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Anne family affair: Parents, kids play Green Gables family in P.E.I. musical

Anne family affair: Parents, kids play Green Gables family in P.E.I. musical
From CBC - July 17, 2017

It's a first for the Charlottetown Festivalan entire family of four onstage together in Anne of Green Gables The Musical. The Guy family of Toronto are portraying a fictional family in Avonlea: Cecil Sloan the farmer, his wife Mrs. Sloan, and their two daughters.

Stephen Guy-McGrath reprises the role of Cecil this season while daughter Eleanor, 11, also returns for a second season as a child of Avonlea. Melanie Phillipson,who isGuy-McGrath's wife, plays Mrs. Spencer and Mrs. Sloan, and Mairead Guy, 5, is making her stage debut as a child of Avonlea. Guy-McGrath also has a main role in the mainstage show Million Dollar Quartet and Phillipson will star in the world premiere of A Misfortune at The Mack in September.

"It's not very often you get to act with your whole familyit's pretty cool," said Eleanor Guy, while laughing that her dad's backstage hijinks are "embarrassing."

'Best of both worlds'

A happy surprise for Phillipson is that, even though they are working together, each family member still has autonomy.

"That was kind of my big worry working with my family for the first timeI have never worked with my husband before, nor with my children," she shared.

"Going to work is my relaxing time. But coming here I am getting best of both worlds, and I did not know if was going to be like that."

'Able to stay together as a family'

Guy-McGrath credits Anne director Adam Brazier, also the Centre's artistic director, with making the show a welcoming place for the family to work and live together.

"It's very difficult in this industryyou work in different places, you are keeping multiple households going if you have a familyyou are often separated from your family," he said.

"Being able to stay together as a family makes a huge difference and makes it viable, frankly, so we are very appreciative of Adam and the Centre as a whole for encouraging that," Guy-McGrath said. This is the first year the family has not had the stress of scheduling and paying for child care, Phillipson added.

"Far too often artists must leave their loved ones at home so they can find work across the country and internationally," Brazier said. "We are very lucky to have Melanie and Stephen returning to the Festival and look forward to watching their children grow on the stage throughout the summer."

"And Avonlea is such a beautiful world for a family to be in," Brazier added.

'Professional and well-behaved'

Guy-McGrath first appeared in the festival when he won a role in Evangeline in 2015. Last year, Brazier asked him back to audition for Mamma Mia! and he was also given the role of Cecil in Anne, while after a small audition Eleanor won a role as one of the children. Phillipson joined them later in the summer after winning a role in the Centre's Belles Soeurs -The Musical.

'Perfect age'

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