It’s a first for the Charlottetown Festival — an 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 is Guy-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 family … it’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’re working together, each family member still has autonomy.
“That was kind of my big worry working with my family for the first time — I’ve never worked with my husband before, nor with my children,” she shared.
“Going to work is my relaxing time. But coming here I’m getting best of both worlds, and I didn’t 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 industry — you work in different places, you’re keeping multiple households going if you have a family — you’re 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’re very…