As people braved the elements to hear Craig Fair and Charlottetown Festival company members belt out some powerful numbers from “Jesus Christ Superstar”, it felt like a rock concert. Audience members began swaying to the music. And when it was over, there was thunderous applause.
Yes, it’s true. The popular musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice is joining the Island Festival's crown jewel, “Anne of Green Gables–The Musical” on the Homburg Theatre stage this summer.
Written 40 years ago, the timeless rock opera set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally known series of events but seen, unusually, through the eyes of Judas Iscariot.
And artistic director Adam Brazier is looking forward to putting his own stamp on the musical.
“I’m ecstatic to have this opportunity to present this work. The work has such resonance today,” Brazier says.
One only has to look “south of the border” at what’s happening in politics in the U.S. to see how power is being distributed, sought, held and used and abused, he says.
“The story of “Jesus Christ Superstar” remains and we see the exact, same struggles happening today.”
The musical joins the 54th season of “Anne of Green Gables–The Musical”. With a company of 23 amazing triple threats from across the nation, this iconic musical has delighted more than 2.5 million people over 2,500 times at the Centre, and remains the “quintessential” Canadian musical.
Need to know
- “Jesus Christ Superstar”: June 7 – Sept. 22, Homburg Theatre.
- “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical”: June 18 – Sept. 22, Homburg Theatre.
- “Dutch Mason”: June 30 – Sept. 22, The Mack.
- “Stories From the Red Dirt Road”: Aug. 2 – Sept. 21, The Mack.
- Festival tickets and passes go on sale to members of CCOA Sept. 20 and 21 and E-news subscribers Sept. 21. Public tickets go on sale Sept. 22.
Across the street, at the Mack, there are two new Festival-spawned musicals, “Dutch Mason” and “Stories from the Red Dirt Road”.
"Dutch Mason”, by David Bedford and Harvey Sawler, will take audiences on a fictional tour through Atlantic Canada with the prime minister of the blues.
When Mason's regular harmonica player is sidelined, a political science professor and amateur harp player is recruited to join Dutch and his band on a historic road trip that will shock the professor out of his buttoned-down conformity.
Also at The Mack is Stories from the “Red Dirt Road”, adapted by beloved festival regular, Marlane O’Brien, from the book "And My Name Is...Stories from The Quilt" by Margie Carmichael. This is a funny, inspiring, heartfelt piece of four Island stories woven together through song and the red dirt road that joins people’s lives together.
And for the creators, it’s a dream-come-true.
“I’m still in a state of disbelief…It feels amazing,” says O’Brien,
Dean Constable, general manager, is calling it a “bold season”.
“We’re really excited. It’s a very strong and very bold season with four shows running in (repertory). And there’s something for everybody.”
Additional announcements will be made at a later date, including a new Young Company production, so stay tuned.
The festival runs from June 7-Sept. 22, 2018.