About Dear Rita
Making its world premiere in 2021 is an inspiring new production celebrating the life and songs of the Maritimes’ most beloved singer-songwriter: Rita MacNeil. Dear Rita is a musical toast celebrating the life, tenacity, and musical legacy of the late singer.
“Rita MacNeil’s contribution to Atlantic Canada is immeasurable. Her songs have inspired generations of Canadians and we are excited to share stories of her life and the iconic music she created,” says Adam Brazier, artistic director of the performing arts.
This world premiere is a musical love letter to a true fixture of Canadian culture, a fierce and passionate performer whose songs were international hits, reaching people around the world. Woven around a script from Cape Breton’s own Lindsay Kyte and musical direction from the Island’s Mike Ross, this cabaret musical features a powerful ensemble of actors accompanied by a sizzling hot band.
Dear Rita features traditional and new, re-imagined arrangements of Rita’s songs. Director Mary Francis Moore, Kyte, and Ross have woven Rita’s lyrics and music into new perspectives, inviting her spirit into the room and letting her songs live on through the audience’s own experiences.
“We picked songs from Rita’s catalogue, from her popular hits to ones that made her bandmates weep, and created narratives around these to offer new perspectives,” shares Lindsay Kyte. “I keep getting asked, ‘Who plays Rita?’ The answer is that it’s not one person. Everyone is Rita — everyone on the stage, and everyone whose heart she touched with her music. In Dear Rita, we invite Rita’s spirit into the room so her songs can live on through our own experiences.”
The cast includes actor-musicians who both sing and play instruments, channeling MacNeil’s stories and spirit through their own identities. These include: Michelle Bouey (Lovers’ Lament), Sheldon Elter (Metis Mutt; Evangeline), Lindsay Kyte Playwright – Tompkinsville (EFT; Oakville Centre), Kristi Hansen (NAC, Citadel Theatre), Melissa MacKenzie (Good Girl), and Festival favourite, Brendan Wall.
Additional musical accompaniment is from guitar legend Chris Corrigan, who in fact recorded and toured as Rita’s actual lead guitarist for many years, and Festival vet Trevor Grant (drums).
All concessions must be purchased in advance of the performance. Call the box office to pre-order concessions for you and your group, which will be delivered directly to your seat. The box office is open Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. at 1-800-565-0278.
Confederation Centre is delighted to welcome you back to the Mainstage. A few reminders prior to your arrival:
|Masks may be removed once you are seated in the theatre. Please wear them when coming and going.|
|No Intermission: the performance will be presented straight through, approximate running time 80-90 minutes, with no intermission. If you need to leave/use the washroom at any point, please feel free to do so discreetly|
|Come prepared with your E-ticket on your device; you are not required to print it|
|Kindly observe capacity limits in washrooms and elevators|
|Please maintain physical distancing of 6 ft. between parties when possible and observe directional signage throughout the building at all times|
|Please do not attend this event if you are experiencing any COVID related symptoms|