January 25 2021
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Tonya Harding: The Musical

by Kristen Timbrook - The Oregon Herald
Tonya Harding: The Musical: The Hour was the harrowing and infamous story of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding, told through her perspective in the form of a musical.

The show may have ended but Tonya lives on, still on her website,

The Musical was based in Los Angeles about the infamous and harrowing story of Tonya Harding, told from Tonya Harding's own perspective.

At first seeing this website, I thought, "What?", then, eventually, "well, why not?"

Arguably, Tonya Harding, a former world-class figure skater of her own personal creation, was the best as well as the most controversial thing that ever happened to figure skating. The interest in figure skating since the 1994 Olympics has more than tripped and most of that increase attention, good or bad, is because of Tonya Harding.

The musical show headline declared:
"Watch as Tonya's life unfolds before you. From the lows of growing up in Oregon with her eccentric mother (bird included); to the highs of winning '91 nationals; immediately to the lows of being over shadowed by little miss perfect Nancy Kerrigan; and her marriage to sleaze ball Jeff Gilooly. The story you thought you knew. The story of a small town girl with a big dream, who was willing to do anything to make it come true." 

Tonya Harding the Musical has performed to sold out crowds since debuting in 2014, and has been featured in MusicalsinLALA Weekly, E! News Online, and was featured as LAist's "17 favorite events". The show was also featured on E! network's "Live From E!" 

Leslie Korein as Tonya Harding
Heather Woodward as Nancy Kerrigan
Meghan Parks as Lavona Golden
Tony Rodgriguez as Jeff Gilooly
Madeline Wager as Diane Rawlinson
Dick Beck as Shawn Eckhert

Ele Woods
Ariana Lenarsky
Ben Parks
Dan Amerman
Tony Maccio

Written by Jesse Esparza
Songs by Manny Hagopian
Directed by Jesse Esparza and Leslie Korein
Musical Direction by Bryan Blaskie

Tonya's website writes:

"I always wanted someone to love me for me," Tonya says, "not for who I was. That was so naive. Nowadays, I could care less about anybody but me. I am not about to care for someone else. It sounds cruel and selfish, but I've been there and done that." However, Tonya today says she cares about so many people, especially her fans.

Ten years after skating at the Lillehammer Olympic Games, Tonya Harding laced up her figure skates and incorporated figure skating into her training routine for boxing. Only one of two American woman to land a triple axle in US 20th century competition, Tonya told Harry Smith when she appeared on The Early Show that she is seeking reinstatement in the U.S. Figure

Tonya would like to make enough money boxing then retire to live alone with her Persian cat, Smalls.

"It would be having enough money to go hunting and fishing and go to the big four-wheel-drive mud bogs," she says. "And every once in a while put on a really pretty dress and go to dinner at a place like Applebee's or something."

From The Oregonian:

"I really do believe," says Christine Brennan, best known skating author, "that the boom that figure skating has experienced for a decade really started with what we know as 'the whack heard 'round the world.' . . . Everyone in figure skating, to this day, should be sending a thank-you note to Tonya Harding."

If she hasn't already, Brennan might consider dropping the two-time Olympian a card, too. The story launched Brennan's career on such a rocket ride that she calls her condominium in an upscale Washington, D.C., neighborhood "the house that Tonya built."

The Triple Axel is the Everest of women's figure skating, both terrifying and compelling. The only jump that starts on the forward foot, it explodes in 31/2 revolutions -- yet demands a delicate touch on takeoff and iron strength on landing.

Tonya Harding became the first U.S. woman to land the jump in competition when she completed it 45 seconds into her free skate at the 1991 U.S. championships. The second young woman to land the triple axel was cute and bouncy teenager, 15 year old Kimmie Meissner on January 15, 2005. She finished third place after landing the triple axel during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships here in Portland, Oregon.

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