With two massive musical productions on the horizon, it's been a busy few months for Nova Scotia's thriving Gilbert and Sullivan Society. And while its May production of Yeoman of the Guard is business as usual for these purveyors of all things G & S, this week's show marks an exciting departure for the group.
March 3 is the premiere of a new musical called Out of Lunenburg by Jim Bennet, the well-known songwriter and beloved co-host of CBC's Singalong Jubilee from 1961 to 1974.
The show's performer requirements are huge, with a main cast of 23, a 12-piece orchestra and a nine-person chorus, but producer Jacqui Good says that's exactly why Bennet and his co-creators----who include his daughter Laura Bennet, Nancy Marshall and Alec Tilley---approached the group.
"We're known for putting on shows of this size. We've got it down pat," explains Good. "And of course one of the reasons we can do something like this is that we don't pay anybody! It's a labour of love."
Out of Lunenburg is set in 1925, and tells both the story of a three-month trip to the Grand Banks aboard a schooner and the story of the women left behind. Good says that the interweaving of the two points of view makes for rich theatre. "It's a show filled with contrasts of both humour and pathos. It's a show with heart."
Proceeds from the show will go to the new Spatz Theatre at Citadel High, where the production is being staged.
"Everything just seemed to come together at the right time," Good says. "Alexa McDonough approached us about doing a fundraiser, Jim approached us with this fantastic new work and we thought, 'What could be a better way to support this theatre than with this tuneful, cinematic and wholly Nova Scotian musical?'"
Out of Lunenburg runs Thursday, March 3 and Friday, March 4 at 8pm at Citadel High. Tickets are $35/$30 students/seniors and are available by calling Ticket Atlantic at 451-1221 or visiting ticketatlantic.com.