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Alumni News

Marathon of Hope

Marathon of Hope Musical Debuts

December 09, 2013

The incredible true life story of Terry Fox was brought to the stage by Sheridan’s Canadian Music Theatre Project in November and December. Marathon of Hope, a new musical about one of Canada’s most enduring heroes, was created by award-winning songwriter, singer and 2005 alumnus John Connolly and featured a nine-member cast that included six Sheridan Music Theatre grads.

The folk musical debuted on November 28 to a sold-out audience that included the Fox family who collaborated closely with Sheridan on the production. Other key players in Marathon of Hope included Musical Director Michael Mulrooney (Faculty), Producer Michael Rubinoff (Associate Dean) and playwright Jim Betts.

“Opening night was electric. There was so much warmth and love in the room - it's almost indescribable,” said John, who developed the musical in 2006 as a student. “We came away knowing that it marked the beginning of a new chapter in Terry's odyssey. I felt as if I was floating in dream all night. It's a testament to the willingness of The Fox Family to collaborate openly with us, to the quality of the team we've assembled and to Sheridan for their support in facilitating the whole experience. It’s a night I'll remember for the rest of my life and a highlight of my career thus far.”

Terry Fox passed away in 1981 after his iconic run across Canada that captured the heart of the nation. “We believe the musical offers a unique, entertaining and moving way to share the Marathon of Hope,” said Darrell Fox, Terry’s brother, who came to Sheridan with Terry in July, 1980 during the original Marathon of Hope tour. Sheridan also had the privilege of working with Doug Alward, Terry’s best friend who was with him during his run and is a key character in Marathon of Hope.

Alumni appearing in the musical were: Tess Benger (Anne of Green Gables, Shaw Festival), Michelle Bouey (Rent, “Over The Rainbow”), Jordan Till (Stratford Festival), Geoffrey Tyler (Stratford Festival), Mike Cox (Rent, Next To Normal), and playing the role of Terry Fox, recent Sheridan graduate Josh Wiles.

Marathon of Hope will return to Sheridan in Fall 2014 to be part of a workshop with the Canadian Musical Theatre Project and is aiming to open in Toronto in 2015.

“Sheridan will always be big part of the story of the show and I will always be grateful for the training I received here and for the opportunity to return with Marathon of Hope,” said John.

Launched in 2011, the Canadian Music Theatre Project is the country’s first incubator for the development of new musicals by Canadian and international composers, lyricists and book-writers.