Belles Soeurs’ journey from iconic French play to English musical delight

Attending pre-performance chats and donor previews are one of the many benefits donors receive when they support performance, creation and learning across Canada through the National Arts Centre Foundation.

On Wednesday April 27, National Arts Centre Foundation supporters heard Copa de Oro Productions’ CEO Allan Sandler, producer of Belles Soeurs: The Musical, speak about the performance before they attended a preview. Based on the play by Michel Tremblay, Allan explained that he was retired and a stay-at-home dad when he saw the musical version of Les Belles Soeurs in French. He was thrilled with the production, and, finding that his children were growing more independent (their play dates were the first signs of impending adulthood), and at the request of Michel Tremblay, Allan said he would bring Les Belles Soeurs to an English market.

Allan promised Michel that he would keep to the spirit of the original, while making the play an English language musical. It was, after all, Les Belles Soeurs’ spirit that captured him when he first saw it performed. Allan began work with English and Francophone creative teams at the Banff Centre, admitting it wasn’t always easy – it took a while for them to get anywhere. Allan, playing the role of Judge Judy, urged the teams to reach a compromise, and drew up contracts that were ultimately never needed.

The result? A wonderful production that was years in the making - and it was well worth the wait. Before they left to watch the preview, Allan promised the audience that he took nothing out of the play but “the musical runs a little longer because of the applause”.

Belles Soeurs: the Musical plays at in the NAC English Theatre until May 14, 2016.


A special thank you to our Open Rehearsal and Preview Sponsor, Rob Marland, Royal LePage Performance Realty who makes these sessions possible for NAC Foundation donors.

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Patricia Wood