It’s the summer of 1973 and four old friends have met at a high school reunion. As they contemplate the future, they look back at their high school years and remember the music of their youth. “Back in 59” is a rollicking, non-stop trip through the years from 1959 to 1963, with wonderful harmonies, inspiring medleys and non-stop choreography.

Back in ’59, is written and directed by Canadian playwright, producer, director and actor Thom Currie. Since its birth last year at the Showboat Theatre Festival in Colborne, Ontario; the high-octane musical has been a sell-out success at every theatre. Now Montrealers can shake, shimmy and roll to chart toppers from the early sixties.

Thom explains the infectious appeal of his show: “This really was an unbeatable time in North American pop music; a rich and fertile period when radio culture went crazy with mainstream rock ‘n’ roll music. We do a lot of theme medleys: a set about the Twist, another about turning 16, song titles using girls’ first names … it’s a lot of fun.” Incredibly, none of the songs are from popular icons of the time, such as Elvis or Buddy Holly. Currie says, “People ask me what’s left if you don’t do Elvis but I bet you everyone in the theatre will know the lyrics to each of the more than seventy songs in the show. We just finished a run at Port Stanley and for the first time ever at that theatre, they had a show that was sold out before its first preview!”

Thom Currie is the Artistic Director of The Showboat Festival Theatre, now in its 26th season, and has worked as a performer and/or director in Canada and the US as well as in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Brussels. He has directed over 40 productions in addition to more than 50 productions for young audiences including his own creations, such as the children’s rock opera Rock ‘N’ Fables.

Currie harnessed talent from across Canada this show. Stephanie Graham, who has appeared numerous times on the Stratford stage and was the director/choreographer for three seasons at the Charlottetown Festival Young Company, “captures the essence of the music and the spirit of the era” with her choreography.

The original and well-known Canadian musical director, Steve Thomas, (co-wrote Sitting Pretty, One Moment and the well-known Jasper Station with Norm Foster) produced the arrangements for his musical sequences. The current musical director, Nova Scotian Meredith Zwicker, recently back from New York where she performed in the premiere of Musical Pawns, provides keyboards.

Anna Hurshman (Leanne) is known to musical theatre buffs in Eastern Canada (West Side Story at Halifax’s Neptune Theatre) as well as in Ontario (The Drowsy Chaperone at Sudbury Theatre Centre and Jacques Brel at Chester Playhouse). Clayton Labbe (Charlie) just finished his directorial debut with the national tour of Everyone Jump. St. John’s native and Sheridan College grad, Miranda MacDonald, reprises her role of Crystal and Glen Mills (Dave), who studied at both Alberta’s Red Deer College and Sheridan College, is a recognizable face having placed in the ‘Top 8’ on CBC Television’s second season of Triple Sensation.

Back in ’59 be at Hudson Village Theatre (air conditioned) from July 11 – 22. Performances are at 8pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and 2 pm matinees on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets $27 & $29; available at: 450-458-5361 or Enjoy!