The childhood classic Anne of Green Gables is melodiously brought to life.
—By Amy Baker
MAY 7 TO 24 A beloved east coast tradition arrives this month in Toronto, as Anne of Green Gables—The Musical enlivens the Elgin Theatre’s historic stage. Telling the heartwarming tale of Anne Shirley, a spunky, redheaded orphan who journeys to Prince Edward Island in search of a place to call home, the show premiered more than 40 years ago in Charlottetown, P.E.I., yet its timeless characters and story are sure to delight theatregoers even today.
Based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 novel, the Anne of Green Gables tale was adapted for television in 1956. Subsequent persuasion by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II led to the development of the full-length theatrical production, which is now Canada’s longest-running musical. Remaining faithful to the original story, the stage show about the wide-eyed girl thrust upon the fictitious town of Avonlea has since been presented around the world to the enjoyment of millions. In this Charlottetown Festival production brought to Toronto, Amy Wallis portrays the title character with youthful vitality—her penchant for melodrama, fiery temper and knack for getting into (good-natured) trouble on full display.
The musical is written and composed by Don Harron and Norman Campbell, who worked on the original TV production for the Canadian Broadcasting Company, while Scottish-born Anne Allan lends both an apt name and a long list of credits—including Broadway hits Ragtime, Candide and Show Boat—as director and choreographer. This pedigreed playbill brings to life a Canadian family classic with song, dance and drama sure to lift your spirits, and, perhaps, provoke nostalgic yearning for a bygone era.
Wednesday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge St.), $25 to $85; call 416-664-3665 or visit Dancap Productions to purchase.