Edmonton

Four musicals planned for Citadel Theatre's upcoming season

Edmonton's Citadel theatre announced their upcoming season this week with plenty of new events and productions.

A pop musical from London's west-end will make its Canadian debut in Edmonton

The Citadel Theatre announced next season's line up this week. (Supplied)

Edmonton's Citadel Theatre announced their upcoming season this week with plenty of new events and productions.

The Citadel will start its upcoming 2019–2020 season with the theatre's first ever summer musical Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash.

"Traditionally we're quiet in the summer but Edmonton isn't," said Daryl Cloran, artistic director of The Citadel Theatre.

"There's so much life and festivals in the summer and we wanted to be part of that excitement."

Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash includes more than 24 classic Cash songs. It will run from July 20 to Aug.11.

The Citadel will stage its first ever summer musical this year. (Supplied)

Three other musicals are in the works. The musical The Color Purple will feature a cast of 16 African–​Canadian performers.

Cloran said the search, when it begins, for actors for that show will be nation-wide.

"That's what's great and important about that show is filling our stage with 16 African–​Canadian performers and that story," he said.

Smash London hit comes to Edmonton

Local audiences will also get a chance to see a musical which has already been a huge hit in London, England.

Six is based on the six wives of Henry VIII.

Six explores the lives of Henry VIII's wives. (Supplied)

Cloran said the Citadel partnered with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater company to bring the Canadian premier of Six to Edmonton.

"It's a real coup for us to get that show hot off its success in the U.K.," said Cloran.

Cloran described the show as "the best night out ever that's almost like a Spice Girls concert."

Also on the boards this season, the Beatles meet the Bard in a production of As You Like It, which will include 25 of the Fab Four's classic songs.

"Profoundly Edmonton" novel adaptation

Edmonton author Todd Babiak will see his novel, The Garneau Block, brought to life on stage in an adaptation by local playwright and actor Belinda Cornish.

Cornish said she was filled with "joy and terror" at the prospect of adapting a book she called "profoundly Edmonton."

She said the terror comes from "trying to do justice to this remarkable thing that Todd has created."

"It's a brilliant social satire," said Cornish.

Also new next season, a dark comedy about the aftermath of the Fort McMurray wildfire called After the Fire.

It was written by local indigenous playwright Matthew Mackenzie.

After the Fire premiered under a different name at Edmonton's Theatre Network.

A new, revised version was performed in Toronto this January.

After the Fire is a dark comedy that explores the aftermath of the Fort McMurray wildfire. (Supplied)

"For us, we're able to help [Mackenzie] have another go and present it to a larger audience...before he tours the show across the province," said Cloran.

A playwright can work for years on a play and it often has just one run for a couple of weeks, said Cloran.

"We'd like to be able to give the playwright a chance to see this work continue to develop," he said.

Dickens classic is back

A new version of A Christmas Carol will be back over the holiday season in an adaptation by Edmonton playwright David van Belle.

The previous version of Dickens' classic ran for nineteen years at The Citadel.

The Citadel received over half a million dollars in funding from the federal government last year for some upgrades to the 53-year-old theatre's audio, lighting and safety equipment.

Cloran said the grant will enhance the quality of the theatre experience for the audience.  

About the Author

Nola Keeler is an award-winning journalist who has worked with CBC in Whitehorse, Yukon and Edmonton since 2000. She has worked as a host, reporter, news reader and producer for CBC. Send story ideas to nola.keeler@cbc.ca.