You could say these days that Theatre Aquarius is feeling a little Pollyanna-ish.
It’s not just an expression- the theatre company is returning to their tradition of a holiday musical, and as in recent years, creating an original production. However, this season, Theatre Aquarius is bringing the classic 1913 novel, Pollyanna, to life- with a musical twist.
With books and lyrics by Hamilton’s own Steven Gallagher, music by Linda Barnett and directed by Robert McQueen, Theatre Aquarius’ adaptation is an uplifting tale of hope triumphing over adversity and how the power of one young girl’s positivity can- and does- change the people around her.
“We can’t wait to share the world premiere of this exciting new musical.” said Theatre Aquarius Artistic Director Mary Francis Moore in a press release. “Linda and Steven have written a beautiful show which is sure to become a holiday favourite at theatres across the country.”
To fill the shoes of young Pollyanna and her friends, the Theatre Aquarius team looked to up-and-coming young actors. Eleven year old Emily Watt performs in the titular role. The young actress already has a number of theatrical, film and television credits to her name, including Hallmark’s Christmas in Toyland, a recent stint in Mirvish Productions’ Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and a role in the animated Builder Brothers Dream Factory. Her co-star, Athan Giazitzidis will make his professional stage debut in Pollyanna, but has a number of animated credits and community activities to his name. A chorus of six young performers act as the central chorus alongside Watt and Giazitzidis.
The young stars are also joined onstage by a number of seasoned theatre veterans with Broadway and National Tours to their names. Several cast members, including Michelle Bardach and Adam Stevenson will be particularly familiar to Hamilton audiences, having premiered Maggie: The Musical just last season at Theatre Aquarius.
“Theatre Aquarius has a world class reputation, so we’ve been able to assemble an incredible team of artists for Pollyanna. The rehearsal hall was electric on our first day, and everyone is so excited to be here. It’s a dream come true, and I can’t imagine a better city or theatre to premiere Pollyanna!” says Steven Gallagher.
Pollyanna runs from December 6-23 at Theatre Aquarius. Tickets are available now.