I am often asked to recommend Canadian Musicals that might be appropriate for student and High School Productions. I have a few ideas about that, but even though I have a real interest in Canadian Musicals of all kinds I am never certain what essential materials – scores, orchestrations, clean scripts – exist for certain shows. Unfortunately, there is no Canadian equivalent to Samuel French or Music Theatre International where detailed catalogues exist of available Canadian Musicals. I will start a list here – and will add to it occasionally – and I will also attempt to point interested readers towards possible sources of information about the shows. But in many cases, you are – alas – on your own.
Two shows come immediately to mind, of course, both of which are available from commercial musical theatre libraries:
- Anne Of Green Gables
- The Drowsy Chaperone
High Schools generally look for large cast shows, so Canadian successes like Billy Bishop Goes To War are probably not what the schools are looking for. The vast majority of recent Canadian Musicals are for modest-sized casts – a cast of 10 for a Canadian Musical might well be considered gigantic these days. So those, too, are probably too small for most schools.
One obvious place to look for “Broadway-sized” Canadian Musicals is the catalogue of The Charlottetown Festival. You can probably find a list of the shows they’ve produced through the years, but it may be nearly impossible to track down the materials for many of those shows.
I am going to make a list here of some titles I am aware of (although there will be plenty of titles I will either not know or have forgotten in my old age. If I can find a web-site or contact information for those shows, I will include that here as well.
Here are some shows that you might consider:
- Anne And Gilbert (Jeff Hochhauser, Bob Johnston, Nancy White)
- Babies (Cliff Jones)
- Colours In The Storm (Jim Betts)
- Emily (Marek Norman, Richard Ouzounian)
- Fireweeds (Cathy Elliott)
- Johnny Belinda (Mavor Moore, John Fenwick)
- Little Women (Jim Betts, Nancy Early) – see page on this website
- Napoleon (Andrew Sabiston, Timothy Williams)
- Pélagie (Vincent deTourdonnet, Allen Cole)
- Strike (Danny Schur, Rick Chafe)
This list is obviously just a small sampling, and I will add more as the titles occur to me.
If you have suggestions for shows I might add to this list, please feel free to contact me with that information.