In 2012, ALECK BELL: A Canadian Pop Rock Musical is going on tour. Here’s where it all began…
At the end of 2010, when I sat down to plan our next season, I knew it had to be big. We were coming off a really amazing year, with our first full season of production in Tweed, and our first full-scale original Canadian Musical. We had already decided that we would be bringing our musical ‘TWEED!’ to Toronto, and we wanted to create another new show for our season in Tweed.
I had been wanting to do a musical using Canadian pop rock music, but as of yet had not found the right subject. As it got closer and closer to the time to settle on a season, I still hadn’t really come up with much. I was scanning through a list of famous Canadians one afternoon, and stumbled upon Alexander Graham Bell. For some reason, out of all of the amazing people on that list, Aleck Bell jumped out at me. The next day I went out and bought a biography of Mr. Bell. What I found there was amazing.
Alexander Graham Bell led a fascinating and incredible life. He was an incredible man with a brilliant mind, and his story was meant to be told. I decided that this was the show I wanted to do. I began to make notes about what we would want in the production, and almost immediately approached my good friend Joel MacMeekin to help me write the show. We sat down shortly after and started to figure out a plot line, and choose music from the huge Canadian Pop Rock Cannon. Before we knew it we had a solid story line, some great tunes, and a beautiful story.
Joel took that away, and over the course of the next couple months wrote a brilliant show. We sat down a few more times, figured out some details, polished the show, and finally had something that we were ready to put on stage. We had our auditions, we booked our dates, we rented the instruments, and we were ready to start.
How we found the cast that we did, and how they all agreed to do the production will forever be beyond me. This group of people is really better than we could have ever imagined, and we were instantly, and continue to be, in love with them. They took every little bit of this story to heart, and told it with a truth, talent and integrity like I have never seen before. The brilliant Emilee Nimetz agreed to choreograph the show, and exceeded our expectations. All around, this production is my proudest moment to date. The show came together like magic, and blew Joel and I away. We knew instantly that this show would be going places.
Over the course of our run, several members of the Stirling Festival Theatre’s board and staff came to see the production. We are lucky to count Stirling Theatre as our friends, and shortly after our production had closed, Stirling approached us to include BELL as part of their 2012 season. We were honoured and excited and of course ecstatically agreed!
We then began the process of booking other venues and planning where else we would like to take the show. We already knew we wanted to bring the show to Toronto after our success there with TWEED, so that was an easy one. We then sat down to think where else the show would fit, and where else we would like to take it.
The next easiest choice was the beautiful city of Brockville. Joel and I both attended St. Lawrence College and had done all of our productions there at the Brockville Arts Centre. The BAC was like a second home to us, and we were so excited when the whole team there jumped on board with us. We are thrilled to be spending four days at the beautifully renovated Brockville Arts Centre. I think this show is really going to hit home there, and I literally can’t wait to show it to them.
Next, came our last stop, and again, a fairly obvious choice. When the Bell’s first crossed the Atlantic and came to Canada, they settled in a beautiful little town in regional Ontario. That town was Brantford. I have performed at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford on numerous occasions, and it has got to be one of the most stunning, well maintained, kindest venues in the country. We pitched the show to them, and again, they were very excited to welcome us in. We set the dates, and confirmed the production there. I can’t wait to bring this show to the city of Brantford, and tell the story of this remarkable man in his Ontario home. I think it is going to be a really magical experience.
So the tour was set, and now it’s time to get the show ready! We are incredibly lucky and excited to be welcoming back most of our original cast, with a few new people who are sure to blow your mind. We also have a really exciting new set designed by Mr. David Butler. Dave has created something that is really going to be the perfect home for this production, with lots of surprises and stunning inclusions.
And there’s lots more in store as well. We have already purchased our first beautiful antique piano that will be touring with us, we have our wicked new drum kit, and there is loads more in the works! New lighting effects, microphones, additional costumes, this show is going to be huge! The biggest we have ever produced!
We are so excited about everything that is happening this season, and we are insanely excited for this tour. We are going to four theatres that we love, four towns that we love, with a show that we couldn’t love more. This production means the world to me, and hopefully you will have an opportunity to come and experience it with us. See you at the show!!