Watch above: Performers from as far away as New York City have gathered in small town Saskatchewan to pay tribute to Scott Freethy
ROSETOWN, Sask. – Have you ever met someone with such enormous talent and a love of life, you just knew they were going big places? For many people in Rosetown, Sask. and across the country that person was musical actor Scott Freethy.
“He was that guy, you meet him for 30 seconds and that was it…you were hooked,” said Brenda Longhurst.
The pair, described as a real-life Will & Grace, were inseparable. Longhurst was by Freethy’s bedside when he passed away on June 5, 2013 after a three-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“It’s been really difficult to kind of try to find my own way now,” explained Longhurst as stage lights flickered behind her.
“But he would want me to go for it, be happy and do the things I need to do so that’s what keeps me going.”
What’s been keeping her going is preparing for the performance of a life-time, a tribute to her friend.
“When I was here for the funeral last year I had his iPod and I was just going through, checking things out, seeing what he had on there and I found a set list and it was called the “Comeback Show” so he wanted to do this show when he got better and when I found that I was like I have to make sure this happens so that’s way we’re all here now.”
Gathering at his old high school in Rosetown, friends and fellow performers from across the country and United States have flown in to help bring his production to life.
“Yesterday it was difficult watching everyone come in the door and meet Scott’s family, be in the town he grow up in, it was really emotional for me to see that at first but I think that was probably going to be the height of the emotion and now it’s just go time,” laughed Longhurst.
“He was such an amazing person and he did so much and he gave back so much and it only seems right to do the same and celebrate him and his life and the amazing person he was,” said Toronto-based performer Julia Juhas, who performed in Beauty and the Beast with Freethy.
With at least a dozen performers involved in the production, rehearsals have taken place by any means possible. Choreography has been disseminated through DropBox and practiced at times over Skype.
“Even when we did the shows with Scott, it was like quick and it always works out,” said Juhas.
“The only thing is he would want to be the lead in every song, he’d be up there telling us what to do and which foot comes next but I truly believe that he would have been just honoured by this type of commitment to him and everything that he’s done,” said Lance Green.
This would have been the fifth production put on by Freethy and friends, an idea that Freethy originated in 2000 after his mom passed away from breast cancer.
“It’s tough but it but you just keep going,” said Ken Freethy, Scott’s dad.
“We’re coming back because we can, we can perform and we should celebrate that it’s a great opportunity to do it,” said Jennie Ford, a now New York City-based performer who is from Humboldt and meet Freethy in his final year of life.
Proceeds from the performance will be donated to three different organization: The Canadian Cancer Society Saskatchewan division, the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the Actors’ Fund of Canada.
This show may also be the final one.
“If something does happen it might be a couple years from now but right now this is the fifth one and it feels like everything’s is full circle and yeah,” said Longhurst.
So what can audiences expect?
“They can expect, high energy, lots of dancing, lots of singing and probably some tears,” said Ford.
At this point, there are still tickets available to both shows scheduled for Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at the door at Athlete’s Haven, Wild Oats, Moore & Associates or online at http://www.scottfreethysfriends.com