Ann’s musical theatre career launched when she appeared in and co-composed the score to the celebrated Canadian classic, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe. She later composed the music for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s internationally-acclaimed production of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe.
Ann’s first full musical, Reflections on Crooked Walking, (Book, Lyrics and Music – Ann Mortifee), was nominated for a Juno Award for Best Children’s Song of the Year. Arts Club Theatre Company Artistic Director Bill Millerd says that audiences so loved the show that, “we revived it a year later, and then we revived it two times after that, and it became a Christmas show. And I keep threatening to do it yet again!”
Her next musical, When the Rains Come, (Book – Ann Mortifee with David Feinstein, Lyrics – Ann Mortifee, Music – Ann Mortifee with Edward Henderson), was selected from hundreds of world-wide submissions to be showcased at the New York Festival of New Musicals in 2001, an event deeply impacted by the September 11 tragedy, which occurred just days earlier.
Ann went on to create a tour-de-force two-person stage show about her birth country of South Africa, Into the Heart of the Sangoma. It premiered at the Arts Club Granville Island Stage. Renowned jazz flutist Paul Horn said of the music, “Ann Mortifee has created a masterpiece. Her years of travel, spiritual searching, performing, writing and a deep desire to touch bases with her roots in Africa, all come to fruition in Into the Heart of the Sangoma. I was deeply moved. You will be too.”
A TV special of her one-woman show, Journey to Kairos, was awarded the prestigious GRAND PRIX REMI at the Worldfest International Film and Video Festival, and she was honoured to perform her song, Healing Journey, before half a billion worldwide viewers in the closing ceremonies of the XV Commonwealth Games.
The essence of Ann’s music was captured by one reviewer in the simple statement, “She reaches out and touches your soul with a richness and a magic that is unmistakable”.