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Quite the ride for former Anne as P.E.I.’s Jessica Gallant learns she can accomplish much in her stage career

Marty, top, played by Prince Edward Islander, Jessica Gallant, appears in the Freddy My Love Scene from “Grease the Musical”. The show is playing at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto until Jan. 7.  From bottom left are Frenchy (Annie Chen), Rizzo (Katie Findlay) and Jan (Hailey Lewis). SUBMITTED PHOTO
Marty, top, played by Prince Edward Islander, Jessica Gallant, appears in the Freddy My Love Scene from “Grease the Musical”. The show is playing at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto until Jan. 7. From bottom left are Frenchy (Annie Chen), Rizzo (Katie Findlay) and Jan (Hailey Lewis). SUBMITTED PHOTO

It’s been 15 months since Jessica Gallant said farewell to the soft, rolling hills of Avonlea and to her red-haired and freckled character she played in “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical”, at the Charlottetown Festival.

“It was my childhood dream to play Anne, and that dream had been realized. So I thought if I could accomplish this dream, what else can I do?” said Gallant in a recent interview.

She soon discovered she could accomplish much.

Shortly after the show finished its run, she moved back to Toronto.

“Making the decision to leave P.E.I. was hard at first, but then the auditions started coming in.”

In the months that have followed, Gallant has gotten married and landed a major role in the Toronto production of “Grease the Musical” at the Winter Garden Theatre.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride – super crazy,” says the native of Ten Mile House, P.E.I., during a telephone interview.

 

Jessica Gallant, left photo, appears as Marty, one of the Pink Ladies in “Grease the Musical” at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. At right, Matthew (Hank Stinson) and Anne (Jessica Gallant), appear in a scene from the Charlottetown Festival’s 2016 production of “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical”. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Jessica Gallant, left photo, appears as Marty, one of the Pink Ladies in “Grease the Musical” at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. At right, Matthew (Hank Stinson) and Anne (Jessica Gallant), appear in a scene from the Charlottetown Festival’s 2016 production of “Anne of Green Gables – The Musical”. SUBMITTED PHOTO

In the Toronto production of “Grease the Musical”, which has been extended until Jan. 7, Broadway choreographer and director, Josh Prince, has created a fresh revival of the high school rock musical, sending “Grease” back to its roots on the gritty streets of 1950s North Chicago, while weaving into the show’s fabric the most beloved songs from the film.

In the show, Gallant plays Marty, one of the Pink Ladies.

“She’s quite a fiery character. But she’s quite different than Anne. That’s because (the Pink Ladies) are teenagers who are in the prime of high school. And all they ever think of are boys.”

Every day Gallant thinks about how she will transition into the feisty teen role in time for the show.

“Marty walks with her head up in the air. She has a Chicago accent and a cackle I gave her. So it’s fun to leave Jessica behind and escape as Marty in pencil skirts and high heels.”

Unlike the movie, Marty’s role is larger in the stage musical.

“She’s even has her own song,” says Gallant.

Being part of a major musical brings other performing opportunities.

After understudying the lead role, Gallant was rewarded several weeks ago when she was asked to go on as Sandy.

She even had the opportunity to perform alongside her husband, Luc Trottier, in Port Perry, Ont., in a show he wrote called, “Perry Loved Merry”.

“We’re delighted that it sold out its run for the second year in a row,” she says.

In the new year, a performing opportunity will take her to the East Coast. Gallant has just landed the role of Allie in Neptune Theatre’s production of “Mamma Mia!”. Rehearsals start March 20 with the musical opening April 20.

“It’s such a fun show to be a part of,” says Gallant, who was in the ensemble of “Mamma Mia”, in the Charlottetown Festival production and is excited about playing an actual role.

“I’m looking forward to playing Sophie’s best friend.”

There are other benefits to the East Coast gig.

“It’s nice and close to home. And my sister, Katie, lives in Halifax.”

If you are going

- For information on performances of “Grease the Musical” at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto, go to https://greaseonstage.com.

sally.cole@TheGuardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/SallyForth57

 

 

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