is the Anne marathon, where Anne enthusiasts can watch both Anne musicals, 6 hours worth, in one day.
Together Anne of Green Gables, The Musical and Anne & Gilbert, the Musical represent stage adaptations of the first three novels in L. M. Montgomery's novels about Anne of Green Gables, following her story right to her marriage to Gilbert Blythe.
Anne theatre enthusiasts will begin their Saturday with an afternoon performance of Anne of Green Gables, The Musical at 2pm. They will then have a roughly three hour break between shows before seeing Anne & Gilbert, The Musical at The Harbourfront Theatre which begins at 7:30pm. By enjoying both plays in one day, Anne enthusiasts will enjoy a 20% by buying the tickets together. Separately the tickets in this package are worth $103.75, the package sells for $83.00 even.
There are only twenty ticket packages available for the Anne Marathon, so theatre goers are advised to act quickly. To order your Anne Marathon tickets, call the Harbourfront Theatre box office at 1 800 708 6505 between noon and 5:30 pm, Monday to Saturdays.
Print out this Anne and Gilbert 2009 Poster, which was sent to me by Campbell Webster, the show's producer. The poster features a scene Anne and Gilbert.
Feel free to download the Anne and Gilbert 2009 poster, print it out, and decorate your home, fridge, kiosks, dorm room doors or bulletin boards around town.
You'll need to download the free Adobe Reader to view the poster.