Alan Thicke Stars in Test of New Musical Queen for a Day, Inspired by Vintage TV Show, Sept. 26-Oct. 7
By Kenneth Jones
Queen for a Day: The Musical, inspired by the radio and TV reality show of yesteryear, gets its world premiere in a 12-performance run in Toronto starting Sept. 26. TV's Alan Thicke ("Growing Pains") stars as "iconic TV personality" Jack Bailey.
Queen for a Day features an all-Canadian cast and creative team, with music and lyrics by Linda Barnett and book by Chris Earle, Shari Hollett, Paul O'Sullivan, with additional dialogue by director Timothy French.
Performances play to Oct. 7 at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Arts.
Based on the popular reality show "Queen for a Day," which originated in 1945 and aired on radio and television for 20 years, "the Broadway-style musical comedy will take audiences back to the fun and glamour of Hollywood in the 1950s," according to producers. It "takes place in the Hollywood of 1953, where fortunes can change in a heartbeat."
On the program, Bailey interviewed several ordinary women who shared their tales of hardship and need. The audience selected the winner, who received prizes ranging from life's necessities to luxuries. The "queen" was place on a throne, costumed and handed flowers. It's widely considered an offensive relic from the pre-modern-feminism era.
According to production notes, "The outgoing and independent Claribel Anderson (Blythe Wilson, of Mary Poppins, Oklahoma, The Sound of Music) and her fellow waitress Lana (Marisa McIntyre, of Mamma Mia!) find themselves at the glitzy Moulin Rouge Theatre, where 'Queen for a Day' airs live daily. Claribel's 15 minutes of fame send her down a funny and touching road, forcing her to re-evaluate her dream of being the perfect '50s housewife."
April 30th Entertainment is producing the show. Thicke appears in 10 of the 12 performances. Thicke's musical theatre credits include Chicago (Broadway debut) and Promises, Promises and Mame at the Hollywood Bowl.
Producer Jeffrey Latimer said in a statement, "The women of the '50s and '60s loved Jack Bailey and I know that audiences this September will fall in love with Alan Thicke."
Latimer and producer Natalie Bartello said the production, which has been in development for several years, has a cast of 22 and a live orchestra.
The weave of the show is further described this way: "Reliving her glory days, Old Claribel (Stratford Festival veteran Denise Fergusson) reflects on her encounters with people from her past. She amuses Felicia (Camille Eanga-Selenge) with tales of Birdie (Lisa Horner), a scheming waitress at Scully's Diner; Esther (Angela Teek., of Rock of Ages), a contestant who hopes to win leg braces for her son with polio; her attractive and immature husband Ned (Jay Davis, of Jesus Christ Superstar, Miss Saigon); up and coming 'Queen for a Day' producer Dwight (Cory O'Brien, of Mary Poppins, Cabaret); and her chauvinistic boss Scully (Sheldon Bergstrom, of The Sound of Music, The Producers, Guys and Dolls)."
Alan Thicke is scheduled to perform Sept. 26-30 and Oct. 3, 6 & 7.
Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts is at 10268 Yonge Street in Toronto. Performances play Wednesday at 2 PM, Thursday-Sunday at 8 PM, Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM.
Tickets are $35-$59.50. For more information, call (905) 787-8811 or visit queenforadaythemusical.com.
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