The musical by Richard Ouzounian (book and lyrics) and Marek Norman (music) is drawn from the Lucy Maud Montgomery trilogy "Emily of New Moon," and was a hit on Prince Edward Island — where Montgomery is a local hero for her "Anne of Green Gables" books.
Sarah Rodgers directs the new staging at Gateway's mainstage. Opening is Dec. 15, following a Dec. 14 preview.
According to Gateway, the professional theatre in suburban Vancouver, "Just how 13-year-old Emily Starr (Alison MacDonald) comes to live with her stern Aunt Elizabeth (Beatrice Zeilinger), 'unusual' cousin Jimmy (Alexander McMorran), and kindly Aunt Laura (Annabel Kershaw) at New Moon Farm is a story in itself. But what happens when she gets there is very much another!
"Emily is a gifted writer and a strong-willed soul who struggles to fit into a new life and school. Along the way from age 13 to 24 you'll meet Emily's friends including the artistic Teddy (Scott Perrie), Perry the prankster (RJ Peters), and Ilse (Kelly Metzger), the tomboy with a temper. Romance and mystery take the stage too — so book your seat and let our talented cast of 18 take you back to a time of simple joys."
Orchestrations are by composer Marek Norman. Musical director is Allen Stiles. The creative team also includes scenic designer Phillip Tidd, costume designer Angela Bright, lighting designer Adrian Muir, choreographer Shelley Stewart Hunt, stage manager Jen Jones and assistant stage manager Jaimie Tait. Emily was commissioned by and premiered at The Charlottetown Festival in 1999. It was revived the following season and has the distinction of being the most successful "second" show (next to Anne of Green Gables) ever at Charlottetown.
The original cast size was 26. For the new staging, it's 15. The orchestra was 19 and is now reduced by the composer himself to six pieces: acoustic piano/conductor, flute/piccolo, oboe, violin, cello, percussion.
The script and selections are published by Toronto's McArthur & Co.
Playwright Ouzounian stated that condensing three novels into one evening was a challenge but trusts that although "fans of the books may find one or more of their favorite passages missing, I hope they'll always find the intent to be true."
For more information, visit www.gatewaytheatre.com.