CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - It’s official.
After receiving dozens of requests for “Kronborg – the Hamlet Rock Musical” since he became artistic director of the Charlottetown Festival, Adam Brazier is making it happen.
This “celebrated and infamous show” will open the 2019 Charlottetown Festival season on June 28.
“It’s only fitting that the year that our province celebrates homecomings, we bring back home the first Canadian musical to ever be produced on Broadway,” says Brazier.
The musical will bring Aaron Hastelow back to play the lead role.
“From a child of Avonlea to a member of the young company, the first Island Gilbert grows into a brilliant performance as Jesus Christ and now onto Hamlet,” said Brazier of Hastelow.
It was one of the announcements made at the 2019 Charlottetown Festival launch on Thursday at the corner of Queen and Grafton Streets. Around 500 people turned up for the noon celebration that included hot dogs and tunes by Charlottetown Festival performers, directed by Craig Fair.
“Anne of Green Gables – The Musical” will also return for its 55th consecutive summer. The story of the orphan girl will run from June 29-Sept. 28.
Holding the audience in the palm of his hand, Brazier saved (perhaps) the most exciting mainstage musical announcement for last – the return of “Mamma Mia!”
“We’re seeing the homecoming of the most successful (show) in the 54 years of the Charlottetown Festival. You asked for it back. You wrote us emails. You phoned the office. And some of you phoned me at home, and eventually we listened,” he said.
“So, get your tickets quickly or you’ll have to buy them from scalpers from behind Province House.”
The sunny ABBA-inspired tale follows a daughter’s journey to find her father by inviting three men from her mother’s past to her wedding. Presented as a co-production with the Grand Theatre in London, “Mamma Mia” will play in P.E.I. from Aug. 9 to Sept. 28.
Over at The Mack, inspiring shows are also happening.
Tara MacLean’s Maritime love letter, “Atlantic Blue”, a celebration of East Coast songwriters that previously played at The Guild, will hit the P.E.I. stage from Aug. 9 to Sept. 28. In the show MacLean explores the people behind songs like “Sonny’s Dream”, “Put Your Hand in the Hand”, “Fare Thee Well Love” and others. The show will also feature members of the Charlottetown Festival and its orchestra.
At the Mack from July 20 through Sep. 28 it’s “Spinning Yarns”, an funny evening of story and song featuring festival favourite Stephen Guy-McGrath, who will bring to life Newfoundland and Labrador in the early ‘80s: “a world of raucous adventures, death defying escapade, and dubious childcare.”
Brazier calls the 2019 festival a “homecoming season.”
“It’s a homecoming in the sense that ‘Anne’ is always home here. And, then for shows like ‘Kronborg’ to come back after many years and have another life. The same goes for Tara MacLean’s ‘Atlantic Blue’. For Tara to come back here to the festival where her parents met at and performed in, there’s beautiful synchronicity in all those themes. And it’s all about homecoming.
“And, of course, with ‘Mamma Mia!’ coming back it’s a huge source of joy for so many.”
Watch the 2019 Charlottetown Festival announcement in its entirety below:
Below is a clip from last year's performance of "Mamma Mia!"