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Bricklin Musical Set for the Stage This Summer

by on May 18, 2010

Major developments in the world premiere production of The Bricklin were announced in Fredericton today.  This brassy new musical written by Allen Cole and Paul Ledoux tells the story of the shared dream of a Premier and a Promoter to make automotive history in New Brunswick.

This new Canadian work was commissioned by the Fredericton Playhouse and is co-produced with Theatre New Brunswick. It is the first major collaboration between the two organizations since they became separate entities ten years ago.

With catchy 1970’s pop and funk inspired tunes, the musical comedy takes audiences on a fantastical and wild ride through the politics, business antics, controversy, and fame associated with one of the most colourful stories in our province’s history.

The venture to produce the Bricklin sports car in New Brunswick was a political and business failure for then Premier Richard Hatfield and American businessman Malcolm Bricklin – one that saw New Brunswick taxpayers lose millions of dollars. However, the excitement around the project also created a sense of purpose for many New Brunswickers. The shared feeling that they were about to make a mark in the world created a feeling of hope that left many people devastated when the project failed. This divided legacy is part of what makes this production so compelling.

The Fredericton Playhouse commissioned The Bricklin, though like Malcolm Bricklin, Executive Director Tim Yerxa says he had a few false starts along the way. “I had the idea for this show years ago, and just knew it could be a classic with all of the elements of amazing theatre the story offers. But we had to find the right people and the right partners to bring it to life. Now we have a world class team for the production including some amazing homegrown talent.”

Theatre New Brunswick Artistic Producer Caleb Marshall agrees. “New Brunswick has great stories to tell, and the Bricklin promises to be an incredible piece of musical theatre. This is a rare opportunity to be a part of producing a new Canadian work, and to show the rest of the country that New Brunswick is a leader in professional theatre production.”

Marshall announced today that leading the cast as Malcolm Bricklin is Shaw Festival veteran Jason Chesworth. He’s joined by George Masswohl as Premier Richard Hatfield. Masswohl is one of Canadian theatre’s most in-demand leading men, having appeared at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, The Shaw Festival, and Halifax’s Neptune Theatre. They are also joined by musical theatre veterans Cameron MacDuffie and Troy Adams.

Notable in the casting announcement is that New Brunswick’s own Tania Breen will play the lead role of Michelle. Tania has been wowing Maritime audiences for the past several years as both a vocalist and actor.

“Tania has an incredible versatility and stage presence,” says Marshall. “This is the next step in a fantastic career in professional musical theatre for her, and I’m incredibly proud that she has been cast in this world premiere.”

The play will be directed by New Brunswick native Alisa Palmer, who returns to work in her hometown. A nationally award-winning director, writer, dramaturge and producer, Palmer promises to put a magical and comedic touch on a story she remembers from her own upbringing in the province.

The production team also includes noted industry veteran Patrick Clark as set and costume designer, ECMA award winner Michael Doherty (Sound Designer, Assistant Musical Director) and Mike Johnston (Production Manager).

The Playhouse has opted for a smaller, intimate setting for the play, reconfiguring the stage and backstage area of the 709-seat theatre to create a new 142-seat hybrid cabaret/studio theatre. The limited seating capacity also allows the show to run for two and a half weeks in the theatre which has traditionally been relatively dark in previous summer tourism seasons.

“We are giving the Playhouse a completely new look for the summer,” says Yerxa. “It’ll be a really fun and intimate way to enjoy a funny and lighthearted evening of musical theatre. There are big dreams, risk takers, a sexy sports car, heated political controversy and pulsating disco music. What else could you ask for in a musical?”

The Bricklin will open with a World Premiere on Friday, July 30. Show times will be Wednesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturdays at 5pm & 9pm and Sundays at 5pm. Tickets are now on sale through the Fredericton Playhouse and the show’s website:

Limited tickets are also available for three preview nights – July 27, 28 and 29 at 8pm.

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