Anne of Green Gables: The Musical

Anne of Green Gables
The Musical
Music Norman Campbell
Lyrics Don Harron
Norman Campbell
Elaine Campbell
Mavor Moore
Book Don Harron
Basis Lucy Maud Montgomery's novel
Anne of Green Gables
Productions 1965 Charlottetown Festival annually
1969 London
1971 Off-Broadway

Anne Of Green Gables: The Musical is a musical based on the novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The book is by Don Harron, the music is by Norman Campbell and the lyrics by Don Harron, Norman Campbell, Elaine Campbell and Mavor Moore. The musical has been performed continuously ever since 1965, making it Canada's longest-running musical.[1] In March 2014, the production was officially recognized as the longest running annual musical theatre production in the world by Guinness World Records.

Productions and background


The idea for the musical version of the book came about when the Campbells (Norman and Elaine) visited Don Harron, and he gave them the book Anne of Green Gables, suggesting that it would make a musical. The three prepared a musical version, which was broadcast in 1956 on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a television movie.

Mavor Moore, the founding artistic director of Charlottetown's Confederation Centre of the Arts, used a song from that Green Gables TV movie in the inaugural variety performance. Queen Elizabeth II was in the audience. A stage version was then written, with the premiere in 1965 at the Charlottetown Festival.[2]


The musical was originally directed and choreographed by Alan Lund. It has been performed every summer since 1965, headlining the Charlottetown Festival at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Prince Edward Island, making this Canada's longest-running mainstage musical. Officials are currently researching to determine whether it is the world's longest running musical.[3] A song from the musical was part of the feature performance at the opening of the Confederation Centre of the Arts on October 6, 1964, playing to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh as well as Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.

The musical has also toured outside of Prince Edward Island. Its first tour was in 1967, visiting the major Canadian cities. In 1970 the musical represented Canada at the World's Fair in Osaka, Japan. The second national tour took place in 1974, at 34 venues; the third national tour was in 1982 with 9 stops.[4] It played off-Broadway in New York from December 21, 1971 to January 2, 1972 at the New York City Center.[5] During the 1980s and 1990s the musical was produced in Japan by Gekidan Shiki.

An independent production opened on April 16, 1969, at the New Theatre, London, running for nine months and starring Polly James as Anne.[4]

In 1991, The Charlottetown Festival toured the musical to Japan on a 2 month, 8 city tour. The tour was organized by director Walter Learning, and starred Leisa Way as "Anne", Denise Ferguson as "Marilla" and David Hughes as "Matthew". Thousands of Japanese enjoyed the opportunity to see their favourite character from Lucy Maud Montgomery's book come to life onstage during this tour, and the cast and crew were overwhelmed by the generosity of the Japanese people.

In May 2009, Dancap Productions brought the original Charlottetown Festival production starring Amy Wallis to Toronto for a limited run at the Elgin Theatre.[6]

In May 2013, Theatre Calgary produced a new production with new arrangements and orchestrations by Dave Pierce.

Musical numbers

This varies with the production but this is a typical list.

Act One
  • Overture – Orchestra and Company
  • Great Workers For the Cause – Rachel Lynde and Ladies
  • Where is Matthew Going? – The Townspeople
  • Gee I'm Glad I'm No One Else But Me – Anne and Matthew
  • We Clearly Requested – Marilla, Anne, Matthew
  • The Facts – Anne, Mrs Spencer, Marilla, Mrs Blewett
  • Where'd Marilla Come From? – Mailman, Farmer, Minister and Ladies
  • Humble Pie – Matthew and Anne
  • The Apology (Oh Mrs Lynde) – Anne
  • Avonlea, We Love Thee – Mr Phillips and Students
  • Wondrin' – Gilbert
  • Did you Hear – Josie, Mrs Pye, Lucilla, Mrs Barry, Mailman, Farmer, Mrs Lynde
  • Ice Cream – Diana, Anne and Cast
  • The Picnic – The Company

Act Two
  • Summer (Where Did The Summer Go To?) – The Students
  • Kindred Spirits – Anne & Diana
  • Open The Window – Miss Stacy and the Students
  • The Words – Matthew
  • Open the Window (reprise) – Miss Stacy and the Students
  • I'll Show Him – Anne and Gilbert
  • General Store – Lucilla, Matthew and the Townspeople
  • Prince Edward Island (Pageant Song) – Gilbert, Anne, Josie, Diana and the Students
  • If It Hadn't Been For Me – The Company
  • Anne of Green Gables – Matthew
  • The Words (reprise) – Marilla
  • Wondrin' (reprise) – Gilbert and Anne

For the showings in the year 2008 in Charlottetown, commemorating the 100th "ANNE"iversary, a portrayal of L.M. Montgomery and the students sang a reprise of "Anne of Green Gables" in the beginning, following a bit of history of how Montgomery arrived at the plot of "Anne".

School productions typically cut out a few tracks (Humble Pie, I'll Show Him to name a couple) or either change the key to better suit some of the more inexperienced student vocalists' ranges, as well as keep the plot fast paced.


  1. The enduring lure of Anne of Green Gables. BBC. Event occurs at 2:14. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  2. Simonson, Robert.Elaine Campbell, Lyricist of Canadian Hit Musical Anne of Green Gables, Dies at 81" Archived October 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.,, August 22, 2007
  3. Anne of Green Gables seeking Guinness record honours, June 11, 2008
  4. 1 2 Listing In 1969 it opened in London's West End and won that year's Drama Critics Award for Best New Musical of that year with Canadian Barbara Hamilton playing Marilla., accessed April 7, 2009
  5. Campbell, Norman. Anne of Green Gables (1973), Samuel French, Inc, ISBN 0-573-68002-7, p. 5
  6. Jones, Kenneth."After a Long Absence, Anne of Green Gables, the Musical, Opens May 13 in Toronto",, May 13, 2009

External links

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