Alan Doyle to star in new musical premiering at 2022 Charlottetown Festival

·4 min read
Musician Alan Doyle in the q studio in Toronto. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC - image credit)
Musician Alan Doyle in the q studio in Toronto. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC - image credit)

Alan Doyle is starring in a new musical comedy which will premiere at the 2022 Charlottetown Festival.

The Newfoundland-born songwriter and Great Big Sea frontman will play the lead role in Tell Tale Harbour, which will run next summer in P.E.I.

"I'm going to get to fulfil a lifelong dream, and I'm not kidding, of spending the summer in Charlottetown," Doyle said. "I've wanted to do it since the first time I went there in the early '90s with Great Big Sea.

"The whole thing is like a thrill for me, you know, to get a chance to, you know, to learn and collaborate with all these people in this new form and then get to spend ... a bulk of time in Charlottetown. And yeah, it's going to be a fun summer."

The musical, which Doyle co-wrote, will tell the story of a struggling fishing village in Atlantic Canada, whose residents come together to bring a frozen fry factory to town.

"I play Frank. I play the head conjurer of the tales being spun in Tell Tale Harbour," he said. "I play the guy who convinces himself and everybody else securing the doctor in a ... rural town like Tell Tale Harbour is totally doable. And this plan, which looks completely sketchy to everybody else around him, as far as Frank is concerned, is bulletproof."

The musical is based on the screenplay The Grand Seduction by Ken Scott. The script of the musical was co-written by Doyle, Confederation Centre artistic director of performing arts Adam Brazier and Ed Riche.

"Every aspect of that story is relevant to living in Atlantic Canada, where there are communities that only get a doctor for a few weeks every year, there are communities that you know when a when a plant shuts down, they have to relocate and find another place to live," Brazier said.

"Those are some really harsh realities of living here, and so the play deals with that. But it deals with it in such a fun, lighthearted and hilarious way."

Doyle partnered with Come From Away music director Bob Foster to write the music and lyrics.

"With Alan's music on top of that, the thing just screams, you know, Atlantic Canada," Brazier said.

Atlantic in the spotlight

The rest of the festival will also have a strong East Coast theme, which Brazier said reflects their optimism for 2022.

"We want to be welcoming back the world to Atlantic Canada, and our goal is to throw the biggest party we can possibly throw and give everybody a really strong reason to come back to this region and to celebrate the Atlantic Canadian people and our way of life," he said.

As previously announced, Anne of Green Gables—The Musical will be returning to The Confederation Centre of the Arts' main stage for the festival, after the pandemic ended its record run as the longest-running seasonal musical in 2020.

Two productions about pioneering women from Atlantic Canada are planned for The Mack.

Betty's Song, a new play by singer-songwriter Ashley Condon, will start in July. The play is based on the true story of Condon's mother, who was the first woman to captain her own lobster boat in eastern P.E.I.

Hey Viola! by Krystle Dos Santos and Tracey Power is a cabaret-style show about Viola Desmond, which will feature "dynamic and inspirational music." Performances will start in August.

Three shows will also be playing in the outdoor amphitheatre.

Munschables will star Anne cast members bringing stories from children's author Robert Munsch to life.

The Mi'kmaq Heritage Actors will be performing their new show, Epekwitnewaq Mi'kmaq Voices, for a three-week engagement. And the Xclusive Dance Crew will also be performing a new show called Island Vibe, exploring hip-hop, afro-jazz and other music and dancing genres.

"I'm very excited and very optimistic and hopeful that if we all stay vigilant and COVID doesn't come back or another wave doesn't come through, we're going to be able to deliver a really fun and exciting summer of entertainment here," Brazier said.

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