January 19, 2010

Rock musical about totem poles

Composer's 30-year journey led to Beyond Eden

By Susan NoakesComposer Bruce Ruddell has been wanting to tell the story of the last totem poles of Haida Gwaii for almost 30 years.

Ruddell, a Victoria-based composer known for his choral and chamber music, heard the story of the 1957 trip to take down the poles at the abandoned settlement at Ninstints on the Queen Charlotte Islands from his friend, Haida carver Bill Reid.

The story of that journey that emerges in Beyond Eden—the new musical that opens in Vancouver on Thursday—is bigger and more spectacular than Ruddell ever dreamed.

Created by Theatre Calgary and Vancouver Playhouse and starring aboriginal actor Tom Jackson and Spirit of the West's John Mann, it is a rock musical with a strong Haida influence. Ruddell composed the score with rock musician Bill Henderson.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Theatre Calgary Announces Beyond Eden and Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.

Below:  "Tom Jackson and John Mann appear in Beyond Eden."

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