Mainstage musical production getting bumped by 2014 tribute
It will be a major disappointment if the musical Evangeline does not return to the Confederation Centre’s mainstage in two years time. The Charlottetown Festival stage production is wrapping up its debut season later this month with approximately 15 shows left on the schedule.
The tragic love story is based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s heroine Evangeline Bellefontaine who was separated from her husband, Gabriel Lajeunesse, on their wedding day during the expulsion of the Acadians. The opening scene is located at Grand Pre, N.S., but it could be at any French settlement in Acadie, a large region which included parts of Quebec, N.B., P.E.I., N.S. and Maine.
The production follows Evangeline across the landscapes of America as she spends years in a search for Gabriel. Finally she settles in Philadelphia and, as an old woman, works as a nun among the poor. While tending the dying, she finds Gabriel among the sick and he dies in her arms.
The subject matter is not what you would normally consider ideal fodder for a musical, which is a good reason that it took Ted Dykstra, who wrote the music and lyrics, 10 years to get this sweeping, epic production to the stage.
Evangeline, with a strong infusion of traditional music and dance of the Acadian, Maritime and Cajun cultures, has drawn rave reviews, above expected ticket sales and positive audience reaction.
To mount the show cost $1.5 million. With a cast of more than 30 and a full orchestra, one review heralded the show as one of the most ambitious musicals ever conceived in Canada.
Next year Evangeline will be bumped by a local theatrical production based on the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, which led to the founding of the Dominion of Canada.
The centre anticipates bringing Evangeline back in a couple of years. The epic love story has a good chance to become a longtime mainstage companion to Anne of Green Gables — The Musical, which celebrates its historic 50th anniversary next year. It will be a tragedy if this relationship doesn’t have a happy ending.
North Lake awash in good news
The official announcement of major improvements at North Lake harbour could not have come at a better time. The $1-million expansion underway at the boat pen is good news, not just for lobster fishermen but perhaps even more importantly for tuna fishermen and various charters from far and wide.
As North Lake harbour manager Sheila Eastman said, during busy times the number of boats could double from 100 to 200, which requires three or four boats abreast, tied up in the North Lake pen. An expansion is needed for safety and to accommodate a growing tuna charter industry. North Lake is not just a harbour serving the lobster and tuna industry, but also hosts approximately 65 herring boats.
The Canada International Tuna Cup Challenge returns to North Lake Harbour Sept. 10-13, where the self-proclaimed “Tuna Capital of the World” will play host to at least 25 teams from all over the globe. There is lots of excitement for the challenge which has a large number of social events involved.
One has to be in Eastern Kings County at this time of the year to fully appreciate the buzz associated with the tuna charter fishery. Motels are busy, restaurants are busy, golf courses are busy and it’s all because of the tuna charters which have become a major economic generator.