From Broadway to Fredericton: New musical to hit stage amid pandemic
HALIFAX -- While the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down most theatre performances, one Fredericton performer has taken advantage of the time to workshop his dream project.
Tony LePage is a well-known Broadway performer, known for his roles in "Rock of Ages" and "Come From Away."
But when COVID-19 sent Broadway into a blackout, LePage came home to his hometown of Fredericton.
LePage has taken advantage of the uncertain times in his industry by working on a project of his own that will make its debut next week at the Fredericton Playhouse.
“I didn’t even know this was a possibility because of everything that’s going on, but Atlantic Canada was doing so well with the handling of the virus that the opportunity came up and we said, ‘Yeah, if we can’,” says LePage.
His new musical "Sweet Dreams" is described as a modern retelling of "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," set to the music of Air Supply.
But "Sweet Dreams" didn’t just come together overnight. Lepage and his team have been working on the musical for seven years, and they have been forced to continue to adapt to pandemic restrictions.
“We had to make it a one act, because you can’t do an intermission with the socially distancing stuff,” he explains. “We had to cut the show down to 90 minutes, so I think what it helped me to do actually was by necessity, we had to cut it down.”
Two socially-distanced workshop performances are planned for Oct. 22-23 -- the end of a two-week artist residency.
The cast of 10 will have to remain physically distanced while on stage.
Courtney Hammond is LePage’s partner, as well as a producer and performer in "Sweet Dreams." She says debuting a musical in Fredericton, during a pandemic, has been a unique experience.
“Because it is a smaller town,” says Hammond. “I don’t want to use the word easier, because that’s not what it’s been, but it’s just been a better experience, honestly. Getting in touch with people who work in the arts and people who love the arts. I’d say the difference is it’s been more rewarding.”
The workshopping shows have already sold out, and there is a wait list for tickets, so you can dream "Sweet Dreams" of catching this production.