Just around the corner from the Confederation Centre, The Mack is located on the corner of University Ave. & Grafton. This gem of a theatre seats 200 and is cabaret style (tables and chairs). Seating in the theatre is reserved. Please note that some evening performances at The Mack are licensed to 19 years of age and over as liquor is served.
July 6, 2016 – August 20, 2016 2 pm / 7:30 pm @ The Mack
In 2015, Spoon River (produced by Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto) won Canada’s prestigious Dora Award for Outstanding New Musical. Now in 2016 Spoon River makes its first appearance outside Toronto, at Confederation Centre’s Mack theatre in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The musical is based on the classic Spoon River Anthology, written 100 years ago by Edgar Lee Masters. In this rendition, poems of the dead are brought to life and set to music by PEI’s own Mike Ross. Albert Schultz directs the 11-member cast, as they raise their voices in song, telling of loves, losses, and hard-earned truths. The Charlottetown Festival produced this mystical, dream-like musical in association with Soulpepper Theatre.
Produced by The Charlottetown Festival in assocication with Soulpepper Theatre Company
The Story – Spoon River is an imaginary small town in author Edgar Lee Masters’ home state of Illinois. The 244-poem anthology of the same name was published in 1915, and in it the characters return from the grave long enough to impart their virtual epitaphs, in their own words and music. As is so often the case with lasting and popular literature, the stories celebrate the extraordinary to be found in ordinary lives. To quote Richard Ouzounian of The Toronto Star, the musical is “so blindingly original that it’s hard to describe in terms of conventional song and dance…. There is hope and despair, love and hate, passion and desperation.” For more in-depth discussion of the production, listen to CBC’s The Sunday Edition.
The Music – Mike Ross, Spoon River composer, was born in Charlottetown, P.E.I. and raised in New Jersey, but he returned to the Maritimes in his early twenties to become a musician. After winning two East Coast Music Awards, his career took an unexpected turn. In Mike’s words: “There’s a big theatre festival in Charlottetown where they do ‘Anne of Green Gables’ and shows like that in the summer. This particular season they were doing a musical named ‘Fire’, loosely based on the life of Jerry Lee Lewis. They needed an actor who could play piano; I was an unemployed musician at the time so I tried out for it and got the job.” (BlogTO) The show’s great success inspired Ross to move to Toronto where he has realized his own personal success, most recently as composer and musical director of the acclaimed Spoon River. According to the critics “Ross’s musical settings are brilliant, and stylistically varied…”(National Post) “The kind of music that gets inside your body and just doesn’t let go. And there might also be the kind of hand-clapping, arm-waving, spirit-stirring movement that you’ll find hard to ignore.” (Toronto Star) Who can resist inspiring lines like this: “The light of life, the sun of delight, All is yours young passerby. Is your soul alive? Then let it feed.” It may be a show starring characters from the grave but the songs and stories celebrate “Oh life, oh life, oh beauty, oh life”