Rob Ford’s shenani­gans make for ideal mu­si­cal the­atre

But will the real mayor turn up for the open­ing?

Richmond Hill Post - - Theatre - By Evan Mackay

Rarely is the source ma­te­rial for a new mu­si­cal so com­pletely familiar to ev­ery po­ten­tial ticket buyer. Rob

Ford the Mu­si­cal is a ti­tle that says it all. Ac­cord­ing to writer Brett McCaig, this “ur­ban satire” isn’t ma­li­cious Ford bash­ing; it is the clas­sic story of a hero who brings about his own un­do­ing (falls from great­ness). With 10 songs (mu­sic by An­thony Bas­tian), the 90-minute show pokes fun at ev­ery­one in­volved in the RoFo saga. Along with the laughs, the cre­ators aim to hu­man­ize Ford.

The play “has a con­science,” says direc­tor Liz Gil­roy, and uses hu­mour “to help us make sense out of an in­sane sit­u­a­tion.” Saskatchew­an ac­tor and co­me­dian Shel­don Bergstrom was cho­sen out of nearly 100 ac­tors to play the ti­tle role.

Gil­roy says, “Bergstrom stood out from the rest due to his ex­ten­sive reper­toire, phe­nom­e­nal voice and the comedic chops needed to walk the fine line that is the ‘Rob Ford’ char­ac­ter.”

Our no­to­ri­ous mayor has re­peat­edly opened him­self up to ridicule. Al­though late night comics were grate­ful for the ma­te­rial, some of them even­tu­ally con­cluded their bits by say­ing, “This isn’t funny any­more. Rob Ford needs help.” Bergstrom is happy the script gives Ford “a fair shake.”

Other char­ac­ters in­clude Doug Ford, a po­lice chief, a lawyer, Mar­garet At­wood (played by Lisa Horner, Ikea’s “Start the car” lady who played Mme Thenardier in last year’s re­vival of Les Mis­er­ables), a news­pa­per ed­i­tor and a trans char­ac­ter named Trans­gres­sion who acts as Ford’s “spir­i­tual guide.”

Al­though it sounds as if the hu­mour will be no more vi­cious than This Hour Has 22 Min­utes or Stephen Col­bert, this is em­phat­i­cally not a kid-friendly show.

One song is called “Ford Na­tion F* You.” Other songs (pop, rock and coun­try) will surely fea­ture ti­tles and lyrics lifted from Ford sound bites, like “gravy train,” “drunken stu­por,” “all I can do is apol­o­gize,” “ask the r ight ques­tio ns,” “enough to eat at home” and “busi­ness as usual.”

As McCaig says, the com­edy wrote it­self, they just added mu­sic. He a dds, they ar e leav­ing r oom in the script for f resh Fordisms. The mayor has also been in­vited to at­tend or even par­tic­i­pate in the show, but so far, no re­sponse.

Rob Ford the Mu­si­cal runs Sept. 15–28. For show in­for­ma­tion, go to www.rob­ford­mu­si­cal.ca.

Shel­don Bergstrom, who por­trays Rob Ford in the new mu­si­cal, made the rounds at last month’s Taste of the Dan­forth

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