Ponsonby felines set to prowl the stage
The claws are out.
After a decade’s wait, Cats of Ponsonby is set to make its return to the stage.
The musical had been dormant for 10 years before composer Gary Daverne gave the script and score a revamp for the April production.
Cats of Ponsonby centres around the courtyard of a fictional Ponsonby restaurant called The Tinned Trout, and tells the tale of some very different groups of cats whose fates become intertwined.
Daverne wrote the musical with help from colleague Ray Prowse while teaching at Glenfield Intermediate School 36 years ago.
It became so popular that schools all over the country performed it.
But Daverne decided to take it off the market 10 years ago, with pop music partly to blame.
‘‘The kids can’t sing as high these days,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s because of today’s modern pop music; kids can’t sing the same.’’
Daverne is a conductor, director, composer and record producer who founded the Auckland Symphony Orchestra in 1975 and holds the title of Music Director Emeritus.
The latest rendition of Cats of Ponsonby features a slight change in music and some minor tinkering – which will incorporate a number of genres including hip hop, rock and some covers.
It will also be the first time the musical will be performed outside of a school.
‘‘Some parents say to me: ’ Wow I remember that’,’’ Daverne says.
‘‘They were in it 30 years ago and now their 10-year-old is doing it.’’
Daverne now lives in Herne Bay but got his inspiration from his previous home suburb of Ponsonby, which he fondly recalls as a great place to dine out.
Annabelle London, who plays the lead role of Katt, says the crowd will be in for quite a show.
Annabelle is an experienced tap dancer and was in the cast of the recent production of Annie the musical.
‘‘Musicals are pretty much my life now,’’ the 14-year-old says.
‘‘The songs [in Cats of Ponsonby] are amazing. They’re really interes- ting characters and the people have been chosen well.’’
Annabelle has been involved with the Playhouse Theatre since she was 9.
She says that a lot of hard work has gone into the production.
And the Rutherford College student says she couldn’t have done it without someone special in her life.
‘‘My mum has taken me to all the rehearsals and come to all my shows – she’s really supportive.’’
Feline fable: John Stephen Daverne who plays Tiger and Annabelle London who plays the lead role of Katt in the musical, Cats of Ponsonby.