Stage Door News
Stratford: See Chilina Kennedy and Eric Holmes’s “Call It Love” September 3-12
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
After four years in development in New York, actor Chilina Kennedy and television writer Eric Holmes are set to present their new musical, Call It Love, in concert on the Stratford Perth Museum’s Players’ Backstage starting next week.
Set to run from Sept. 3 to Sept. 12 with both afternoon and evening performances, Call It Love follows Olivia as she find herself in hospital suffering from memory loss. As she undergoes a series of medical tests and her memory gradually returns, she explores her past relationships in search of the loss that wiped her slate clean.
“This is the first time we’ve done anything live with it in Canada,” said Kennedy, a Stratford Festival and Broadway alumna . “It’s basically about a woman who finds herself in a hospital room, she wakes up and has no memory of who she is or how she got there, and she has to put the pieces of her life back together. The music is loosely based on my 2015 album, What You Find in a Bottle, but I’ve written a lot of new material for the show.”
While the show has been staged privately and in workshops a handful of times with a few different casts, Kennedy said this production marks the first time it has been presented live and in concert.
The cast for this production will be instantly recognizable to fans of the Stratford Festival. Local Festival favourites including Dan Chameroy (The Rocky Horror Show), Robert Markus (Why We Tell the Story) and Jennifer Rider-Shaw (A Chorus Line) will be joined on stage by Brandon Antonio (Next To Normal), a Filipino-Canadian Dora Award nominated singer-actor, and Yemie Sonuga (Porgy and Bess), a Nigerian-Canadian-American singer, actor and model.
“We’re so lucky to have Dan Chameroy, who’s playing the nurse. He’s going to be fantastic. I’ve worked with him for years. Brandon Antonio plays Thomas. He and I just finished a production of Blackout together in Toronto and, in fact, Yemie Sonuga was also in that production. She’s playing Jessica. So the three of us just finished Blackout for The Musical Stage Company and Canadian Stage in High Park a couple of weeks ago.
“And then we’ve got Robert Markus who, of course, so many people know from Stratford, but also (from) Dear Evan Hansen (in Toronto). And then Jenn Rider-Shaw is playing the lead. I’ve admired Jenn for years, and she and I have worked together before and I’ve seen her in so many things. I just think every one of these people is brilliant.”
While pulling together the first public, live performance of Call It Love was a challenging feat in the midst of pandemic restrictions, Kennedy said the idea of debuting it in Stratford, specifically on the Stratford Perth Museum’s new outdoor stage, made perfect sense.
“I actually live there. I’ve had a house there since 2009 and, every time I get a chance to come back to Stratford and stay in my house, it’s beautiful,” Kennedy said. “I love it for the Festival and I also just love it because the town has been great to me. The other thing is (museum general manager) John (Kastner) and I have become buddies, and I’ve been watching the progress of this new space in development since he first started talking about it. It’s really wonderful to see how it’s come to be and everything they’ve done.
“It’s just gorgeous land and I love the museum. It just felt like a natural fit.”
For more information on Call It Love and to purchase tickets, visit www.eztix.co.
By Galen Simmons for www.stratfordbeaconherald.com.