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Bricklin: ‘New Brunswick has come a long way, baby’

by on July 26, 2011

The Fredericton Playhouse was full of excitement on Friday evening as The Bricklin: An Automotive Fantasy opened to a sold-out crowd wrought with anticipation for the return of this hit musical comedy by Allen Cole and Paul Ledoux. Transported back to a time characterized by its catchy disco beats, distinct fashions, and undeniable sex appeal, the audience was blown away by their experience. But perhaps none more than Malcolm Bricklin himself, who flew in from New York to attend the show.

Bricklin, portrayed in the production by Jason Chesworth, was thrilled to return to Fredericton and revisit an important time in his and the province’s history. Part of the province’s cultural tapestry, this production serves as a happy ending to his role in the Bricklin saga. “It’s theatrical, the way they did it. But they really took the essence of the way it happened,” said Bricklin. “The whole feel of what happened was there… It was so professionally done. The acting was terrific.”

Bricklin also tipped his hat to playwrights Allen Cole and Paul Ledoux, whose creative incorporation of accurate archival facts and events was key to the success of the play. “They got it right,” says Bricklin. “It’s quite a rare thing. They really did research for the parts. It was very impressive.” Continues Bricklin, “I’m telling you, its Broadway quality. New Brunswick has come a long way, baby.”

The final number was met with roaring applause and a standing ovation led by Bricklin himself, followed by an impromptu moment as cast members invited Bricklin to join them onstage. They were met with enthusiastic handshakes, while a sincere hug of approval was saved for Chesworth and his bang-on embodiment of the automobile pioneer. Bricklin also addressed the audience, much to their surprise and enjoyment, offering a few words of endorsement “That’s just the way I remember it,” Bricklin laughed. “If Richard (Hatfield) is watching, I know he’s smiling.”

The Fredericton Playhouse and Theatre New Brunswick are now offering the opportunity to get up close and personal with our very own Bricklin SV-1 by giving free tours of the Bricklin set, designed by award-winning set and costume designer Patrick Clark. Tours will run Tuesday, July 26 to Friday, July 29 and Tuesday, August 2 to Friday, August 5 between 12pm and 2pm.

The Bricklin: An Automotive Fantasy 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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