BY CAROL ANNE GILLIS
A few weeks ago thirty-two local performers were let in on a secret. After submitting videos and resumes online, they had been selected to take part in Cape Breton’s first Confidential Musical Theatre Project. The show, a Savoy Theatre and Highland Arts Theatre co-production, is a joint fundraiser and the inaugural collaborative event for the theatres.
The Confidential Musical Theatre Project made its debut in Toronto in 2014 and has since spread to twelve cities including Los Angeles, New York City, Halifax and Montreal. Wesley J. Colford, Artistic Director of the Highland Arts Theatre, performed in the very first incarnation of Confidential in Toronto in 2014. Colford also performed in Halifax’s first production of the franchise which turned out to be The Little Shop of Horrors.
“As soon as I heard about the concept, I knew I loved it and I was already scheming to bring it to Cape Breton!” Colford says.
“There were some challenges, of course – the talent pool is much smaller here than in Toronto (but just as fearless), and then of course there was the big question – Could Cape Breton keep this secret?” Colford continues.
Since returning to Cape Breton in 2014 and opening the Highland Arts Theatre, Colford has produced over 20 shows including two original musicals of his own. He has also found the time to take the stage at the Savoy Theatre and appeared as “Cinderella’s Prince” in the May 2015 production of Into the Woods as well as the “Prince” in the Savoy’s The Nutcracker Ballet Suite in December 2015. Most recently, Colford played the title role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet at Cape Breton University’s Boardmore Theatre. He is presently in rehearsal for his latest original musical, Dream – A 1950’s Midsummer Musical.
Colford has also been working with Pam Leader, Executive Director of the Savoy Theatre, to maximize production efforts in the community.
“Since last winter, Pam and I have been working closely together to coordinate our attempts to bring the best entertainment to Cape Breton audiences. I hope that this production of Confidential will mark the first of many official collaborative ventures,” Colford says.
Here’s how it works: A Broadway musical is chosen. The musical is then cast with the best possible performers without regard to race, gender, age or body type. A few weeks before the show, the cast is given their scripts and asked not to reveal the part that they are playing or the name of the musical. They work on their roles on their own. The one main rule is – NO STOPPING.
The Confidential Cape Breton cast will meet for the first time one hour before the show begins on Saturday, February 27th.
Colford and Leader have enjoyed this secretive process and look forward to seeing what some of the bravest musical theatre performers on the Island will do when that curtain rises.
“The show is going to be incredible – unlike anything Cape Breton has seen before. It’s a fun, upbeat show with great songs and lots of comedy – I think that people will be very excited!” Colford concludes.
The show will take place at the Savoy Theatre on February 27th at 7 PM. Tickets for the Cape Breton’s Confidential Musical Theatre Project are $20 (General Seating) and available at the Savoy Theatre (902-842-1577) and the Highland Arts Theatre (902-565-3637).