CHARLOTTETOWN – “Anne and Gilbert – The Musical” will feature a familiar face in the role of Anne Shirley this year.
Islander Rebecca Parent returns to play the fiery redhead – a role she helped define in three previous productions, starting in 2007.
“I still have a surprising amount of muscle memory lingering from playing this part before, and I want to shake that and discover Anne all over again.”
Parent has kept busy since leaving “Anne & Gilbert,” appearing in a multitude of roles at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustic and even directing a production of “The Hobbit” with members of the North Rustico community.
She also toured in a show she co-created for the P.E.I. 2014 celebrations, “What to Wear to the Birth of Nation.”
Her co-star, Josh Wiles will be taking on the role of Gilbert Blythe for the first time.
“Anne & Gilbert” runs form May 8 to Oct. 23 at the Guild in Charlottetown. Tickets are available at the Guild Box Office, 902-620-3333 or online at anneandgilbert.com
Question and answer with Rebecca Parent
QUESTION: Favourite scenes or songs that stay interesting and enjoyable to perform despite the repetition of a long run?
I’ll always love the song “Jonah Day.” Anne gives in fully to her fiery, melodramatic side, and lets her emotions get away from her. The scene has a great build and a terrific musical climax - it’s always great fun!
Q: Audiences know Anne for her directness, her unabashed passion for things, but is there a quality of hers you think is often overlooked that you will try and reflect in your portrayal of her?
A: There is a softer side to Anne which she seldom let’s people see. She presents herself to the world with a certain bravado that I believe masks her fear of vulnerability. Anne is known for dropping the mask in anger, but in this play, it also slips for love. She is also, however, very good at resisting this, despite the efforts of her friends to convince her to let go.
Q: Can you describe some of your performing highlights from the past few years?
A: I spent six wonderful seasons with the Watermark Theatre, working both on and off stage. As an actor, I got to play some amazing roles, including Eliza Doolittle, Marianne Dashwood and Juliet Capulet. I’ve worked in theatre, film and TV all over Canada, and most recently with 2b theatre’s production of “What a Young Wife Ought to Know” by Hannah Moscovitch. I performed in this play from March 20 to mid-April in Toronto, just before starting rehearsals for “Anne & Gilbert.”
Q: If someone were to stop you and ask, "Why should I see ‘Anne & Gilbert,’" what would you say?
A: This is a show that stays with you. You can’t help but root for every one of LM’s beloved characters, laugh and cry with them, and leave the show grinning ear to ear with a heart full of song.