Bringing Broadway to the Capital stage
Despite being situated a world away from both Broadway and London’s West End, there’s a growing appetite for musical theatre in New Zealand.
That’s according to seasoned British director and performer Andy Reiss who will soon test his theory when he brings his show Beyond the Barricade to Wellington.
‘‘There seems to be a lot of societies who really want to do these types of shows so certainly the fan base for musical theatre exists there so I hope that we can play a small part in bringing some of those sounds and those fantastic musicals people haven’t heard for a while.’’
The show will feature music from several popular musicals including The Phantom of the Opera, Evita and West Side Story.
Reiss, who previously worked as a performer and resident director for Les Miserables, came up with the idea for the concert 17 years ago, alongside his costar David Fawcett.
It originally began as a charity show, performed every Sunday, but Reiss said that was just the start.
‘‘We thought we’d carry on doing them and it sort of created a life of its own and we’ve not stopped since.’’
Reiss believed it was not only the variety of songs on offer, that had made the show such a success for so many years.
‘‘We don’t use backing tracks, so every musical note is played and sung live.’’
He said the cast wanted to deliver the music as if the audience were watching the actual shows.
Lunchbox Theatrical Productions chief executive James Cundall saw the show last year while in the UK and said he was bowled over by the quality of their performances, and the intimate ambience of the show.
‘‘Having brought many of the top musicals to New Zealand over the last two decades, I instantly thought they would be warmly received by the many musical theatre lovers here.’’
Reiss said the Wellington audience could expect a ‘‘full on onslaught of some of the biggest songs in musical theatre.’’
The cast will travel from Kerikeri to Invercargill on a 21-stop concert tour that Reiss said he was both nervous and excited about.
‘‘We can not wait to get there.’’
* Beyond the Barricade, The Opera House, October 1. Book at Ticketek.
Beyond the Barricade features only those who have been cast members in Les Miserables.