My Favourite Canadian Shows
Canada Day is one of my favourite holidays. Naturally, I took the opportunity to create a post celebrating Canadian theatre!
Here’s a list of my favourite Canadian plays and musicals and what they’re all about.
Hope you enjoy, eh?
Come From Away
This musical, by Irene Sankhoff and David Hein, celebrates kindness and humanity on our darkest days. It has gone on to become the longest-running Canadian musical on Broadway and has played all over the world.
Come From Away is set in Gander, Newfoundland in the days following 9/11. When U.S airspace closed after the terrorist attacks, thirty-eight airplanes landed unexpectedly in this small Canadian town. The amount of stranded travellers doubles the population of Gander, and the townspeople band together to provide comfort and shelter for their visitors until it is safe for them to return home.
Anne of Green Gables: The Musical
This musical adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables was written by Don Harron, Norman Campbell, Elaine Campbell, and Mavor Moore. It premiered in 1965 and has been performed annually in its Charlottetown home. It has been named the longest-running annual musical theatre production by The Guiness Book of World Records.
When Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, two ageing siblings living at Green Gables, agree to adopt a boy to help around the farm, they end up receiving a girl by mistake. Despite being the opposite of what they wanted, Anne quickly warms their hearts and the Cuthberts agree to let her stay at Green Gables. With her fiery temper and wild imagination, Anne finds herself on a number of adventures within Avonlea as she makes herself a home for the very first time.
Anne and Gilbert
This musical picks up where Anne of Green Gables: The Musical left off. While the first book is the most well-known, Montgomery wrote eight novels and a series of short stories about Anne, her friends and family. Anne and Gilbert covers the second two books Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island. This musical follows Anne’s journey into adulthood, as she starts her first teaching job and then pursues her studies at Redmond University.
Jeff Hochouser, Nancy White, and Bob Johnston have created a beautiful adaptation, focusing on the relationship between Anne and her rival-turned-friend Gilbert Blythe.
The Drowsy Chaperone
This musical by Bob Martin, Don McKellar, Lisa Lambert, and Greg Morrison is another well-known Canadian musical. It opened on Broadway in 2006 and went on to win five Tony Awards and play all over the world.
The Drowsy Chaperone is a parody of American musical theatre of the 1920s and is told via Man In Chair, an aging musical fanatic who talks us through his favourite musical record. As he listens to the musical, the show within the show comes to life.
This gorgeous musical by Norm Foster and Steve Thomas is set in Jasper, Alberta and tells the story of six people who happen to meet by chance waiting for the evening train.
The story begins when Rebecca returns to Jasper Station for a reunion. Five years ago, she had met four other passengers all looking to catch a train to a new life. From there, the story is told in flashback as each of the passengers reveal their reasons for leaving, and what they hope to find. The five passengers, along with station master, Bert, agree to meet five years later to share stories of their journeys.
This play by David French is a prequel of sorts to his series of plays telling the story of the Mercer family.
Salt-Water Moon is set on a summer night in Coley’s Point, Newfoundland in 1926. A year after leaving for Toronto without a word to his sweetheart, Jacob Mercer arrives on Mary’s doorstep, intent on winning her back. Mary, however, has no intention on being won. Not only is she still hurt from how he chose to leave, but she has become engaged to Jerome MacKenzie. Jacob is unwilling to take no for an answer and spends the moonlit night trying to convince Mary to fall back in love with him.
This play by Sharon Pollock is a chilling retelling of the infamous Lizzie Borden story. Borden was considered the main suspect when her father and step-mother were brutally murdered in 1892, but she was eventually acquitted due to lack of evidence against her.
The play is set in 1902, with Lizzie Borden visiting her friend, the Actress, for tea. Having heard children chant the popular rhyme accusing Lizzie of murder, the Actress asks her friend what happened the day her parents were killed. Lizzie proposes a game; the Actress will play Lizzie and Lizzie will play the role of Bridget, her family’s maid at the time of the murders.
In these new roles, the two women explore what happened on August 4th, 1892.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy Canada Day!
Let us know your favourite Canadian show by leaving us a comment!