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'Balloon Boy' family's musicial to take flight at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

James Borchuck



Richard Heene is a relentlessly energetic man who says he wants to make his sons-- Bradford, 16, Ryo, 14, and Falcon, 12, who perform together as the Heene Boyz, the "world's youngest heavy metal band" -- a national touring event. They will be like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Heene will make his sons famous.

The problem is, he already has.

In 2009, while living in Colorado, Heene served jail time after pleading guilty to staging the most notorious hoax in recent history. The "Balloon Boy" scandal, basically a false report that Falcon, then 6, was trapped inside a helium balloon 7,000 feet up in the air, riveted the nation for a couple of hours. In fact, Falcon was hiding in the attic, allegedly because his father had yelled at him. Heene pleaded guilty to felony charges for influencing a public official and spent 28 days in jail. His wife did community service for filing a false police report.

Now the family is back with American Chilly, a musical that will be staged Wednesday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. Based on a script Heene wrote in 1999, it's a sci-fi tale about cursed lands, snake monsters and a lot of original metal.

For more on American Chilly and the Heene Boyz, click here for Andrew Meacham's story.

[Last modified: Monday, October 19, 2015 11:00am]


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