The actresses who will play the roles of Anne Shirley and her kindred spirit, Diana Barry in The Charlottetown Festival's upcoming season were announced this afternoon.
P.E.I.'s Jessica Gallant will play Diana, the consummate best friend, marking Gallant’s first appearance on the festival mainstage.
“I have wanted to delve into the world of Avonlea since I was a child,” said Gallant in a news release from the Confederation Centre. “I am ecstatic to learn more about Diana and bring some of ‘the Island’ to the role! To be working with such an amazing cast and production team is a dream come true.”
The daughter of Allan and Darlene Gallant of Ten Mile House, P.E.I., Gallant is currently studying at Sheridan College and has spent two seasons performing with the Confederation Centre Young Company (Les Feux Follets, Abegweit: The Soul of the Island). She appeared on national television this past fall, singing the Canadian and American anthems for a pair of Toronto Blue Jays games at Rogers Centre. Gallant will also be cross-cast in Evangeline this festival season.
Katie Kerr makes her debut as Anne, becoming the 17th actor to portray the irrepressible orphan since the musical first opened in 1964. Kerr is a two-year veteran of The Charlottetown Festival, having played Diana herself in both 2010 and 2012 while also performing in Ring of Fire.
“We are incredibly proud to see Katie grow into the role of Anne,” says Anne Allan, artistic director of The Charlottetown Festival. “Having watched her shine as Diana for two seasons, we are thrilled for her to bring her own unique spirit to this iconic role.”
Kerr was a Top 10 finalist in the CBC TV series How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and is a soon-to-be graduate of Sheridan College’s musical theatre program. The Windsor, Ont., native will also appear in The Charlottetown Festival’s world premiere of Evangeline, written by Ted Dykstra (2 Pianos, 4 Hands), set to debut on June 26.
“I cannot wait for the 2013 season,” said Kerr. “After spending two seasons as Diana, I am absolutely thrilled to return this year as Anne. I am so excited to pair Canada's longest-running musical with the premiere of the musical Evangeline.”
Anne of Green Gables--The Musical™ previews July 3 with opening night July 4 at Confederation Centre of the Arts. Additional announcements will be made soon regarding the roles of Matthew, Marilla and Gilbert, as well as the leads for the world premiere of Evangeline. Tickets start at $25 and are available at the Confederation Centre box office at (902) 566-1267, or toll free at 1-800-565-0278. Order online and see the full summer calendar at charlottetownfestival.com.