May is showtime Manawatu
I think I’ve stumbled on a name for Palmerston North. With celebrations for the 50th Manawatu Jazz Festival starting next month, I’ve called it Swing City.
There are not many communities in New Zealand who’ve sustained and grown a jazz festival since the 1960s, but Palmerston North has achieved it year after year.
Starting in May with the cafe scene in Feilding, then spreading to Palmerston North, the festival offers the best in local, national and international entertainment. Our own jazz musicians will provide the gigs in Feilding and Palmerston North and enrich the line-up of artists.
US drummer Dave Weckl comes with massive credentials as well as Santana’s lead singer Tony Lindsay. Then there’s the incomparable Rodger Fox Big Band with vocalist Erna Ferry.
But watch out for the All Girl Big Band from Christchurch, making their first North Island appearance since they were formed only last year.
Rodger, who’s artistic director, tells me jazz is main stream because it covers many aspects of music such as blues, trad, dixie, Latin, bebop, jazz fusion, big band and swing. It’s swing, made famous in the era of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, that’s much loved by older jazz musicians.
It’s a cool name for the city and I think Palmerston North should adopt it.
Musical theatre can tell so many dramatic and tragic stories – just think of Les Miserables, Blood Brothers and Phantom of the Opera – that it’s great when some musical genius writes an amusing and comedic show. Think back to the era of Noel Coward and Cole Porter.
So I’m looking forward to Abbey Musical Theatre’s
Forbidden Broadway. It’s not a show as much as a revue that parodies musical theatre.
Forbidden Broadway first appeared in New York 35 years ago to outrageously ‘‘send up’’ the latest shows and the stars who made them famous. Since then it’s been reinvented many times and the latest rewrite will be presented at AMT’s Auditorium from May 19-June 3.
AMT has chosen an experienced cast of 11 to sing, act and dance the riotous parodies of songs from the shows.
Be ready to experience fresh lyrics to numbers from such
shows as Wicked, Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, MAMMA MIA! and Legally Blonde.
Another May highlight will be Roger Hall’s hit comedy Four Flat Whites in Italy. The play is classic Roger Hall when two mismatched couples negotiate a later-in-life OE in Italy. It will strike not just a chord but a whole musical score with many of us. Four Flat Whites in
Italy is on a national tour and comes to the Regent on Saturday, May 20.
The day before features one of New Zealand’s largest nationally-devised productions. Tiki Taane
Mahuta combines theatre, aerial performance, contemporary dance, kapa haka, mau rakau and hip hop.
The production receives its premiere in Palmerston North on May 19 before a New Zealand tour. Tiki Taane Mahuta is a powerful story of love, tragic loss, reconciliation and new beginnings.
Directed by Feilding based, Tanemahuta Gray, and starring Tiki Taane, who lived here for several years, the show is an incredible moving story told with all the impressive resources that multimedia can provide.
May is showtime and we’re in for a great month.
Paul Barrett, Hilary Norris, Phil Grieve and Lyndee-Jane Rutherford from Four Flat Whites in Italy.