May is show­time Manawatu

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY - Mal­colm Hop­wood

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.

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