SUMMERSIDE – Harbourfront Theatre artistic director Catherine O’Brien announced that the lead in the 2014 production of “The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom” will be played by Ontario-based actor and musician Cameron MacDuffee.
Familiar to Prince Edward Island audiences as the lead as Johnny Cash in the Charlottetown Festival production of “Ring of Fire “and as Johnny Deere in “Dear Johnny Deere,” MacDuffee has the look and the feel to make Tom Connors ‘come to life’ on stage, says O’Brien.
“Cameron is ideal for the role of Stompin' Tom,” she adds. “He is an intelligent, organic and grounded actor, and a fine musician. He has the ability to connect deeply to any character he takes on, and although these are big boots to fill, Cameron will take on the challenge with passion and respect.”
Hailing from from Caledon, Ont., MacDuffee has spent 20 years working as a performer coast to coast in Canada and in the U.S. His stage credits include world premiere musicals “The Bricklin” for Theatre New Brunswick, “Grumpy Old Men” at the Manitoba Theatre Centre and “Beyond Eden” with Theatre Calgary and the Vancouver Playhouse, which was presented as part of the Cultural Olympiad at the 2010 Olympics. He performed in the Canadian premieres of “Caroline, Or Change” for Acting Upstage/Obsidian and Assassins (Eclectic/Canstage) for which he received a Dora award nomination. He also spent several seasons at the Shaw Festival.
He is a member of the bands Tinyboat and The Done Me Wrongs and the artistic director of the Department of Everything.
"Stompin' Tom is an inspiration to me because he is the quintessential Canadian,” says MacDuffee in commenting on his new role. “He was tirelessly dedicated to expressing his love for this country and its people, and listening to his songs makes us all feel proud of where we come from.
“It is always tricky portraying someone who is so iconic and so beloved. My goal is to try and capture the essence of what he stood for and who he was as a man.”
Opening Saturday, June 28, and running six nights per week until Saturday, Aug. 30, “The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom” is staged as both a portrayal of Connors’ life and as a concert, featuring such iconic songs as “Bud the Spud,” “Tillsonburg,” “To It and At It,” “Sudbury Saturday Night,” and of course, “The Hockey Song.”
“The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom” was written by David Scott with songs and lyrics by Stompin' Tom Connors. Connors, who died on March 6, 2013, authorized Scott’s portrayal of his life before the show was originally staged at the Blythe Festival and the Charlottetown Festival.
The Harbourfront production runs for two previews, June 26 and 27, and then for 55 regular performances, six nights per week including Sundays. The show is dark on Mondays.
Tickets, featuring all-inclusive pricing, are on sale at the Harbourfront Theatre box office at www.harbourfronttheatre.com or by calling 902-888-2500 or 800-708-6505.