Anne of Green Gables: The Musical

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Anne of Green Gables
The Musical
Anne of Green Gables The Musical.jpg
MusicNorman Campbell
LyricsDon Harron
Norman Campbell
Elaine Campbell
Mavor Moore
BookDon Harron
BasisLucy Maud Montgomery's novel
Anne of Green Gables
Productions1965 Charlottetown Festival annually
1969 London
1971 Off-Broadway

Anne Of Green Gables: The Musical is a musical based on the novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The book is by Don Harron, the music is by Norman Campbell and the lyrics by Don Harron, Norman Campbell, Elaine Campbell and Mavor Moore. The musical has been performed annually ever since 1965, making it Canada's longest-running musical.[1] In March 2014, the production was officially recognized as the longest running annual musical theatre production in the world by Guinness World Records.

Productions and background[edit]


The idea for the musical version of the book came about when the Campbells (Norman and Elaine) visited Don Harron, and he gave them the book Anne of Green Gables, suggesting that it would make a musical. The three prepared a musical version, which was broadcast in 1956 on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a television movie.

Mavor Moore, the founding artistic director of Charlottetown's Confederation Centre of the Arts, used a song from that Green Gables TV movie in the inaugural variety performance. Queen Elizabeth II was in the audience. A stage version was then written, with the premiere in 1965 at the Charlottetown Festival.[2]


The musical was originally directed and choreographed by Alan Lund. It has been performed every summer since 1965, headlining the Charlottetown Festival at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Prince Edward Island, making this Canada's longest-running mainstage musical. Just before its 50th season, in 2014, it was announced that this production of Anne of Green Gables: The Musical had been named by Guinness World Records as the "longest-running annual musical theatre production" in the world.[3] Its 2500th performance was given on August 23, 2017.[4] A song from the musical was part of the feature performance at the opening of the Confederation Centre of the Arts on October 6, 1964, playing to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh as well as Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.

The musical has also toured outside of Prince Edward Island. Its first tour was in 1967, visiting the major Canadian cities. In 1970 the musical represented Canada at the World's Fair in Osaka, Japan. The second national tour took place in 1974, at 34 venues; the third national tour was in 1982 with 9 stops. In 1969 it opened in London's West End and won that year's Drama Critics Award for Best New Musical of that year with Canadian Barbara Hamilton playing Marilla.[5] It played off-Broadway in New York from December 21, 1971 to January 2, 1972 at the New York City Center.[6] During the 1980s and 1990s the musical was produced in Japan by Gekidan Shiki.

An independent production opened on April 16, 1969, at the New Theatre, London, running for nine months and starring Polly James as Anne.[5]

In 1991, The Charlottetown Festival toured the musical to Japan on a 2-month, 8 city tour. The tour was organized by director Walter Learning, and starred Leisa Way as "Anne", Denise Ferguson as "Marilla" and David Hughes as "Matthew". Thousands of Japanese enjoyed the opportunity to see their favourite character from Lucy Maud Montgomery's book come to life onstage during this tour, and the cast and crew were overwhelmed by the generosity of the Japanese people.

In May 2009, Dancap Productions brought the original Charlottetown Festival production starring Amy Wallis to Toronto for a limited run at the Elgin Theatre.[7]

In May 2013, Theatre Calgary produced a new production with new arrangements and orchestrations by Dave Pierce.

Musical numbers[edit]

The musical numbers vary with the production, but this is the list as it appears on the soundtrack.

For the showings in the year 2008 in Charlottetown, commemorating the 100th "ANNE"iversary, a portrayal of L.M. Montgomery and the students sang a reprise of "Anne of Green Gables" in the beginning, following a bit of history of how Montgomery arrived at the plot of "Anne".

School productions typically either cut out a few tracks (Humble Pie, I'll Show Him, to name a couple) or change the key to better suit some of the more inexperienced student vocalists' ranges, as well as keep the plot fast-paced.[citation needed]

Actresses in the role of Anne[edit]

Charlottetown Festival[edit]

Film adaptation[edit]

In 2013, Canadian indie film producers The Film Farm and Side Road Media announced plans to turn the long-running musical into a feature film, written by actor and playwright Kristen Thomson.[8] The film was cancelled, due to the Anne with an E CBC/Netflix television series.[citation needed]


  1. ^ The enduring lure of Anne of Green Gables. BBC. Event occurs at 2:14. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  2. ^ Simonson, Robert. Elaine Campbell, Lyricist of Canadian Hit Musical Anne of Green Gables, Dies at 81" Archived October 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine,, August 22, 2007
  3. ^ Nestruck, J. Kelly (2014-03-10). "Musical Anne of Green Gables holds Guinness World Record". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  4. ^ MacKay, Cody. "'Astonishing': Anne of Green Gables performs its 2500th show". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  5. ^ a b "Anne of Green Gables, The Musical" The Canadian Encyclopedia, accessed April 7, 2009. Archived at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Campbell, Norman. Anne of Green Gables (1973), Samuel French, Inc, ISBN 0-573-68002-7, p. 5
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth."After a Long Absence, Anne of Green Gables, the Musical, Opens May 13 in Toronto",, May 13, 2009
  8. ^ Ozounian, Richard (9 September 2013). "Anne of Green Gables — The Musical to become a film". Toronto Star. Retrieved 6 February 2019.

External links[edit]