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Bricklin rehearsals in full swing!

by on July 12, 2011

The Fredericton Playhouse is a flurry of activity as rehearsals gear up for the much-anticipated remount of The Bricklin: An Automotive Fantasy. Since its world premiere, Allen Cole and Paul Ledoux’s hit musical has garnered national and international attention, bringing a piece of New Brunswick’s history to the headlines, and an exciting new work to eager Fredericton audiences. Opening July 22 at 7:30pm, the cast and creative team are looking forward to sharing this funk-infused musical with the masses.

For TNB Artistic Producer Caleb Marshall, remounting this production can be attributed to the strength of the work and its creators. “It’s not just about bringing back an audience favourite and giving those who missed it another chance,” says Marshall. “For us it was seeing a home grown work have a longer life, and the chance for our musical to make an impact on the Canadian musical scene.”

Fredericton Playhouse Executive Director Tim Yerxa agrees, and notes that audiences will not be disappointed when the production is remounted next week. “We’ve brought back a world class production team, led by nationally recognized and award-winning director Alisa Palmer, and we’re thrilled that Saint John native Shawn Wright will be leading the cast as Premier Richard Hatfield. With such a rich background in musical theatre, Shawn brings an incredible contribution to the show.”

As one of musical theatre’s most in-demand leading men, Wright has a large number of credits to his name, and has worked extensively in Toronto, Los Angeles, and on Broadway in such hits as Jersey Boys, The Lord of the Rings, and Mamma Mia! Local audiences will recall his recent turn as David in TNB’s world premiere production of David Adams Richards’ Hockey Dreams. A mere four months later, Wright returns to Fredericton fresh from his portrayal of Lawrence Jameson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Says Marshall, “We are very proud of The Bricklin, and thrilled that a New Brunswicker with such an extensive musical career like Shawn, could join us this year.”

Joining Wright is Shaw Festival veteran Jason Chesworth as Malcolm Bricklin, having received rave reviews for his portrayal of the slick, disco-cowboy last season. Also returning is Cameron MacDuffee who was outstanding as love-addled Bricklin mechanic Gerrard, and local favourite Tania Breen whose vocal prowess as Michelle, a small town girl with big city dreams, received rave reviews from the Telegraph Journal, who noted, “Smoky-voiced and smokin’ hot Tania Breen is simply stellar.”

Also new to the cast this year, and prepared to dazzle in multiple roles, is Ontario native Kevin Dennis. His recent credits include Assassins, A Year With Frog and Toad, Romeo and Juliet, and As You Like It. The Bricklin will mark Dennis’ debut with Theatre New Brunswick and The Fredericton Playhouse.

While last season the producers opted for a more intimate setting for the play, using the backstage area to create a unique studio theatre experience, an increase in demand has afforded the luxury of moving the production to the main stage. “Moving to a larger space is the next logical step in the production’s development, but we’re also trying to ensure we maintain the level of intimacy a smaller cabaret space affords by making a few changes in the layout,” says Yerxa. “The production returns this year as an established and successful play on the main stage, which is very rare for a new musical in Canada, and we’re very excited to be taking it to the next level.”

The Bricklin: An Automotive Fantasy opens Friday, July 22 and runs until Sunday, August 7. Show times will be Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are now on sale through the Fredericton Playhouse box office and the official Bricklin website www.bricklinmusical.ca.

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