'Balloon Boy The Musical' based on Falcon Heene hoax debuts on-stage at Monarch High School

LOUISVILLE, Colo. - It's been about 5 years since Colorado's "Balloon Boy" debuted on the news.

In October 2009, the world watched in terror, thinking a 6-year-old boy was stuck inside a rogue weather balloon.

It turns out, a Fort Collins family staged the entire thing. The Heenes reported their young son, Falcon Heene, was floating away, far above Northern Colorado.

Now this infamous hoax has been adapted for the stage and will makes its debut at Monarch High School in Louisville.

"The show is unique; it's new," says Drama Department Director Gwendolyn Lukas-Doctor. "It really has a lot of cultural references and it's quirky."

The publicity stunt, staged by Falcon's parents, still sparks conversation and serves as the inspiration for the play, written by 16-year-old Billy Reece.

"I've been working on it since seventh grade, when the event actually happened," says Reece. "I remember just sitting there in front of the TV and just feeling so many emotions."

Reece says the message is just as relevant today, as online stunts seem to go viral daily.

"It really does speak to this overall cultural desire to be famous, to be on the news," says Reece.

Cast member Junior Solomon Abell, who plays father Richard Heene, says he watched old footage to inspire his performance.

"I did look at interviews and he's crazy," said Abell. "He appeared on live TV in an aluminum suit. He's just a crazy guy. This is kind of a dream role."

Falcon Heene is played by Monarch High School freshman Mikayla Aiken who says she feels bad for the youngster.

"He got wrapped up into this at such a young age," says Aiken.

"Balloon Boy The Musical" opens this Thursday and runs through Saturday. The replica balloon is the exact dimensions as the real thing and will even float above the stage.


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