The Cape Breton Summertime Revue has made some major renovations for 1996. Gone are some recognizable characters from the past, as the show tries to deal with its second decade of production, in favour of a wide ranging ensemble of performers who will be concentrating on more situational-based comedy.
The show is comprised of eleven performers including eight who are new to the show. Performers returning for this season are Berkley Lamey, Fred Lavery and Richard Burke. The new faces include: Cindy Campbell (keyboards / vocals) – co-owner of Take Note Music School, Bachelor of Music, studied abroad with Royal Conservatory, appeared in Cape Breton Gold; Bruce Guthro (guitar / vocals) – written and performed songs for Stan Rogers’s tribute and G7 Summit, nominated for two ECMAs, debut Sails to the Wind is charting nationally with four singles, working on new album to be released later this year; Trina Hennick (performer) – has performed in productions by theatre company Dangerous Dreamers including Black Friday, UCCB Dramagroup and the annual Festival of Plays, improv performer experienced in film, radio and teaching drama, she’ll be appearing in her own one-woman show this autumn; Cliff LeJeune (performer / vocals) – accomplished stage actor, singer and dancer, Artistic Director of the Stephenville Festival for several years, this past year has included acting and directing engagements at Festival Antigonish, the Atlantic Fringe Festival, and Theatre Newfoundland, Cliff’s renditions of the works of Leonard Cohen have resulted in glowing reviews across Canada; Laurel Martell (vocals) – biology major at UCCB and vocalist apparing with the Deckhands on Christmas Daddies Telethon, she’s opened for Tom O’Keefe in the Soundscapes series; Brian McInnis (percussion) – “Moon” learned to play drums by beating on a footstool, a regular with the Blues Merchants he has played in bands backing Matt Minglewood, Joe Murphy, and Tony D, also appeared with Tom O’Keefe’s band in the Island variety show; Michael McPhee (performer) – popular actor from Cape Breton appeared in Dangerous Dreamer’s production of Whale Riding Weather, also UCCB Dramagroup, the UCCB Festival of Plays (1994 Best Actor Award) and Festival on the Bay; and Stephanie Wills (fiddle) – another fiddling sensation from Creignish, teaches music at Gaelic College and at home, a featured artist at G7 Summit Concert in Halifax, has played fiddle since 7, has performed throughout the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario and the U.S., appeared in Cape Breton Gold during 1995.
Leon Dubinsky returns for his eleventh year as musical director and the Revue will be directed by renowned playwright and director Bryden MacDonald who is currently in residence at the Montreal Playwright’s Workshop. Nationally renowned as a playwright whose Whale Riding Weather was nominated for the Governor General’s playwright awards, MacDonald is also an exciting and daring stage director with recent credits including productions for Jest in Time, Neptune, and Festival Antigonish. Assistant to the director will be Marguerite McNeil. Douglas Arthur Brown will produce the show. Brown recently relocated to Cape Breton after seventeen years, the past nine of those years in Copenhagen, Denmark working with several professional theatre companies and operating his own marketing firm. His producing credits include two festivals of new drama in Denmark and stage productions in Toronto. He is also a published fiction writer and translator.
Almost twenty years ago the Steel City Players started working on what would become the Rise & Follies of Cape Breton Island based on a mixture of music and situations distinctly Cape Breton. Since then, the show has gone through a number of changes, seen many cast members move on to attract international attention, and kept the cape Breton experience in perspective for Cape Bretoners.
The 1996 Cape Breton Summertime Revue premieres May 21 at the Savoy Theatre.