Montreal Gazette

Daisy and the Wonder Weeds: a musical with a green theme

Members of the cast of Daisy and the Wonder Weeds, a musical that is set to open at Théâtre Beaubois in Pierrefond­s on Friday, is co-directed by West Islander Coralie Heiler, who is thrilled to stage her world premiere at home. See story,

- KATHRYN GREENAWAY kgreenaway@ montrealga­

The weeds are warming up in the wings and the flowers are ready for their close-up.

The musical Daisy and the Wonder Weeds is primed for its world premiere at Théâtre Beaubois in Pierrefond­s-Roxboro on Friday.

The musical is written by Jean Elliott Manning and directed by Sylvain Millette and Coralie Heiler and is suitable for all ages.

“Just because it has talking flowers doesn’t mean it’s only for children,” Heiler said with a laugh.

The environmen­tally themed musical is set in a garden in the oxygen-deprived city of Megapolis. A corrupt mayor wants to turn the little green space into a parking lot. Flowers and weeds unite to fight. On the subject of weeds. One of the goals of the play is to change the way people think about weeds.

“When you think weed, you think dandelion,” Heiler said. “But when you think of dandelions, instead of reaching for the weed killer, you should put some in your salad. ”

Heiler, who plays Daisy in the musical, grew up in the West Island. She studied ballet and jazz before she got hooked on musical theatre in high school.

“The (after-school) musical theatre group was putting on Fiddler on the Roof and so I thought I’d take a few singing lessons and maybe get a part in the chorus,” Heiler said.

“I ended up playing the daughter Chava (an important role). The next year I was cast as Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music. I got to sing and dance and act all at the same time. I loved it.”

Heiler, now a classicall­y trained soprano, travels to New York and London to take voice master classes, but is always happy to return to Montreal to run her company Production­s Coracole. And, unlike so many other singers in Canada, she has no plans to relocate to Toronto, a city with an establishe­d musical-theatre scene. “I want to be part of building something here,” the 27-year-old said. “Montreal has the talent and the facilities, but musical theatre is not part of the culture here, yet. We need to work on getting the public used to attending theatre the same way it goes to movies.”

Manning, an expat American who moved to Montreal to become bilingual, worked on Daisy for over a decade while forging an internatio­nal career writing music for film, television and theatre.

The play was given a trial reading during the Centre for Education and Theatre Montreal’s Next Wave Festival in 2010. Manning is currently working on a French version.

This is the first time Heil- er has produced a musical from the bottom up.

The 16-member cast have been researchin­g their roles to discover ways to make “the garden” feel real.

There are six musicians who play a variety of genres, including hip hop, rock and Broadway.

Production­s Coracole presents Daisy and the

Wonder Weeds at Théâtre Beaubois, 4901 du Collège Beaubois St. i n Pierrefond­s-Roxboro, Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $18 for children under 12 years old. For reservatio­ns, call 514-6855093 or visit www.production­

 ?? MARIE-FRANCE COALLIER/ THE GAZETTE ?? Daisy and the Wonder Weeds is set in a garden in the oxygen-deprived city of Megapolis.
MARIE-FRANCE COALLIER/ THE GAZETTE Daisy and the Wonder Weeds is set in a garden in the oxygen-deprived city of Megapolis.

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