Do­min­ion Rd put up in lights

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - MANDY TE

‘‘Do­min­ion Rd The Mu­si­cal is about be­ing a voice for the peo­ple’’

Do­min­ion Rd’s multi-eth­nic make-up will be brought to life in a mu­si­cal.

Writ­ten by Re­nee Liang and Jun Bin Lee, Do­min­ion Rd The Mu­si­cal ex­plores the back sto­ries of busi­ness own­ers and res­i­dents who found them­selves fight­ing politi­cians from re­brand­ing part of the road Chi­na­town.

Last year a pop­u­lar com­mer­cial strip of Do­min­ion Rd in Bal­moral was un­of­fi­cially re­branded with a Chi­nese name, de­spite op­po­si­tion to­wards Auck­land Coun­cil brand­ing the area as ‘‘Auck­land’s Chi­na­town’’.

Liang said she re­mem­bered feel­ing ‘‘in­censed’’ when she first read that Auck­land Coun­cil was look­ing at re­nam­ing the Bal­moral precinct.

‘‘For so long, Do­min­ion Rd has har­boured mi­grants and their sto­ries from all cul­tures. Putting in fake sig­ni­fiers, no mat­ter how glossy or well meant, could change the or­ganic growth of this area and drive all those orig­i­nal busi­nesses away,’’ Liang said.

‘‘What bet­ter way to ar­gue this point than with a brand new mu­si­cal.’’

The home­grown pro­duc­tion will fea­ture a pro­fes­sional cast of five as well as more than 10 com­mu­nity mem­bers.

Many of those in­volved have ei­ther past or present ties to Do­min­ion Rd.

Di­rec­tor Borni Te Ron­gopai Tuki­waho said he got in­volved with the mu­si­cal af­ter hav­ing worked with writer and com­poser Jun Bin Lee.

‘‘I knew I would en­joy the mu­si­cal­ity of it and I re­ally liked the idea of the story.’’

Lee said the pro­duc­tion in­cluded tra­di­tional in­stru­ments such as erhu, guzheng, sitar and tabla ‘‘to rep­re­sent and en­rich these multi-eth­nic char­ac­ters’’.

Tuki­waho said the mu­si­cal was a slice of Auck­land life pos­i­tively re­flected on stage.

‘‘In the­atre, we don’t get to see di­ver­sity in one space; we usu­ally see in­di­vid­ual sto­ries,’’ Tuki­waho said.

‘‘Ev­ery­body gets put in a box and those boxes need to be bro­ken down.’’

The pro­duc­tion was also open to the com­mu­nity and the old­est choir mem­ber was 87 years old.

Vo­cal coach Lav­ina Wil­liams said ‘‘ Do­min­ion Rd The Mu­si­cal is about be­ing a voice for the peo­ple’’.

‘‘It is a huge roller coaster ride of emo­tions and good ed­u­ca­tion about cul­ture in New Zealand.’’

Do­min­ion Rd The Mu­si­cal will run from Au­gust 9 to Au­gust 19 at Play­house The­atre, Glen Eden.

SUPPLIED/AN­DREW MALMO

Do­min­ion Rd The mu­si­cal will pre­miere in Au­gust. Lav­ina Wil­liams

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