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New Canadian musical and epic love story, Evangeline, announces lead performers

February 14, 2013

Broadway veterans Chilina Kennedy and Adam Brazier to play star-crossed lovers

(Charlottetown, P.E.I.) - Valentine's Day seems perfect timing to announce the leads in what promises to be an epic love story to be told on stage this summer. After an extensive audition process in four cities, Confederation Centre of the Arts is excited to announce the casting of Evangeline and Gabriel-the two leads for the new musical, Evangeline. Written by Ted Dykstra (2 Pianos, 4 Hands) and inspired by Longfellow's classic poem, the musical makes its world premiere at The Charlottetown Festival this June. Portraying the two lovers - who become separated during the 1755 deportation of the Acadians - will be accomplished Canadian performers, Chilina Kennedy and Adam Brazier.

Both actors come to Charlottetown with remarkable backgrounds, having starred in Canada's finest theatres and on Broadway. Kennedy, an Oromocto, New Brunswick native, is currently playing in The Importance of Being Earnest at Neptune in Halifax and recently played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway.
"Chilina was a stand-out candidate for Evangeline from the minute we saw her audition," says Dykstra, who will co-direct with Anne Allan, artistic director of The Charlottetown Festival. "Chilina is one of my absolute favourite performers because she brings it all, and that is so rare."

"I saw the workshop for Evangeline in Toronto years ago and fell in love with it," states Kennedy, "It means a lot to me to have the chance to portray this particular heroine here in the Maritimes, considering the magnitude of the story and what the poem symbolizes for Acadian culture and history."

Kennedy's other career highlights include three seasons at Stratford Festival, three seasons at Shaw Festival, and the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings. The actor returns to Charlottetown twelve years after making her professional debut as Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables-The MusicalTM. This summer, in addition to her role in Evangeline, Kennedy will also portray Miss Stacy in the Festival's mainstay musical.

"Playing Anne at the Festival back in 2000 and 2001 marked the first major milestone in my career. I was fresh out of school and it was a dream role for me. I was born in the Maritimes so it means a lot to return here to play Miss Stacy as well. What a wonderful full circle!"

Evangeline marks Brazier's debut at The Charlottetown Festival. "I am extremely proud and honoured to be a part of this original Canadian musical," said Brazier. The Toronto-based actor originated the role of Walter Hartwright in The Woman in White and played Rapunzel's Prince in Into the Woods on Broadway and he also performed in Mirvish's production of Mamma Mia! He has spent three seasons at Stratford, one with Shaw, as well as stints with Theatre Calgary, Neptune, and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, amongst others. The actor recently made his directorial debut with the Birdland Theatre production of Assassins for which he received a Dora Award nomination for direction. "Adam Brazier has been involved with Evangeline for so much of its development," says Dykstra, who work-shopped the new musical with Mirvish Productions. "I am thrilled he is able to be with us this summer, not only as a fantastic performer, but as a leader and force in Canadian theatre."

Evangeline makes its world premiere June 26. With Valentine's in the air, the Centre is currently promoting a special discount for this epic love story. Until February 28, ticket-buyers can save up to 40% off on Evangeline tickets. This promotion is only valid for seats in orchestra sections A and A+. The promotion code is: LOVE. Visit charlottetownfestival.com for more. Tickets can be purchased online, or by calling (902) 566-1267, or toll free 1-800-565-0278.

Warm thanks are extended to the Festival's major sponsor, APM, and to both the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Government of Prince Edward Island through the Department of Tourism and Culture for their support. The Festival's media sponsors are The Guardian, CTV, Hot 105.5, Ocean 100 and Bell Aliant.

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Photo Cutline: Photo#1- New Brunswick born Canadian actor, Chilina Kennedy will originate the role of Evangeline in the world of premiere of the musical love story, Evangeline.