Here's something CharPo would like to suggest to every adult out there - Canadian or not. If you have never read it, or if you only know the TV series, or if you haven't read it since you were a kid, go back to Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery's moving and often hilarious tale of a red-headed orphan sent to the wrong couple - a stern brother and sister who have a farm to run. (You can download it at gutenberg.org for free or get a books-on-tape version free at librivox.org.) Now, should you be too lazy to do this thing you really should do, then definitely go to this icon of Canadian theatre, gloriously adapted as a colourful, radiant musical by Donald Harron, Norman and Elaine Campbell and Mavor Moore. It's a joy and so wonderful to see it performed outside of PEI where it is the cornerstone of The Charlottetown Festival every year. (Calgary)
James Lapine and William Finn must have known they were going into uncharted musical territory when they created the trilogy they then cut down to one play. Falsettos follows a married man out of the closet. The year is 1979 and any Gay man in North America will tell you that was the sunset of their version of the Roaring Twenties as, two years later, in a hot summer, we learned of an illness that did not even have a name and was a killer. Marvin, his ex-wife, shrink, lover and son wander into the killing fields. Yes, it sounds bleak, but remember the piece starts with a song called "Four Jews in a Room Bitching". It's a work about an unlikely family, unlikely friendships, and survival during a plague. (Toronto) (Read director Robert McQueen's fascinating first-person on directing the show.)
Another view of the family is provided in How to Write a New Book for the Bible. Bill Cain's play is about his own family. Moreover, the playwright is a Jesuit Priest. He, himself, calls the work "the Mom and Dad play" and in it he recounts the tale of returning home to take care of his mother. As he spins the story, he reminds that religion is at the heart of us all. The play has been performed to rave reviews across the US (with one production running in Seattle even as it plays at Pacific Theatre here). (Vancouver)
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