• Anne and Gilbert: The Musical

    Posted by Melanie Fishbane, 5 years ago

    I just finished my first day of a 4 day stay in P.E.I. I am attending the 8th Annual LMM Conference in Charlottetown. Due to some unforeseen issues with my baggage (ie. the luggage was lost for a few hours) I had to shop for something appropriate to wear to my evening's plans instead of going to some of the discussions. However, I hope you will look forward to my report on the discussions that are happening here tomorrow.

    Anne and Gilbert the Musical is playing in Summerside, P.E.I. at the Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre. www.jubileetheatre.com/ The theatre appears to do a lot of local and East coast musical acts and plays. The musical won the 2007 East Coast Musical Award and I was curious to see what it was all about. The musical is based upon the second of the seven "Anne" novels, Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island and focuses on Anne and Gilbert's relationship as well as Anne's own sense of idealism and identity.

    I admit that I was weary. As popular as the Anne of Green Gables musical is, I find that some of the songs are a little too cute for my liking (particularly "Ice Cream") and aimed at a young audience (which is should be given who the book is aimed at.) But I have to tell you that I was pleasantly surprised.

    Because the two books tend to be about Anne and her friends transition from adolescence into adulthood, the musical swayed more to an older audience. As well the musical had a nice combination of traditional folk music that one might equate with the East Coast, and modern Broadway music.

    I was particularly moved by a song between Marilla and Rachel Lynde (Martha Irving and Robin Craig) called "On Duty" in which Marilla convinces Rachel to move in with her after Rachel's husband Thomas dies. This is a pivotal moment in the book as it is a catalyst for Anne going off to University. The energy between these two actresses and the lyrics of this song about friendship, loyalty and humour around ones sense of duty was probably one of the more profound moments in the play. Indeed, it was this song that inspired me to buy the soundtrack.

    Of course, the chemistry between Anne and Gilbert was essential and I found Rebecca Parent and Aaron Kyte's had that sense of comic rhythm and affection that is an important component to Anne and Gilbert's relationship. It must be a difficult thing to pull off, particularly because Meagan Follows and Jonathan Crombie have become sort of the "model" for playing Anne and Gilbert.

    I admit that I couldn't help but think of Follows as I watched Parent. That is not to detract, however, the complexity she gave Anne - particularly towards the second half of the show and during a wonderful number (That doesn't appear on the soundtrack!) called "A Jonah Day."

    As well, I always think it is important to develop a semi-crush on Gilbert about five minutes in and I admit that I was taken in by Kyte's "Gilbert-like" charisma. :)

    The show has that wonderful combination humour and heart that one comes to expect from works taken from Montgomery. If you are in or around Summerside this summer, I recommend it.

    To find out more about Anne and Gilbert:The Musical go to their website:

Comments on this post:
  • 7 years ago

    It sounds as though you are enjoying yourself in one of Canada's most beautiful provinces. My mother is a Ch'towner and I still have many family there (Robert Ghiz is a relation). I grew up reading LMM books - obvious so it's neat to read about how Anne may have turned out during adolescence and adulthood. One can only imagine.

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  • Anne Lee

    • Indigo Employee
    • Top Blogger

    7 years ago

    Ugh. Lost luggage is always very frustrating -- I'm glad you got it back! And also glad you enjoyed the musical, despite the less-than-ideal start to your stay in PEI. :-)

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