Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's saga to get the musical treatment

TORONTO Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:05am IST

Writers P. Joseph Regan (L), Brett McCaig (C), and composer Anthony Bastinon watch auditions for ''Rob Ford The Musical: The Birth of a Ford Nation'' in Toronto, June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Writers P. Joseph Regan (L), Brett McCaig (C), and composer Anthony Bastinon watch auditions for ''Rob Ford The Musical: The Birth of a Ford Nation'' in Toronto, June 16, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - In case anyone's missed Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's scandalous confessions, expletive-laden videos and Jimmy Kimmel appearances over the past year, a new theatrical production is bringing his honor's story to the musical stage.

"Rob Ford the Musical: Birth of a Ford Nation" held auditions in Toronto on Monday for a show expected to open in mid-September, just ahead of October's mayoral election. Ford, who has entered rehab for substance abuse, is currently taking a break from his reelection campaign.

By early afternoon, a few dozen would-be Fords had taken a turn for the show's creators, and several men with the mayor's heavyset build and close-cropped hair wandered the halls at the downtown theater school where the open curtain call was held.

Geoff Stone, 32, a singer-songwriter from Ottawa, arrived in full costume, sporting dyed-blonde hair with a shaved bald spot. A glass pipe protruding from his jacket pocket completed the look.

"A lot of my friends kind of liken him to Chris Farley, so I've been tapping into that a bit," said Stone, referring to the late film and "Saturday Night Live" actor often noted for his likeness to Ford.

Ford went on leave from both his job and his re-election campaign last month to seek treatment for alcohol abuse. That decision followed months of denials that he had a substance problem. He has admitted that he has smoked crack cocaine.

Even before taking leave, Ford had been performing only some of the duties of mayor. City council stripped him of much of his power late last year and gave it to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.

"This story of Rob Ford has taken everyone by storm," Anthony Bastianon, who wrote the music for the production, told Reuters.

He said the play would not be a simple send-up of Ford, and that he would seek to expand the mayor into a three-dimensional character from the public view of him as two-dimensional.

"It's going to be fun, but we're also trying to show a lot of different sides of the story."

Ford is expected to return to public life in early July.

(Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Frank McGurty; and Peter Galloway)

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