‘Happy Days’ are here again

The Tribune (NZ) - - ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT -

The Fonz! There can be few peo­ple who have never heard of Arthur Fonzarelli. Played by Henry Win­kler, the leather­jack­eted, coiffed, too cool for cool char­ac­ter was a top draw in the TV se­ries Happy Days which ran from 1974 – 84. The show was also sem­i­nal in the ca­reer of movie di­rec­tor Ron Howard who starred in the piv­otal role of whole­some teenager, Ritchie Cun­ning­ham.

Set in the decade 1955 to 1965, Happy Days was a trib­ute to a small town USA as re­flected in the Archie comics, and redo­lent of 1973 movie Amer­i­can Graf­fiti. Back in the day, this nos­tal­gia fest was ap­point­ment TV view­ing.

In 2008, came the mu­si­cal, and the Palmer­ston North Boys’ and Girls’ High pro­duc­tion of the retro Amer­i­cana show opens on the Spiers Cen­tre stage to­mor­row night.

Pe­riod plays an im­por­tant part in the pro­duc­tion. There’ll more than likely be plenty of grand-par­ents in the au­di­ence who will re­mem­ber what the 50s were like, and will pick up on any anachro­nisms. The set is decked out in the colours and the flavours of a 1950s malt shop, which in­cludes a juke­box with the rock ‘n roll hits of the era, and a mo­tor­cy­cle that’s just a year off the 1949 Tri­umph Tro­phy 500 Cus­tom that Fonzie rode in the TV show.

Amidst the angst of teenage ro­mances, the mu­sic and dance moves of the 1950s, the story hangs around Arnold’s Drivein. The iconic diner is un­der threat from some­one want­ing the site for a mall. The kids rally around with fundrais­ing schemes to save the place.

If it’s one thing the ac­tor play­ing Fonzie must have, is pres­ence – with a cap­i­tal P. He’s the guy all the guys want to be, and the guy all the girls want to be with. The snap-my-fin­gers-and-the-galss­woon role is be­ing played by Bax­ter Perry.

In the slightly adapted words of the 1976 hit theme song by Pratt & McClain Happy Days plays ‘‘Thurs­day, Thurs­day, Satur­day, Mon­day Tues­day Happy Days; Wed­nes­day Fri­day Happy Days then Satur­day, what a day, rockin’ all week with you.’’

Or in other words, on at the Speirs Cen­tre from March 10-19. Book on Eventfinda

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

The whole en­sem­ble for the Palmer­ston North Boys’ and Girls’ High School pro­duc­tion, sing it out for Happy Days. The mu­si­cal stage adap­ta­tion of the lon­grun­ning 70s TV se­ries opens in the Spiers Cen­tre this week.

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