WELLSBORO - Hamilton-Gibson Productions will present "Unbeatable" the real life story through the eyes of a former Mansfield woman who lived through and beat breast cancer nearly 10 years ago.
Laurie Frey, now a resident of Cleveland, Ohio, was raised in the Mansfield area, and wrote "Unbeatable" after she was declared cancer free by her doctors a year after her diagnosis in the fall of 2002.
A veteran of the theater and entertainment business, Frey wrote her story as a musical first, and then felt inspired to write more detail and put her experience into a book she called "Unbeatable: The Whole Story," released in 2008.
"Unbeatable, the Musical" will open Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Deane Center for the Performing Arts here. There will be a pre-show reception for family and friends, Frey said.
The show will repeat Sept. 29 at the same time and the following weekend.
Frey said she continues to be clear of cancer, does not say she is "in remission" because that implies the cancer is still there and could come back. She also said the show has moved "away from being a show about cancer."
"I had a really huge trial in one year and I chose through my perspective to look at it through laughter and hope," she said, adding "the show is about perspective and what happens in our lives, what we are doing in the moment."
Calling herself a "bit of a goofball, and an A-type personality," she said her experiences have at times made her even laugh.
"Tough times happen to all of us, trials happen to everyone - but it's how we respond to those situations and times that determine the outcome. Let's make the most of what we have," she added.
After the release of the musical, in 2003, Frey said it took six years to "get the show on its feet."
"We did it as a workshop in New York, then in Philadelphia and Los Angeles for the medical community and then regular theater in Phoenix, Ariz., Houston, Tex., and St. Louis, Mo., three to seven weeks at a time," she said.
Frey was involved in each of the shows as was her co-creator and director Michael Barnard, and the Hamilton-Gibson show is the first time it has been licensed to another production company, she added.
"For the first time they are casting all the characters separately so it is the biggest cast ever done and it is the first time someone is directing it outside of our creative team. It is pretty monumental that I am letting Thomas (Putnam) do it," she said.
Putnam said it is "an honor to produce this story which has local interest (I knew the real Tracy Boyd, Laurie Bowen Frey, when she was in high school), and get such universal impact. We all at one time or another are challenged with how we use our time ... what we focus on ... what means the most to us."
Putnam said the cast "is having a grand time with this show, not only because the characters are so engaging, but because the music is so memorable and singable!"
Frey got her theater degree from Mansfield University in 1980, and she went to Phoenix, Ariz., where she got her first job from Barnard working on a musical in 1982.
Frey has worked in live entertainment from coast to coast for the past 24 years including on Broadway and for national tours, working on shows such as "Legs Diamond," "Romance, Romance," "Phantom of the Opera," "Les Miserables," "Starlight Express," "Fiddler on the Roof," and "Mannheim Steamroller."
She has been the Executive Producer of "VeggieTales Live" and the tour general manager for the "Blue Man Group Megastar Tour," both domestic and internationally.
She works as the tour general manager for illusionist David Copperfield, Donny and Marie and "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus."
As a business executive, Laurie is the chief operations officer of the new infant product, Baboo, and has managed numerous endeavors for entrepreneur Joe Marsh - Heron Watch Development in Akron, Ohio; Ponte Vecchio Restorante in Cleveland, Ohio and nine residences in three states.
She holds a Masters Degree in Theater Directing from Texas State University and is a motivational speaker, adjunct professor at The Agora School, a published author and co-creator of the musical "Unbeatable."
She and her husband, Don, are the parents of a 14-year-old son, Andrew.
For ticket information call 724-2079, or go to www.hamiltongibson.org.