Rob Ford musical cancels party after cancer diagnosis

Rob Ford The Musical's producers decide to cancel red carpet and after party in light of the mayor's cancer diagnosis.

Show's producers announce last minute changes as Toronto mayor starts treatment for liposarcoma

The curtain will rise on Rob Ford the Musical as planned in Toronto Thursday night, but the show's producers have cancelled the gala red carpet and the after party celebrating the show's highly-anticipated opening night.

Brett McCaig, the show's writer and producer, announced the last minute changes Thursday morning, one day after doctors confirmed that Toronto's mayor will undergo chemotherapy to fight liposarcoma, a rare type of cancer.

Rob Ford the Musical writer/producer Brett McCaig said the entire cast is sending their best wishes to Rob Ford and his family during this time. (CBC)
"Months of work, rehearsals, time and dollars have been poured into this passion project," McCaig wrote in a statement.

"We’ve weighed our options carefully and decided that we owe it to everyone who has dedicated themselves and audiences, to go on with the show."

Marquee lights at Toronto's Factory Theatre will be dimmed in a show of deference. Staff will collect donations for the Canadian Cancer Society each night of the production's nearly sold-out run.

The 90-minute show features 10 original songs and sees a "spiritual guide" lead Ford through the past year of his tumultuous life — including his admitted drug use and stint in rehab.

Sheldon Bergstrom, the star of Rob Ford the Musical, said he was relieved that the audience laughed during Tuesday's preview. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)
Sheldon Bergstrom​ stars as the troubled leader of Canada's biggest city.

In light of Ford's recent health news, the Saskatchewan-born actor said he was pleased with how audiences responded at a preview Tuesday night.

"We had no idea how we would be received," Bergstrom told CBC News the morning after the show. "We had the most wonderful audience. They laughed when we wanted them to."

Show producers were thrown for a loop last week when the real Ford announced he had a tumour in his abdomen and, shortly after, dropped the bombshell that he was withdrawing from the mayoral race.

Writers have been making adjustments with each twist and turn in the Rob Ford saga, including changing the end.

But Bergstrom isn't giving it away.

"We had to make a few subtle changes," he said. "We want to have fun but like we said, we don't want to kick a person when he's down."

Rob Ford the Musical: Birth of a Ford Nation runs through Sept. 28.