By Keith Tomasek, Sept. 27, 2017
Roch Carrier’s classic short story, “The Hockey Sweater,” is being adapted into a musical with Stratford’s Donna Feore at the helm.
Commissioned and produced by Montreal’s Segal Centre for Performing Arts, this original Canadian production is directed and choreographed by Donna Feore, with Book and Lyrics by Emil Sher (“Hana’s Suitcase,” “The Boy in the Moon,” and “Beneath the Banyan Tree”), and Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Monro (Composer of “No Matter What,” “Variations on a Nervous Breakdown,” and Music Supervisor on “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz: The Musical”).
Presented as part of the offcial programming of Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebrations, “The Hockey Sweater: A Musical” will run at the Segal Centre from October 19 to November 12, 2017.
Two Young Stars
Trading off the part of Young Roch are two performing dynamos.
Alessandro Gabrielli has been seen on many Montréal stages, along with numerous television appearances; including the role of Michael Banks in Juste pour Rire’s ongoing
and acclaimed French-language production of “Mary Poppins.”
Jesse Noah Gruman, whose musical passion began at the age of three when he took up violin and who has been studying dance since the age of five, will be making his professional debut in this production.
The story features many youngsters all between the ages of 11 and 13 including Drew Davis, who began his acting career on camera at the age of five on “Rookie Blue,” and currently voices the roles of Marshall on “Paw Patrol” and Justin on “Justin Time;” Annelise Forbes, whose many credits include Pollyanna in “Pollyanna, A New Musical” (Lab/ Yonge St. Theatricals) and Young Clara in “The Nutcracker” (Hamilton City Ballet); Jayden Greig, who has previously appeared as Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” (Neptune Theatre), and Michael Banks in “Mary Poppins” (Neptune Theatre and Drayton Entertainment); Lucas Kalechstein, who has also played Michael Banks in “Mary Poppins” for three seasons at the Lower Ossington Theatre and Flounder in “Little Mermaid” (UTC); Riley O’Donnell, who just recently performed throughout North America in the Acrobat Tour of “Matilda the Musical” as Lavender for which the ensemble received a 2017 Dora Mavor Moore award nomination; and Berkley Silverman completes the young group. She is a competitive dancer, and trained singer, best known for her 2017 Young Artist Award-winning role as the voice of Everest in Nickelodeon’s “Paw Patrol.”
Richard Jutras, whose many theatre credits include “Crazy for You” and “Damn Those Wedding Bells” at the Segal, will be playing the part of an adult Roch Carrier looking back on his childhood. No stranger to rink-side hijinks, Jutras was nominated for a Gemini Award in both 2005 and 2006 for Best Ensemble in a Comedy for the hit CBC series, “The Tournament.”
Stratford Veterans and Sheridan College Graduates
In the role of Roch’s mother is Claire Lautier who has played leading roles on stages in New York, across the United States, and Canada; including six seasons as a leading actor at the Stratford Festival. In the role of village priest (and referee) Father Delisle, is another Stratford and Shaw Festival regular, Ian Simpson; he has previously worked with Director Donna Feore on “The Sound of Music.”
The cast features four graduates of Sheridan College’s illustrious Musical Theatre Program, Andréane Bouladier (as seen in the North-American/Broadway tour of “Les Misérables”), Geneviève Dufour (who has performed many times at the Théâtre Français de Toronto), Jean-François Poulin (winner of the Juste pour rire Victor Award for Artist of the Year 2016 for his role as Bert in “Mary Poppins”), and Brandon Howard Roy who will be making his professional stage debut following three seasons with the Confederation Players.
The Hockey Sweater: A Musical
October 19 to November 12
The Segal Centre for Performing Arts
YOUNG ROCH/ANDRÉ Alessandro Gabrielli / Jesse Noah Gruman
MME CARRIER Claire Lautier
FATHER DELISLE Ian Simpson
GAÉTAN OUELLETTE Scott Beaudin
MLLE THERRIEN Kate Blackburn
WITH Andréane Bouladier, Geneviève Dufour, Jean-François Poulin & Brandon Howard Roy
AND ROCH’S TEAMMATES Drew Davis, Annelise Forbes, Jayden Greig, Lucas Kalechstein, Riley O’Donnell & Berkley Silverman
And featuring Richard Jutras as ROCH CARRIER
BOOK AND LYRICS Emil Sher
MUSIC AND LYRICS Jonathan Monro
BASED ON THE SHORT STORY “THE HOCKEY SWEATER” BY Roch Carrier, Translated into English by Sheila Fischman and Published by House of Anansi Press
DIRECTOR AND CHOREOGRAPHER Donna Feore
MUSICAL DIRECTOR Jonathan Monro
ORCHESTRATOR Oran Eldor
SET AND COSTUME DESIGNER Michael Gianfrancesco
COSTUME CO-DESIGNER Louise Bourret
LIGHTING DESIGNER Luc Prairie
Jonathan Monro (Band Leader), Evan Watts Smith, Jason Field, Beth McKenna, Frederic Bourgeault, Vanessa Marcoux, and Parker Bert