If you’re in Chicago this weekend for the opening race of NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup and looking for some entertainment away from the track, here’s something you might want to check out.
Helldrivers of Daytona, a NASCAR-themed pop rock musical that claims to be “full of girls, cars and rockin’ guitars,” opens today at The Royal George Theatre in Chicago. It runs through Oct. 30.
Chicagoland Speedway, which hosts the playoff opening race, is located about 50 miles southwest of The Royal George Theatre.
The production is billed as a “pre-Broadway tryout” and is directed by Danny Herman and produced by Natasha Davison (Gotta Dance, The Prom).
“Getting this show from the garage to the starting line has been a great adventure, requiring guts, luck, and tremendous teamwork by a top-notch creative team,” Davison said in a media release. “Now the racing Gods have come together at a great theatre in a great location in the best theatre city in America to launch a brand new, edgy and fun spectacle with a fresh, talented cast. People should get ready to feel the Vrooom!”
The musical is based on a book by Emmy Award winner Mark Saltzman, with music by Berton Averre (former lead guitarist of The Knack, who co-wrote the group’s biggest hit, “My Sharona”) and lyrics by Rob Meurer (collaborated on several hits with singer Christopher Cross).
The plot line, according to a media release, goes like this: “Tensions flare as drivers compete for the top slot in the 1965 Daytona Speedway Jackpot 500. Amidst a sea of tanned surfers, speedway groupies, motorheads and bikini babes, Lucky Stubbs (James Nedrud) must find a way to win his dream girl, Pepper Johnson (Samantha Pauly), from rival driver Count Porcini Portobello (Jeff nominee David Sajewich), a dangerously enticing European hotshot. The race for love and glory is on in this spoof of 1960s Elvis-style rock movies, a ride that’s fast, furious and funny.”
The Royal George Theatre is located at 1641 North Halsted Street, Chicago.