December 2, 2004
New role bottles up Hitman
By BILL LAYE -- Calgary Sun
Calgary wrestling wizard Bret (Hitman) Hart will be trading his role in the ring for a magic genie's bottle on the stage in an upcoming Toronto production of Aladdin. "I'm loving it -- it's been a lot of fun," Hart, who's featured as The Genie of the Lamp, said during a break from rehearsals this week.
Aladdin, the Magical Family Musical, by Ross Petty Productions, runs Dec. 2-31 at Toronto's Elgin Theatre.
It's his Toronto stage debut, but Hart, now retired from the wrestling ring, is no stranger to the stage.
His performing resume includes voicing the character of the Hooded Fang in the animated series Jacob Two-Two and appearances as Luther Root in Lonesome Dove: The Series.
However, after suffering a stroke two years ago, Hart said there were times he thought it was curtains for his acting career.
Then he got the call in May from Aladdin director Ted Dykstra, with whom he's worked before, offering him the role.
"I'm really excited about doing it and that they gave me a chance," said Hart, who also writes a regular sports column in the Sun.
"It's a personal thing for me just to go out there and do it, even if I don't do it very well, I'd just be proud to find myself in this position again."
And, although Aladdin isn't known for wrestling, there are some grappling references in the play.
"There's a little tongue and cheek about wrestling all the way through the play," he said of the part written with him in mind.
"It's a bit of a humorous resurrection of the Hitman character."