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Lead cast in Rob Ford musical

After campaigning nearly as hard as a candidate in Toronto's mayoral race, Sheldon Bergstrom of Prince Albert, Sask., has landed the role of Rob Ford in an upcoming new musical comedy about the city's embattled mayor.

"I've been fascinated by him for a long time," the actor-singer-comedian told The Canadian Press on Tuesday. "All across Canada, all throughout the world, people are watching this man, this mayor of ... Canada's greatest city, and he has managed to pull off some amazing things and pull off some crazy things in his time as mayor."

"Rob Ford the Musical: Birth of A Ford Nation" is set to debut at Toronto's Factory Theatre from Sept. 16 to 28.

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

Bergstrom, 42, said he was starring in the musical "Hairspray" in Edmonton when auditions for the role of Ford were held earlier this summer, so he wrote to the producers and creators "and begged them and pleaded" for an opportunity to try out.

When they agreed, he sent them "love letters" as well as a video of him singing "Mustang Sally" and what he calls "a Rob Ford version" of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab."

He later sent them more videos and had friends, family members and fellow actors from across Canada campaign for him via Facebook and Twitter.

Producers say he ended up winning the role over nearly 100 other hopeful actors, including one who's starring on Broadway.

"He's kind of like a Shakespearean cartoon character," Bergstrom said at the Factory Theatre, wearing a Ford-esque suit complete with a red tie and a handkerchief to wipe the perspiration off his forehead.

"I am so lucky to be playing him."

The portly performer also bears a resemblance to Ford — something he's further emphasized by cutting his brown hair short and dyeing it blond.

The Canadian Press

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