GIRL POWER TAKES CENTRE STAGE AT NEW FESTIVAL PREMIERING IN CHARLOTTETOWN JULY 15
Charlottetown, PE – Girl power is set to take centre stage in Charlottetown this summer with the premiere of the Together At Last Festival on July 15. The new festival, which will run for 8 weeks at the Delta Prince Edward by Mariott, will showcase female icons of the 20th century in three crowd-pleasing shows.
“We’re bringing Patsy Cline, Anne of Green Gables, and the Spice Girls to Charlottetown,” said Campbell Webster, co-producer of the festival. “It’s quite the line-up of powerful women and memorable music, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.”
Earlier this year, Webster and his co-producers, Melanie Cantwell and Nick Whelan, sat down to brainstorm what they could bring to Charlottetown’s theatre scene. The global pandemic proved to be a double-edged sword.
“On the one hand, we weren’t sure where the Island would be this summer in terms of re-opening and how that would impact tourism and the theatre scene,” said Cantwell. “But the pandemic also gave us a unique opportunity to reach out to acclaimed performers in Toronto and invite them to come to PEI for the summer. Normally, these talents would be fully booked, but this year things are obviously a little different.”
In the end, the trio of seasoned producers decided to take a leap of faith and launch a brand new festival featuring three distinctly different shows: A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, Anne Mixtape, and Wannabe: A Spice Girls Tribute.
“We really wanted to bring a breadth of shows to the festival that will appeal to Islanders and visitors alike, as well as to different ages and musical tastes,” said Whelan.
Whelan, who is well-known in PEI’s theatre scene, has performed multiple productions of Anne & Gilbert – The Musical and also works with Cantwell on the CTV Toronto program, The Social. In addition to co-producing the three shows, Whelan will also perform in Anne Mixtape and as Little Big Man in A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline.
A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline will be familiar to some Islanders. The production, which celebrates one of country music’s greatest female artists, was a sell-out success as part of the Charlottetown Festival during the 1990s and 2000s. This time around, audiences will get to soak in the grand elegance of the Delta Ballroom as they take in the story of Patsy Cline through her powerful songs and compelling narrative.
But Patsy’s not the only female powerhouse headlining the Together At Last Festival. A tribute to Britain’s biggest female pop band of all time is also set to hit the stage on Charlottetown’s waterfront.
“We’re really excited that we were able to secure Wannabe for an 8-week run here in PEI,” said Cantwell, who lives in Toronto and works with CTV/Bell Media in live television, including The Social and Your Morning, as well as other Canadian and international productions. “In normal times, they would be booked solid with tours across the country and beyond. So it’s going to be a really unique opportunity for Islanders to enjoy this incredibly talented and fun tribute group.”
Wannabe: A Spice Girls Tribute is the brainchild of Toronto-based performers and friends Suzy Wilde, Barbara Johnston, Anika Johnson, Catherine Merriam and Jasmyn Fyff. Over the past six years, they have played across North America and beyond, been offered appearances on The Steve Harvey Show and The Ex Factor, and been approached by event organizers worldwide. And this summer, North America’s #1 Spice Girls tribute show will run each week during the Together At Last Festival.
“We knew we had to round out this fantastic female line-up of shows with a show inspired by PEI’s most famous redhead heroine, Anne of Green Gables ,” said Webster, who has produced sixteen seasons of Anne & Gilbert – The Musical on PEI. He has also licensed the production globally, from the National Arts Centre of Canada to Singapore, Australia, and many other locations around the world.
“Audiences love Anne of Green Gables and we couldn’t imagine a summer in PEI without a theatre production showcasing her,” said Webster. Neither of the Island’s most familiar Anne productions, Anne of Green Gables – The Musical or Anne & Gilbert – The Musical, will be performed on PEI this summer.
Anne Mixtape is a family-friendly revue that will feature popular songs from the Anne musicals, along with other East Coast tunes. The concert will play twice a week throughout the festival and promises to deliver big on energy and nostalgia.
“From the outset, we also knew it was critical that we host the festival at a top notch venue and secure a seasoned production company to bring everything together seamlessly,” said Webster. “We’re very grateful to our title sponsors, the Delta Prince Edward and House-Front Productions, as well as the Charlottetown Special Events Fund for believing in and supporting our new festival.”
The festival will premiere July 15 and run until September 4 at the Delta Prince Edward ballroom. A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline and Anne Mixtape will play weekly on Thursdays and Fridays with Wannabe: A Spice Girls Tribute playing every Saturday night.
“The Together At Last Festival is many things. It’s a celebration of incredible music and theatre. It’s a celebration of female powerhouses from different eras. And it’s a celebration of people being able to come together again to socialize and enjoy a show. We’re incredibly fortunate here on PEI to be able to host this new festival and we look forward to providing Islanders and visitors with live entertainment that’s heartwarming and spectacular,” said Webster.
Festival tickets will go on sale the week of June 14th. For more information, visit www.together-at-last.com