Harperdelights in soloshow
Ten years after taking to the stage in one-woman show Bombshells, Ali Harper is back to delight Manawatu audiences in The Court Theatre’s production of Joanna MurraySmith’s Songs for Nobodies.
Harper will take audiences on a journey to meet five everyday working women whose lives were changed by a chance encounter with a star. Each of these five women’s stories are interspersed with songs that made Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Edith Piaf, Billie Holliday and Maria Callas worldwide musical icons.
Joining Harper in bringing this show to New Zealand audiences is The Court Theatre’s Artistic Director, Ross Gumbley, who also directed Bombshells, and Musical Director Richard Marrett.
‘‘Ali and I have been looking for a vehicle to work on together since we did Bombshells, back in 2007. Songs
For Nobodies requires a Herculean effort from one incredibly talented performer who needs to have the musical chops to be able to sing the songs of these five divas, and that’s an incredible technical feat, but it’s also an incredible platform to showcase Ali’s incredible skills and strengths,’’ Gumbley says.
As Ali performed Bombshells extensively across the globe, and won the Best Actress award at the United Solo Festival in New York, following Bette Midler’s win the year before, she has developed a close relationship with Murray-Smith. Due to Murray-Smith’s explicit trust in Ali as a performer, she agreed to grant the exclusive New Zealand rights to The Court Theatre, on the condition that it would be Ali performing the show.
‘‘In my 25 year career, there have been a handful of scripts that have come my way and have felt like a gift. Songs For Nobodies is one of those gifts. One woman plays are nothing new to me but this particular one is going to stretch and challenge me in new areas, which is both invigorating and terrifying,’’ Harper says. In developing her performance for
Songs For Nobodies, Harper has the unique challenge of having to master 10 different accents, 10 complex characters and five different singing styles.
‘‘It’s a fascinating piece of drama to work on,’’ Gumbley says. ‘‘The script has a greater level of maturity and complexity than Bombshells. The maturity comes through as the women in the play go to a deeper level, celebrate the human condition and consider what it really means to be ‘living the dream’.’’
Lighting designer Sean Hawkins will utilise the simplicity of Richard Van Den Berg’s set, which has allowed his designs to become a central part of the show. Sound designer Giles Tanner will work alongside Marrett and Gumbley to develop the complexities of the sound, transporting audiences into the world of each of the different characters.
Songs for Nobodies opens at Centrepoint on August 19 and runs until September 9 at 6.30pm (Wed/ Thurs), 8pm (Fri/Sat) 5pm (Sunday). Tickets $16-$40. Bookings 06 354 5740 or centrepoint.co.nz.
Ali Harper back to delight Manawatu withOne-WomanRevue