Romantic comedy to world preem Sept. 9

TORONTO — “Score: A Hockey Musical,” a made-in-Toronto romantic sports comedy featuring 19 original tunes, will world preem Sept. 9 as the opening night Gala Presentation of the 35th annual Toronto Intl. Film Festival, it was announced Wednesday morning at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Pic is helmed by Toronto’s Michael McGowan (director of 2008 Canuck box-office hit “One Week”), who also penned the screenplay and song lyrics, and stars newcomers Noah Reid and Allie MacDonald as teen sweethearts, Aussie singing icon Olivia Newton-John (“Grease”) and singer-songwriter Marc Jordan as high-brow hockey parents, and boasts an all-star roster of Canuck thesps — Stephen McHattie (“Watchmen”), John Pyper-Ferguson (“Hard Core Logo”), Brandon Firla (“Little Mosque on the Prairie”) — and cameos from rockers Nelly Furtado, Dave Bidini and Hawksley Workman, well-known journos and Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter.

“Score,” which tells the story of a sheltered teen who shoots from rink-rat obscurity to overnight fame, is produced by McGowan and Avi Federgreen, exec produced by Richard Hanet and Jody Colero, lensed by Rudolph Blahachek and choreographed by Amy Wright (TV’s “Grey Gardens”). Music for the songs was penned by Toronto band Barenaked Ladies, Amy Sky, Jordan, Workman and Newton-John.

Pic was shot in Toronto in February and March of this year and will be released theatrically by Canuck distributor Mongrel Media on Oct. 22.

Toronto festival director and CEO Piers Handling said pic “captures key elements of Canadian identity — our passion for our national pastime, our unique musical style and our special brand of humor.”

Indeed, “Score” pretty much guarantees the fest will open with raucous hometown cheers, as it launches its new headquarters, Bell Lightbox, and welcomes international industry and media to the fest’s downtown hub.

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