CALGARY — It's been 40 years since Foreigner released its first album and now the songs of the legendary rock group are being made into a musical.
"Jukebox Hero" will tell the story of the hard-hit town of Blaydon, Pa., that is saved with the emergence of a rock group that helps bring in new industry.
"This is sort of based in the Rust Belt of America. A lot of areas were once mighty producers of steel and now are undercut by the march of the future," Mick Jones, the founder of Foreigner, said at a news conference in Calgary on Wednesday.
Jones said he ran into singer Diana Ross 20 years ago and she suggested to him that the song "Jukebox Hero" should be made into a musical. He said it's been on his mind ever since.
"In an era where there have been a lot of jukebox musicals, I figured I'd like to squeeze ours in there and make it the musical of all musicals as far as our aspirations go."
Jones said about a dozen of the group's songs will be in the musical, including "I Want To Know What Love Is," "Waiting For A Girl Like You," "Hot Blooded." "Urgent" and "Jukebox Hero."
He will have a say in making sure the musicians in the show will be able to handle the range in some of the songs.
"I will probably be part of that decision to make sure (they've) got the lungs to carry it off because they are demanding songs," Jones said.
"Even Frank Sinatra tried 'Waiting For A Girl Like You' and there's a three-octave range in there."
Jeff Parry, founder and CEO of Annerin Productions, said the musical is based on a screenplay written by the prolific duo of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who are responsible for the movies "The Commitments" and "Across the Universe."
Parry has been working for the last three years to get "Jukebox Hero" to fruition and has decided to start off in Alberta.
"We've tried to mount this in various different scenarios and finally decided to do it right here in Alberta," Parry said.
"As crazy as that sounds, we're going to develop this musical with intentions of going to Broadway and the West End and the rest of the world."
The musical is to open in Calgary next Aug. 10-12 and then moves to Edmonton on Aug. 16-19. Organizers hope to take it to Toronto and across the rest of the country if it gets a warm reception.
Jones said he is thrilled the musical will be starting out in Canada since he almost immigrated here when he was 10 years old.
"I've got a little affinity for Canada. It means something to me.
"Whenever I come here, I kind of ... wonder what would have happened?"
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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said the musical tour was to begin next October