Calgary

Newfoundland musical coming to Calgary features original song by Alan Doyle

No Change in the Weather, a Newfoundland musical produced by Bob Hallet of Great Big Sea, comes to Calgary next week.

No Change in the Weather highlights customs and past controversies along Canada’s East Coast

No Change in the Weather, a Newfoundland and Labrador musical, combines lively traditional musical with a new spin on controversial local history. (Supplied by Ritche Perez)

A lively musical flavoured with the salty humour, political commentary and heart-first culture famous in the East Coast will be in Calgary next week.

No Change in the Weather, a show that highlights the customs, oddities, and history of the land and people of Newfoundland and Labrador, is produced by Bob Hallet, one of the founding members of much-beloved Canadian band Great Big Sea.

The musical storyline takes place over one long night. At the centre of its drama is a wake for the death of a local matriarch.  

"Newfoundland wakes are often very raucous affairs with singing, laughter, sadness, and great emotions discussed and huge resolve," Hallet told Calgary's The Homestretch on Tuesday.

No Change in the Weather incorporates sounds, instruments and characters from Newfoundland's history. (Supplied by Ritche Perez)

In the past, Hallet was musical supervisor of the hit musical Come From Away, the story of 7,000 passengers stranded at Gander International Airport in N.L., during 9/11.

"My apprenticeship there was definitely with some of the best people in this industry in the world, and every day I sat there I said, 'I think there's another way to do this' so I would be honoured to follow in their footsteps," said Hallet.

Featuring prominent local musicians and traditional Newfoundland songs, sounds, instruments and characters the show is a celebration of the rich music from the area.

"Musical theatre is all about the grand gesture. This is not a place for small noises and small moments," said Hallet.

 "We've gathered together a [group] of some of the greatest songs in the Newfoundland songbook and some wonderful traditional music and combined it together in a real Broadway-style show."

Famous songs such as No Change In Me and Sea People will be featured in the musical, as well as some more obscure tunes that will "resonate with the audience," Hallet added.

There will be one original song, titled Heavy Nets, which Hallet enlisted his "partner in harmony of twenty-five years" Alan Doyle, of Great Big Sea, to write. 

"I said 'Look we're missing this jewel,' and he didn't have much time. I gave him 24-hours," said Hallet. 

"[Doyle] came back with this song called Heavy Nets which really describes a lot of the despair and aimlessness that happened in Newfoundland around the cod moratorium."

The musical is produced by Bob Hallett, one of the founding members of the band Great Big Sea. (Supplied by Ritche Perez)

Hallet sees the musical as a way to present the history of his area with a different spin.

 "We started with the goal to change musical history and maybe change political history, too."

The show, which is cast with some standout Newfoundland actors and actresses, is freshly landed from its birthplace, having just played 40 shows to soldout crowds.

It is now at The Grand on 1st St. S.W., from Sept. 18-21. 

Tickets can be purchased at nochangeintheweather.com or by calling The Grand box office.

"It's really unique. Nothing like this has ever been attempted before in Newfoundland," said Hallet.

His "endgame" is to get the show to Broadway by next year.

With files from The Homestretch

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