La Vie En Rouge: Q&A With Louise Pitre

Canada’s own award-winning chansonnière talks about her upcoming concert in Toronto

Louise Pitre

Louise Pitre. Photo by David Leyes.

On June 1, for one night only at the Jane Mallett Theatre, Louise Pitre will perform “La Vie En Rouge,” an evening of songs which will also be recorded live for an upcoming album.

Known as Canada’s first lady of musical theatre, Pitre rose to national fame in 1992 when she portrayed French singer Edith Piaf in three different productions of Piaf. She also starred as Fantine in the Toronto production of Les Misérables and created the role of Donna Sheridan in the Canadian production of Mamma Mia! Most recently, Pitre won her fourth Dora Award for her part as Mayor/Ma Ferd in The Toxic Avenger Musical.

Here, the talented performer talks about “La Vie En Rouge,” her favourite singers and more!

Theatromania: How did you choose the songs for “La Vie En Rouge”?

LP: I chose 12 Songs — songs that I’ve been singing a lot for the last year and a half at many concerts. I chose the ones that I love singing again and again. I feel comfortable with them and so does the trio. I’ve been calling it “La Vie En Rose” but for this concert and CD, I’ve decided on “La Vie En Rouge.”

Theatromania: What is your favourite song to perform?

LP: That’s an impossible question. But if I have to choose, I’d say that in French, “Ne Me Quitte Pas” takes me to another world, and in English “The Man That Got Away” makes me feel like I could fly.

Theatromania: You sing in both English and French. Do you have a preference?

LP: I can’t say that I have a preference, but I will say that in French I seem to find something even deeper, something that comes from farther away. I’m sure it’s because it’s my mother tongue.

Theatromania: Can you tell us something about your upcoming live album?

LP: I’ve decided to make a CD of just French songs. We went into the studio and recorded 10 French songs. I’ve always wanted to make a French CD. I get asked if I have one all the time. When I decided to do this concert in Toronto, I decided to really scare myself and have it recorded. I’ve always loved live recordings. What it does is make you feel that you were there! In concert, I talk a lot and I wanted some of that on a recording, too. The live recording will also have French and English so it will be a true all around evening with Louise.

Theatromania: If you could sing alongside any other chansonnière who would it be?

LP: Bonnie Raitt — because she can do wonders to any melody and I love her style of music. Linda Rondstadt — she’s the best pop singer ever! — and Ginette Reno, because I think our voices would melt together.

Theatromania: What is your dream role?

LP: Mama Rose in Gypsy and Auntie Mame in Mame.

Don’t miss “La Vie En Rouge” on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 (8 p.m.) at the Jane Mallett Theatre, St Lawrence Centre for the Arts (27 Front Street East).
Tickets $60-$75. Call 416-366-7723 or 1-800-708-6754. Book online at
For more information visit

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