Islander Michelle Bouey will make her Charlottetown Festival debut next year, performing in the musical love-letter to icon, Rita MacNeil, Dear Rita at The Mack in Charlottetown.
An alumna of the TD Young Company, Bouey is a Sheridan College graduate and will also appear in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ next summer, playing Prissy Andrews. She answers questions about the upcoming summer season.
Do you have a cherished Centre memory?
“So many…from dance recitals, summer camps, high school shows, fundraisers, drama fests, and being in the Young Company, it often felt like the Centre was my second home. My summer in the Young Company was my last on the Island before I moved to Toronto for college—what a summer it was! I had dreamed about being in the Young Company since the age of seven.”
Are you excited to perform in two very different productions all summer?
“This is my first time doing theatre in rep [two shows at once], so I actually can’t believe I get to live in two worlds at once. It’s thrilling to me. I love The Mack and the intimate safe space it creates. It’s the kind of venue that gives you more of a chance to connect with your audience.
“I grew up listening to Rita MacNeil and watching her Christmas special. To think that a small group of us get to honour her legacy—on East Coast soil, none the less—is so special. For ‘Anne’, I’ve always wished I could be a part of that story. As a child, I never thought being in the show was something that could happen, because of my Asian heritage. Being in a space that feels like home, in a show I’ve cherished in my heart for so long, is special, full-stop.”
What’s one thing you think many people don’t realize about Anne™?
“I think many people go into the show thinking it’ll just delightful and fun—and it certainly is! But, I don’t think anyone can prepare you for the heartwarming, deep, emotional journey it takes you on. I’ve seen the show every year and then some since 1997 and it never fails to touch me greatly.”
You’re also an active songwriter, what were your personal highlights in 2019?
“2019 has been, thankfully, a busy year. I would say that two things stand out and it’s interesting how they represent my two passions. Firstly, being part of Mike Ross’s new musical ROSE at Soulpepper Theatre was incredible. Based on Gertrude Stein’s children’s book of the same name, Mike captured the magic and innocence of the book perfectly. I played many different parts, as well as my cello.”
“The other amazing experience of 2019 would have to be taking part in Musical Stage Company’s production of UnCovered. On the stage of Koerner Hall in Toronto, we sang the songs of Stevie Wonder and Prince, uncovering the different layers of their music in unique and personal ways. Working with Canadian musical icons such as Jully Black, Divine Brown, and Jackie Richardson was deeply rewarding.
“As far as my own music goes I’ve released three singles…and a few more are on their way. Aaron Hastelow, no stranger to Island audiences, and I will also be performing a cabaret at The Guild on January 3rd and 4th in the New Year. I may just be revealing a new song or two…”