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Charlottetown Festival’s ‘Anne of Green Gables’ gets a facelift

Now in her middle age, Anne of Green Gables will get a facelift before she returns to the Charlottetown Festival for her 47th season next summer.

Festival artistic director Anne Allan will step aside as the director and choreographer of the long-running musical and let a new creative team "reimagine" the Canadian classic, based on Lucy Maud Montgomery's 1908 novel. In addition to hiring a new director, choreographer and set designer, the festival has enlisted book writer and lyricist Don Harron, the last surviving original creator, to pen an additional scene to insert into the show – the first revision to the script since 1970.

"We figured it's time for a little bit of an update," said Dan Wall, publicist at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown. "She is 46 years old."

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While Anne of Green Gables has been running annually in Charlottetown for almost half a century, Allan's production – based on original director Alan Lund's – received a rough ride from critics on a visit to Toronto in 2009. "If this musical is to survive another 45 years, it deserves to be reinvented and reinvigorated by a new generation," Globe and Mail theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck wrote.

The Charlottetown Festival revealed further details of its 47th season yesterday: In addition to the retooled Anne, the bill for 2011 features The Full Monty, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and Maryjane Cruise's Separate Beds.

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