• Stephanie O'Hanley

La petite séduction shines a spotlight on Hudson


PHOTO BY KEL DEEGAN

Actress Maude Guérin (foreground), shown next to television host Dany Turcotte, succumbed to Hudson’s many charms during last weekend’s filming of the Radio-Canada hit series La Petite Séduction.

Last weekend the focus was on Hudson when a television crew from the popular Radio-Canada show La petite séduction came to visit. It’s one of the towns featured in the show’s 11th season, which airs next spring.

Hudsonites and their neighbours helped host Dany Turcotte thrill Quebec actress Maude Guérin as she was shown the sights around town. Kel Deegan, a Hudson resident who was part of the town’s organizing team, said the show asks somebody famous in Quebec a series of questions and then looks, “for a town that can offer what this person’s dreams are.”

“Hudson had everything they needed,” said Deegan. “We were able to make it bilingual and even throw some English in there. I’m so proud of everybody who helped us.”

From a tourism perspective the show offered Hudson very good exposure at a low cost, said Nicolas Pedneault, Hudson’s Director of Tourism and Culture. “We’ll be coast to coast across Canada and they have one million viewers,” Pedneault said. “It’s the most popular summer show in Canada in French.”

For Guérin, “the thing that touched her most in her life was when she played Pierrette in Les Belles-Soeurs (musical),” Deegan said. More than 100 people gathered at the Hudson Village Theatre at 7:30 a.m on Saturday morning, spending four hours preparing and performing for Guérin once she arrived.

Organizers staged a French mini-version of Les Belles-Soeurs -The Musical with local singers, dressed in character, changing the words so their song mentioned Hudson. People were asked to sit silently in the dark as Turcotte and Guérin entered the theatre and walked on stage. Deegan said Guérin didn’t know which town Turcotte had taken her to and didn’t realize the converted train station was a theatre. When the lights came on, a surprised Guérin received a warm welcome in French from the Hudson Village Theatre’s Karen Burgan.

Outside, firefighters misted water on people carrying colourful umbrellas as the community, including the Les Belles-Soeurs singers, musician Ted Poulin and dancers from the Hudson Dance Center, fulfilled Guérin’s wish to be on Broadway.

On Sunday people arrived early for the filming of a social picnic at Jack Layton Park, where a horse and rider visited Guérin. Singing sensation Mathieu Holubowski serenaded Guérin on a pontoon boat. Deegan said a Best Animal show, which included dogs but also a turtle named Twinkle, goldfish, a pig named Charlie and even a llama, “had quite a good crowd.”

For the wrap-up shoot at the Auberge Willow Inn, people brought toques which they wore and tossed in the air when Guérin appeared, a nod to Guérin being from La Tuque, Deegan said.

Hudson’s contribution to La petite séduction was put together in only two and a half weeks, Deegan said. The Les Belles-Soeurs singers only had three practices, she said. “They just pulled it off beautifully...They went for breakfast after the shooting and they’re planning to make their own production.”

Robbie Moody, lights and sound technician for the Hudson Village Theatre, said he usually has a week to prepare but this time met with the production company only days before. “It was less work though,” said Moody. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

“It’s hard to get everybody in the same room so we had a practice at the dance studio for about an hour, an hour and a half max,” said Sharon Weiner, Artistic Director and Choreographer for the Hudson Dance Center. The 20-25 dancers included “kids as young as three,” Weiner said. ‘It’s been fun. It’s a learning experience to say the least.”

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