You can never accuse Winnipeg musical maven Danny Schur of not putting his heart into his work.
He has been striving for years to realize the dream of getting a movie made of his signature piece Strike! The Musical. Finally, the movie based on the play — titled Stand! — will open Nov. 29 at more than 24 Cineplex screens across Canada, including Scotiabank Theatre at Polo Park and McGillivray Cinemas in Winnipeg).
Schur is all the more excited at the prospect because he came perilously close to missing it after suffering a heart attack last month.
Apart from being a composer and film/theatre producer, Schur, 53, is also a self-described "freelance goalie."
"I mostly play pickup with whomever asks, on a daily basis," he said.
Schur was on net duty at Sam Southern Arena on the afternoon of Sept. 30 — "One of my two regular skates" — when he started suffering serious chest pains. He collapsed.
"I had a 90 per cent blockage," Schur said, referring to an artery in his heart. Though he has some family history of heart disease, he said he didn’t see it coming.
"I’m in shape. I can run 10 (kilometres) without breaking a sweat. I play hockey three times a week," he said. "I presumed if you could do all that, you couldn’t possibly have arterial blockage.
"But that’s not the case, I found out from my doctors."
Schur considers himself "incredibly lucky."
"The guys I was on the ice with had the presence of mind to call the paramedics immediately," he said.
"They were there in minutes and I was in St. Boniface — one of the best cardiac hospitals in Canada — within 20 minutes."
He estimates the time from collapse to the stent procedure took all of 45 minutes.
"My family came and saw me and said: ‘You look fine.’"
Looks notwithstanding, Schur was forbidden from driving for a month and flying for two. That sidelined him from a Stand! première earlier this month in Washington, D.C., as well as attending the American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif., next month to do his part to sell the film beyond Canada.
Taking a step back from his usual full-bore focus was important, he acknowledges.
"I always joked that this movie almost killed me, and I wasn’t really serious," he said.
"It’s funny, Roy Wagner, the movie’s director of photography, said: ‘Danny, now you can be like a real producer and just point. Delegate!’
"I’m doing a lot of delegation."
Schur, a hands-on producer, is still tinkering with the film’s trailer and posters. He is delighted by the film’s release date, one week after the opening of Frozen 2.
"People who are into musicals will see our posters in the lobby and go: ‘Hey, here’s another musical!’ And it’s three weeks before Cats and Star Wars (The Rise of Skywalker) come out (Dec. 20). That’s our magic window.
"I can’t tell you how much praise I’m heaping on Cineplex," Schur said. "It’s rare that a Canadian movie gets a truly national release."
Schur only expressed one regret about his medical crisis: "I was having a damn good game."
In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.