Soulpepper presents Rose, a new original musical for all ages

By Sarah Wilson

Imagine a story that begins with the words ‘Once upon a time’ and then goes places you never expected. Or a classic hero’s journey that’s unlike any you’ve ever seen before.

Or imagine a musical in which a trio of plaid-shirted ex-loggers have traded their axes for instruments to narrate a nine-year-old girl’s journey of self-discovery. And then imagine that the whole thing is based on a 1939 book by the poet Gertrude Stein.

Set in a little mountain town called Somewhere (a town that’s a whole lot like Anywhere), Rose is the story of well, Rose, a nine, almost 10-year-old, girl who goes on an unlikely adventure to answer her Big Question: Who am I? With the support of her best friend Willie and her dog named Love, she undertakes the journey of a lifetime, risking everything to find the answers she’s looking for.

Nine-years old is a special time. There’s a burgeoning awareness of yourself and the world around you that’s both scary and exciting, and the questions that arise from that tension are ones that last a lifetime: How do you really know who you are? How do you find your purpose? Which limits do you fight and which do you accept? Though Rose is young, her story and her questions will resonate with all ages.

Her story is about courage, friendship and love; about finding your own path, even when that path doesn’t look the way you thought it would.

Going out to a show involves the expenditure of both time and money, so I want to be clear about a couple of things:

• The first is that you do not need any knowledge or appreciation of Gertrude Stein to enjoy this show. Rose is unconventional, but it’s very accessible.

• The second is if you’re between the ages of 5 and 105, you’re going to want to see Rose. You do not need the company of children to enjoy the show.  If you’ve got ‘em, bring ‘em and they’ll have a blast – I’ve got young people coming between the ages of 5 and 17. But if you don’t have children, I recommend bringing your grown-up self anyways because you’ll have a blast too.

Rose has an incredible, eclectic score, written by Mike Ross (composer of the New York Times Critics Pick Spoon River). It ranges from traditional Americana to musical theatre to rock ’n roll   and beyond, featuring a company of fifteen extraordinary performers.

The funny, big-hearted new Canadian musical Rose will have you dancing in your seat and you’ll go home humming, and best of all, it will warm your heart during our long, cold winter.

Sarah Wilson is a co-creator of Rose. For details and ticket information about the show that runs until February 24, go to soulpepper.ca.