Bob Hallett knows his fair share about music, especially the traditional music of his beloved Newfoundland.

Back in 1993, with fellow Newfoundland musicians Alan Doyle, Sean McCann and Darrell Powell, Hallett founded Great Big Sea whose mission was to bring their versions of old sea shanties and traditional Newfoundland songs into modern culture. The result was a folk rock band that made its mark across Canada.

Hallett has another mission these days and, once again, it is rooted in the music of Newfoundland.

Hallett has created a musical called No Change in the Weather, which celebrates the music, history, culture, traditions and people of Newfoundland.

This summer, No Change in the Weather played to 40 enthusiastic, soldout crowds in Newfoundland, but that wasn’t enough for Hallett.

“In Newfoundland and Labrador, we were playing to the converted. I am confident this musical has a much wider appeal, which is why we are taking it on a mini Canadian tour, including Calgary at the GRAND theatre Sept. 18 to 21,” says Hallett, adding “we really do have great ambitions for this musical.”

No Change in the Weather, a Newfoundland play



Those ambitions include conquering Broadway in much the same way the little Canadian musical Come From Away did.

Hallett was the musical supervisor for Come From Away, the hit musical about the 36 planes that were forced to land at Gander airport during the 9/11 crisis.

“We are confident No Change in the Weather will have a similar impact because the story and characters are as rich as the music. More than half of the songs are from the traditional Newfoundland song book. They are all songs that have the potential to get people on their feet. These songs are not known outside Newfoundland and Labrador but we are determined to change that.”

Hallett says the idea for a Newfoundland-inspired musical has been “floating around for a long time but two years ago we started putting pen to paper. The success of Come from Away was definitely the motivator we needed.

“Musicals are driven by their songs. The story in Mamma Mia! is ridiculous. It’s the songs that make the musical so much fun and so memorable.

“We will have these incredible traditional songs, but we also have original songs created for the musical. What’s more important, we have a great story to link them all together.”

No Change in the Weather, a Newfoundland play



No Change in the Weather is set during the wake for the matriarch of a big Newfoundland family.

“The wake is a very important tradition in Newfoundland. It’s a time for songs to be sung, old feuds to be mended and great emotions to be expressed and that’s what you get in No Change in the Weather. The wake is not simply a celebration of life, but of all lives. We’re all dying. We just don’t know when it will be our turn, which gives our story its universality.”

Hallett is going to be watching the responses to No Change in the Weather as it plays in Hamilton, Ottawa and Calgary.

“Our sights are firmly set on Broadway but we know that will take us at least three years and a great deal more work. We’re going to be polishing the show and reworking it based on the reactions from audiences in the cities we visit.”

Hallett promises No Change in the Weather is of the highest possible quality not only in its songs and story but in the performers who bring it to life.

“In Kelly-Ann Evans, Calvin Powell, Paul Rose and Vicki Hamett, we have some of the finest veteran performers in Newfoundland but we also have some of the country’s most exciting young performers in Marquita Walsh and Keelan Purchase.”

Tickets for No Change in the Weather are available by calling the GRAND box office at 403-205-2922 or by going to the show’s official website