‘Canada Rocks!’ launches Charlottetown Festival anniversary season

New musical premieres June 21 at Confederation Centre

Published on June 20, 2014

Jen Rider Shaw and Gabe Antonacci are two company members in the stacked 23-person cast featured in “Canada Rocks!,” opening this Saturday, June 21, at The Charlottetown Festival.

Submitted photo

CHARLOTTETOWN – After months of designing, rehearsing, and refurbishing, the staff and cast of Confederation Centre of the Arts are ready to welcome in the world for the 50th season of the Charlottetown Festival.

The festival launches a summer of revelry and celebration on June 21, with the opening of the remounted hit, “Canada Rocks!” There are still a few tickets remaining for Saturday’s opening night and those patrons with tickets are also welcome to the official after-party with the cast, which takes place in Studio 1, featuring the funk and rock sounds of More Soul.

The track list for Canada Rocks! includes gems from industry giants like Leonard Cohen, the Guess Who, Bryan Adams, Joni Mitchell, BTO, and Rush. This high-octane production also includes 30 new tunes from modern stars such as The Stanfields, Feist, Serena Ryder, Hedley, Paper Lions, and K’Naan.

Using visual projection and vignettes, Canada Rocks! tells the tale of an Island boy (Gabe Antonacci) on an east-bound train, trekking home to be with his sweetheart (Jen Rider-Shaw) in time for the 2014 celebrations. Along the way, Canada’s deep musical landscape is brought to life, highlighting new breakthrough artists, as well as industry pioneers like Sam the Record Man, Red Robinson, and tributes to Angele Arsenault and Rita MacNeil.

This musical train trek is directed by Anne Allan, artistic director of the Charlottetown Festival; with music direction from Craig Fair (“Ring of Fire;” “Buddy!”). The co-creators include Allan, Doug Gallant, Terry Hatty, Wade Lynch, and Hank Stinson. 2014 marks Allan’s final season as artistic director, after an accomplished tenure with the Centre since 2003.