NO FOR­EIGN CON­CEPT

The artists are putting their money where their dream is

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - LOUIS B. HOBSON

CAL­GARY — Just be­cause it hasn’t been done be­fore doesn’t mean it can’t be.

Cal­gary the­atri­cal pro­moter Jeff Parry and Phil Car­son, the cur­rent man­ager of the band Foreigner, have an­nounced the launch of Juke­box Hero, a mu­si­cal to fea­ture Foreigner at the Ju­bilee Au­di­to­ri­ums in both Cal­gary and Ed­mon­ton in Au­gust 2018.

What is so unique about this ven­ture is the band’s found­ing mem­ber Mick Jones and his cur­rent Foreigner band­mates are launch­ing a western Cana­dian 10-city tour, start­ing in Cal­gary Wed­nes­day night, to help fund the mu­si­cal. The tour then ex­pands to the U.S. and Europe be­fore end­ing in May in Ice­land.

“The prof­its from this cur­rent Foreigner tour will go di­rectly into fund­ing the mu­si­cal. Here are artists putting their money where their dream is,” says Car­son.

“No band has ever done this be­fore. ABBA cer­tainly didn’t do that to help fund Mamma Mia!”

Parry adds “at the end of the day, peo­ple have to want to see a show based on a band’s songs and that seems to be the case with Foreigner.

“Phil and Mick and I wanted to cre­ate a groundswell out of Cal­gary and I think that’s what we’ve done. This Foreigner western Cana­dian Tour is al­ready 90 per cent sold out.”

Parry is no stranger to cre­at­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed mu­si­cals here in Cal­gary. Back in 2004, Parry’s An­nerin Theatri­cals was asked to help pro­mote the launch of Cal­gary rock ra­dio sta­tion Q107.

“I flew a Bea­tles trib­ute band up from Reno to play five iconic Bea­tles songs in the sta­tion’s park­ing lot. The re­sponse was stag­ger­ing, so I cre­ated a whole show called Rain, which we played at the Jack Singer Con­cert Hall for two sold-out shows,” re­calls Parry.

That show has since gone on to play on Broad­way and in Lon­don’s West End theatre district and has toured ex­ten­sively in North Amer­ica.

Parry says the contacts he made with the Bea­tles show will prove in­valu­able to Juke­box Hero.

“If we have a hit with Juke­box Hero, and I am con­fi­dent we will, I can pick up the phone and call all the venues where Rain was such a sen­sa­tion.”

Don Molyneaux, Parry and Car­son be­gan talk­ing about the pos­si­bil­ity of cre­at­ing a Foreigner mu­si­cal back in 2010 in Daw­son Creek, B.C., where Car­son was pre­sent­ing Ja­son Bon­ham’s Led Zep­pelin Ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I told Jeff how Mick wanted his mu­sic to live on and felt a mu­si­cal like Mamma Mia! would be the ideal ve­hi­cle.

“At any given time, there are eight pro­duc­tions of Mamma Mia! play­ing some­where in the world. That’s how you keep the mu­sic alive.”

Car­son told Parry the Bri­tish writ­ing team of Dick Cle­ment and Ian La Fre­nais, whose cred­its in­clude the films The Com­mit­ments and Across the Uni­verse as well as The Tracey Ull­man TV Show, were al­ready work­ing on a script.

“I told Jeff he could have the script to Juke­box Hero if he paid the writ­ers to fin­ish it, which he did.

“I never doubted the po­ten­tial in a mu­si­cal fea­tur­ing the songs of Foreigner be­cause the band’s songs are so pop­u­lar. You could take the mu­si­cal any­where in the world and peo­ple would rec­og­nize the songs even if they didn’t re­al­ize they were Foreigner songs,” said Car­son.

“When some­one cre­ates a new mu­si­cal, their hope is that one or two of the songs in their show will be­come hits. With our mu­si­cal, Juke­box Hero, ev­ery song you’ll hear is al­ready a cer­ti­fied hit.”

Juke­box Hero is the story of a town los­ing its main in­dus­try. Its big­gest fac­tory is clos­ing down, so town of­fi­cials reach out to its most fa­mous son, a rock star, ask­ing if he will re­turn to do a con­cert to raise money for the un­em­ployed work­ers.

The prob­lem is com­ing home means the rock star has to confront his fam­ily, his brother, his for­mer girlfriend and many other ghosts of his past.

The show will fea­ture such Foreigner hits as I Want to Know What Love Is, Cold As Ice, Wait­ing for a Girl Like You, Hot Blooded, Feels Like the First Time, Head Games, Dirty White Boy and Juke Box Hero.

For his part, orig­i­nal band mem­ber Mick Jones says he is “proud that these songs will now be rein­ter­preted for the stage and I am hon­oured by the team that is help­ing bring the mu­sic to life.

“I al­ways feel such grat­i­tude when fans tell me sto­ries of how our songs have been wo­ven into their mile­stones and mem­o­ries over the years. I’m thrilled that Canada will see the world pre­miere of our brand-new mu­si­cal Juke­box Hero in Cal­gary in 2018.”

Juke­box Hero is be­ing launched at the Ju­bilee Au­di­to­ri­ums in Cal­gary Aug. 10-12, 2018, and in Ed­mon­ton Aug. 16-19, to co­in­cide with the 40th an­niver­sary of the cre­ation of Foreigner.

Jones says Foreigner will re­turn to Cal­gary in Au­gust to help launch the world pre­miere of Juke­box Hero.

Tick­ets are now on sale for the Cal­gary and Ed­mon­ton per­for­mances of Juke­box Hero at juke­box­hero­mu­si­cal.com.

“No band has ever done this be­fore.” Mick Jones, Foreigner found­ing mem­ber

DEaN pIL­INg/PoST­mEdia

Mick Jones, found­ing mem­ber of the rock band Foreigner, speaks to me­dia where he an­nounced the new mu­si­cal, Juke­box Hero, as part of the band’s 40th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion.

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