After making its French language World Premiere to phenomenal critical and public acclaim in 2016 as part of the internationally renowned Just For Laughs Festival and subsequently playing to sold out audiences in Québec earlier this summer, the 2-time Felix Award-winning stage spectacle “Mary Poppins” returns to Montreal’s Theatre St. Denis for what is announced to be a final encore presentation from December 9th to 30th, 2017.
In anticipation of the magical holiday gift for Montreal theatregoers, Montreal Theatre Hub’s Editor-in-Chief Camila Fitzgibbon sat down to speak with original cast member and returning performer ALEXIA GOURD to discuss her stellar artistic career as well as the revival of the musical behemoth, Juste Pour Rire’s (and presumably Quebec theatre’s) most successful commercial stage production to date.
MONTREAL THEATRE HUB: Having seen the show myself twice already in addition to having most recently experienced Juste Pour Rire’s productions of Sister Act, Hairspray and Footloose, I can confidently state that Mary Poppins is my favourite of JPR’s musical theatre offerings to date. After an extremely successful (and unprecedented) two year run, how do you feel about Mary Poppins at last coming to an end?
ALEXIA GOURD: It’s a very bittersweet feeling. The whole cast and crew has become a family to me and it’s going to be hard to let that go. I feel beyond fortunate to have been a part of this production. Having a steady job for almost two years isn’t a common thing in this industry, as we all know (laughs). However, I’m one who is always up for a challenge and I’m ready for new adventures!
Now in its third revival since its grand premiere in 2016, is there still a future for the show?
There was a plan for us to bring the show to Paris for a couple months actually. Unfortunately, after the scandal around Gilbert Rozon, JFL’s founder, blew up, the French producers decided to put to project on ice in order to let things cool down a little bit. We’ll see if they bring in back in the future. I like to think our journey isn’t completely over.
And what an extraordinary journey. This production has certainly changed the local scene in setting a new bar for the quality of our theatre – one would hope there is a life beyond it in new markets. What would you say has been the greatest memory throughout the entirety of this experience?
There are so many! I would say however, that getting the chance to perform in front of Celine Dion during the En Direct de l’Univers special (a televised show by ICI Radio-Canada) was quite memorable. Our Opening Night, back in June 2016 was also really special. The love we received from our peers and the industry was unreal.
What do you feel has been the greatest challenge for you, personally, throughout the process?
Last summer, we performed all summer in Quebec City and during the first part of tech week, both our director and our choreographer were absent because they were still working on Footloose, back in Montreal. We had a few technical problems and, on top of that, three performers got injured right before opening. Because I was appointed the title of dance captain, I had to take the leadership for a while and a few make big decisions, which was quite stressful. Fortunately, everything ended up working out and we had a great run in Quebec City.
You’re quite the wild card in Mary Poppins and you do so much throughout the show. Tell us a bit about your roles and your track in this production.
My track was crazy! After the first year, a couple performers were replaced, and I was offered to take on a few extra parts. Therefore, I played an ensemble member, a banker, Queen Victoria, the Ballerina, a client in Supercalifragilisticexialidocious and a chimney sweep in Step In Time. My first act was a constant race with insane makeup and costume changes, and also having to switch up characters in a ziff. I LOVED it. We live for challenges like that as actors.
What is next for you now that the show seems to have come to, as you mention, a most “bittersweet” end?
I’m coming out of an incredibly busy two year where I combined Mary Poppins with many other projects like Prom Queen at The Segal Center and Theatre studies in Los Angeles, California. I haven’t stopped a second since January 2016! The next few months look like they are going to be a little quieter and I’m not mad about it. I’m excited to get the chance to work on personal projects. Also, in this industry, things come up last minute all the time, we never know what could happen. Whatever it is: I’m ready for it!
Just Pour Rire’s hit musical production of “Mary Poppins” returns to Montreal’s St-Denis Theatre from December 9th and 30th, 2017. Tickets available for purchase at:
ABOUT ALEXIA GOURD
Alexia is a multidisciplinary artist, born in Montreal, Canada. With a College degree in classical singing from l’École de Musique Vincent-d’Indy, she also masters other styles such as jazz and pop.
Trained in acting with various coaches in Montreal as well as at the prestigious Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre in Los Angeles, she was a part of the TV show Les Poupées Russes (that aired on TVA network) during 3 seasons and also took a supporting lead role as Julianne in the feature film Sur le Rythme (Dance on the Beat) (2011). She also appears in various webseries and music videos. Professional dancer and choreographer , Alexia started training in various styles such as Jazz, Tap, Ballet & Hip Hop at age 6. She has had the chance to perfom in many different cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego or New York. She is also an up-and-coming choreographer in Montreal.
Perfectly bilingual, she is now very involved in the Canadian musical theatre scene, both in French and English . Recent theatre credits include: Columbia in the Rocky Horror Show (Mainline Theatre), Vivianne in In Transit (Segal Centre for Performing Arts), Martha in Spring Awakening: The Musical (Centaur Theatre), Sister Act (Just For Laughs), Bubbles in Funny Girl (Segal Centre), Tammy in Hairspray (Just for Laughs), Yvette in Noël 1933 (Exaltemps Theatre), Peggy in the brand new Canadian musical Prom Queen (Segal Centre) and Mary Poppins (Just for Laughs).