Liz Gilroy remembers the first time she performed at the Confederation Centre of the Arts as part of the Charlottetown Festival cast.
It was in the late 1990s, and she was playing Diana Barry in Anne of Green Gables – The Musical.
“I immediately fell in love with the place. The first season we didn’t use lavs (discrete microphones). We were still belting out (the songs) to the back of the house,” says Gilroy who would return for two more seasons to the Charlottetown Festival.
“The summers were magical. You get a house with three other people and get to walk everywhere and drive to a different beach each Sunday,” says the Toronto actor who made the transition to directing and choreographing four years ago.
Now, she’s back on the Island and hoping to capture some of that magic as the director of A Christmas Carol, a musical by Mavor Moore, which runs on select dates, Dec. 13-21, in the Homburg Theatre of the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
And she’s thrilled with the opportunity.
“To come back and be on the other side of the table in a theatre of this size, with 51 people in the cast, is a dream come true,” says Gilroy, who has been putting everyone through their paces since rehearsals started in mid-November.
And that includes cast member Wade Lynch, who plays the iconic role of Ebenezer Scrooge. The well-known actor has continued to be involved with the Confederation Centre of the Arts for the past several years behind the scenes, directing the past two Christmas season shows in the Homburg Theatre, looking after administrative duties and serving as the Charlottetown Festival’s associate artistic director.
Now, he’s looking forward to be taking centre stage again.
“I’m an actor first. My body is built to get up late, work out late and go to work at 4 p.m. and get home at midnight,” says Lynch, who performed last on the Homburg Theatre stage in Buddy – the Buddy Holly Story in 2010.
His passion for acting runs deep.
“For me, the hardest part of directing the Wizard of Oz and the Sound of Music was saying goodbye (to it) on opening night. Now I get to stay through every curtain, every tear and every sweat,” says Lynch, who is thrilled about playing Scrooge.
“It’s always more fun to play the bad guys because the story arcs are better. Usually for a show to be good, the bad guys have to transform. And the transformation is a lot of fun to play, especially when the character is so huge,” says Lynch, with a laugh.
What’s it like to be a mean and miserable character?
“It’s a relief not to have to win over an audience. It’s nice to be the bad guy and not have to make them like me,” he says.
Besides returning company members, the show marks a return to the work of Mavor Moore, the Confederation Centre’s founding executive director who has written this musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol.
“The transitions are all beautiful, as is the music,” says Lynch, adding that new compositions, such as A Humbug, Christmas Morning and Poor Mister S, are woven into the score, along with traditional hymns.
“The show moves beautifully so the action never stops. Mavor gets it.
“There’s not a dull moment in the show.”
AT A GLANCE
If you are going
A Christmas Carol plays on select dates, Dec. 13-21, in the Homburg Theatre of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown.
Adapted from the Charles Dickens novel, it’s the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the miser, who undergoes a transformation when three ghosts visit him on Christmas Eve.
Tickets for the show are available at the Confederation Centre Box Office. For more information, call 566-1267.