Rock-opera has ‘con­fronting’ mes­sage

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By BEN ROGERS

Pride Fes­ti­val is back and is set to take over Auck­land from to­mor­row un­til March 1.

As part of the fes­ti­val, Broad­way mu­si­cal Bare will be per­formed in Auck­land for the first time.

The com­ing-of-age story is set in a Catholic board­ing school and is a con­fronting piece, mu­si­cal direc­tor Andy Man­ning says.

‘‘The whole thing is about se­crets and lies. ‘ Ev­ery­thing is an act when you are pleas­ing ev­ery­one’ is a lyric from one of the songs,’’ the Mt Eden res­i­dent says.

The story fol­lows the ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship be­tween stu­dents Ja­son and Peter and the strug­gles they face in a Catholic school.

‘‘It’s not anti-re­li­gious, it is not bi­ased in that sense, it shows both sides of the coin,’’ Man­ning says.

‘‘It’s a re­ally vi­tal piece and it’s great we are do­ing it as part of Pride Fes­ti­val.’’

The show will be per­formed as a rock-opera and is sung the whole way through as op­posed to a tra­di­tional mu­si­cal where there is di­a­logue in­volved.

Direc­tor An­drew Tin­dell has worked along­side Auck­land Mu­sic Theatre to bring the show to Auck­land au­di­ences. It pre­miered in Los An­ge­les in 2000.

‘‘It is com­ing at a time that we are at a turn­ing point for dis­crim­i­na­tion in some sense,’’ Man­ning says. ‘‘ There are still some sec­tions of society that are heav­ily dis­crim­i­nated against but we are lucky in New Zealand that we don’t have a hate­ful com­mu­nity.’’

While Man­ning says the au­di­ence can ex­pect a ‘‘thrilling high-oc­tane ex­pe­ri­ence’’, he also says folks may not come out grin­ning.

‘‘So of­ten we work in mu­si­cal theatre and it seems like it’s just light en­ter­tain­ment – and I love that – but it’s great to be able to ad­dress some­thing that I’m quite pas­sion­ate about. It’s just a great story told by some re­ally young tal­ented peo­ple.’’

Con­fronting opera: The char­ac­ters Ja­son, Peter and Ivy from the show Bare.

Im­por­tant sub­ject: Mu­si­cal direc­tor Andy Man­ning be­lieves Bare is a vi­tal piece about sex­u­al­ity and dis­crim­i­na­tion.

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