Stage set for a bash
The stage is being set and the scripts rehearsed for Auckland’s longest running musical theatre’s 90th birthday celebrations.
Auckland Music Theatre in Westmere once produced shows big enough to play in the former His Majesty’s Theatre in Queen St.
Although it now operates on a smaller scale the passion of those involved in keeping the music alive has not faded.
The non-profit organisation is celebrating its milestone with several well-known productions throughout the year, including its latest, the Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins.
Nicko Vella plays one of the lead characters and can be recognised from his previous role in the New Zealand drama Jackson’s Wharf and a childhood stint in Watties ads.
Nicko’s mother and Auckland Music Theatre chairwoman Pauline Vella says it is a great place for young people to learn the ropes.
“We offer the opportunity to train and upskill. People need to start somewhere and here they get the chance to be on stage.”
Once called the Auckland Operatic Society, the theatre fostered the talent of Dame Malvina Major who was a choir member in the early stages of her career.
Ms Vella says she is keen to continue its rich history.
“The current board believes it is our responsibility to keep the place going until our 100th.”
The 90th celebrations will continue later this year with the production of Show Boat, a show which is almost as old as the theatre and was also used to mark its 50th birthday.
An afternoon tea is being held on August 22 at the Westmere studio to reminisce about the theatre’s history and everyone’s welcome to attend.
For more details on Assassins, which runs from tomorrow until July 25, the 90th birthday celebrations or how to get involved with the theatre go to www.aucklandmusictheatre.org.nz. – Anna Colquhoun is an AUT journalism student
Theatre milestone: Pauline and Nicko Vella star in a show to celebrate Auckland Music Theatre’s 90th birthday.