The offer to be part of a Broadway smash hit could be described as music to the ears for Anna Ludlow.
The Antigonish native and internationally-known Celtic artist has been cast as the lead fiddle player for Come from Away, when it takes centre stage, once again, in Canada.
“It is one of those [opportunities] – if you didn’t take it, you would regret it,” Ludlow said of the chance to join the musical, which chronicles the week in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, one of the locations where planes from around the world were grounded, after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
She added she is “still in shock” about receiving the opportunity, which came – “out of the blue” – from Bob Hallett, the fiddle player for Great Big Sea, who approached her with the offer.
“He is the music authenticity person, basically, making sure that the players have an East Coast or a Newfoundland sound,” Ludlow explained.
She noted her long-time friend, St. F.X. classmate and fellow musician – Dawn Beaton – gave her name to Hallett.
After a couple auditions, the Come from Away production offered her the role.
“It is a really big deal – an amazing opportunity,” Ludlow said.
Nevertheless, the final decision was not cut-and-dried.
Ludlow lives in Ottawa with her two-year-old daughter, Eva, and husband, Jared Hebbs, while Come from Away is based in Toronto.
After a one-month run in early 2018, the remaining shows for the year – from mid-February to early September – will be staged at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in the Ontario capital.
“It is just going to be amazing,” she added of the opportunity to perform for sold-out audiences at the venerable location.
Ludlow outlined her contribution to the production, including playing in the stage band. She will also spend time on stage, interacting with the musical’s cast during pub scenes and such.
“There is going to be a lot of back-and-forth,” she said, describing it is “fantastic,” as opposed to being exclusively in the “pit,” the location for most band members during such shows.
The grand stage, so to speak, is nothing new for Ludlow, who has spent the past 14 years as lead fiddle player for DRUM! – the Juno-nominated and highly-acclaimed production.
“It is going to be really cool,” she said of the coming experience, noting it will be extra special, considering her deep East Coast roots.
Describing it as “a great fit,” Ludlow said she “holds the importance of community very close to my heart.”
“I grew up in a place where everyone was treated like family and we always came together and were supportive of one another in times of need,” she added.
With this musical opportunity, Ludlow noted, she will have to postpone work on her second CD, one that Pictou County native Dave Gunning is producing.
“It is pretty much finished,” she said of the album, which will include contributors, such as J.P. Cormier, Doris Mason, Maggie MacDonald and Seth Peters.
When it is finished, Ludlow noted the plan is to tour the collection to provide “a lot more exposure.”
With a young family, work on a CD and this opportunity, she described her life as “triple busy.”
“It has been going really, really great,” Ludlow said of living in Ottawa, since 2013, the place where her husband grew up.
In the Nation’s Capital, she noted, there have been plenty of chances to ply her musical talents, bringing her Celtic offerings to events such as the Ottawa Bluesfest, Festival of Small Halls and on Parliament Hill.
That doesn’t mean Ludlow doesn’t miss home.
“Of course, I love Antigonish so much,” she said.
For more information about Ludlow, visit annaludlow.com