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Malcolm Bricklin to attend opening night of Bricklin musical

by on July 14, 2011

The man whose entrepreneurial dream saw the rise and fall of the Bricklin SV-1, and spawned one of the most colourful stories in our province’s history, is slated to attend the opening performance of The Bricklin: An Automotive Fantasy at The Fredericton Playhouse on July 22 at 7:30pm. Malcolm Bricklin, whose namesake, vision, and an uncanny version of his younger self form the basis of this incredible production, has cast and crew alike riddled with anticipation over his arrival – making for a very special evening and a milestone in the Bricklin production’s history.

Jason Chesworth, who portrays Bricklin, is looking forward to meeting the man whose storied career as an automobile pioneer gave him the opportunity to play such a strong character. “Very seldom is an actor fortunate enough to meet the real life embodiment of his character,” says Chesworth. “It’s incredibly exciting to know the person you are emulating on stage is in the audience, but such a valuable and rare occurrence as well. I’m very much looking forward to meeting and talking with Mr. Bricklin about his experience.”

Fredericton Playhouse Executive Director Tim Yerxa agrees, and looks forward to Malcolm Bricklin’s arrival next week. “We couldn’t be more thrilled that Malcolm and his wife will be flying in from New York to help us celebrate the evolution of this project. I can’t think of a better way to mark the opening of our remount than the coming together of this famed automotive heavyweight and his legacy on stage.”

When asked about his impending visit to Fredericton, the now 72-year-old Bricklin stated, “I’m happy to see that the car that made history in Canada is still able to make Canadians smile today. I wish the show the best of luck and I am looking forward to being a part of its opening celebration.”

Very few people in the automotive industry are as colourful or have as interesting a life story as Malcolm Bricklin. He made his fortune by building Handyman America into a franchised regional powerhouse and is responsible for more of what is today’s North American automotive marketplace than people realize. Bricklin, who got his start at his father’s retail building supply store in Orlando, Florida, went on to form Subaru of America and become one of the few Americans who had successfully introduced foreign cars in bulk to the American public. When Bricklin sold his stake in Subaru, he used the money to pursue his dream of becoming a carmaker, and a futuristic-looking, gull-winged vehicle with safety top-of-mind was born.

The Bricklin SV-1 was a car with an exotic appearance, to which Bricklin applied safety standards far ahead of anything the US government was imposing in the ‘70s. In a quest to sell his dream, Malcolm Bricklin traveled across the border to Canada, initially vying for an investment from the province of Québec. After negotiations fell through, Bricklin then went to New Brunswick and struck a deal with Premier Richard Hatfield. Before long, glass fibre-backed acrylic-skinned bodies were being produced in Minto, and the cars were being assembled in Saint John.

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



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