Now that The Cape Breton Summertime Revue has been born again with the staging of The Next Generation, Breton Books has published a book about the first ten years of the Revue—told by many of the people who made it happen.
Ron Caplan sat down for interviews with Bette MacDonald, Maynard Morrison, Leon Dubinsky, Max MacDonald, Stephen MacDonald and Gerald Taylor. Their stories are told from the heart. We find out how Morrison developed the Cecil character out of his relatives and strangers, and how Bette MacDonald brought Mary Morrison to life by combining family and friends and the people she observed in church and in the shopping mall.
The book pays well-deserved tribute to three fundamental elements that gave birth to The Cape Breton Summertime Revue: the Cape Breton Rotary Shows that for years delivered Broadway to Cape Breton; the Liz and Harry Boardmore theatre classes at Xavier Junior College that encouraged The Rise and Follies of Cape Breton Island; Fred Tomie’s Whitney Pier Athletic Club that allowed young people to perform their own Cape Breton-based music and sketches onstage. Add to this rare mix of influences the determination to put on a great show, and you have The Cape Breton Summertime Revue.
And like cream on the strawberries, this new book features 34 photographs from all ten years taken by Warren Gordon, making it a lasting scrapbook of memories.
The stories told by people who brought us the first ten years of The Cape Breton Summertime Revue are often deeply touching. Leon Dubinsky tells a story that exemplifies, despite the hard work and grime, how privileged he felt to be a part of Cape Breton show business. And Max MacDonald reminds that the shows were built not only on music and laughter — though those two elements are what keep bringing the audiences back — but also on a close knit family of friends, friends who came together and grew and moved on, and even friends who have died. He and Stephen MacDonald share some heartbreaking reminders.
Today, as Caplan’s book takes you behind the scenes and brings you back to the beginning, The Cape Breton Summertime Revue lives on with The Next Generation. In the tradition of the original, The Next Generation delivers the laughs and the music in an all-new revue. The Cape Breton Summertime Revue—The Story of the First 10 Years, will be launched August 1, as this year’s edition of The Cape Breton Summertime Revue: The Next Generation opens at the Savoy Theatre.