Show career on a whim

Former Lytton High School student Rutene Spooner’s stellar career in musical theatre brings the young tenor back to Gisborne next week.

Former Lytton High School student Rutene Spooner’s stellar career in musical theatre brings the young tenor back to Gisborne next week.

THE TENOR: Former Gisborne man Rutene Spooner (centre) in last year’s Auckland Theatre Company production of Billy Elliot, The Musical. Spooner is in Gisborne next week performing in the Operatunity show It’s Rainin’ Men! Picture supplied

From Gisborne to Edinburgh, former Lytton High School student Rutene Spooner’s stellar career in musical theatre brings the young tenor back for a stop-over in his home town next week.

As part of the all-male cast in touring company Operatunity’s It’s Rainin’ Men! Spooner, Bonaventure Allan-Moetaua, Rory Nolan and Cameron Barclay will perform songs from acts such as The Beatles, The Temptations, and Billy Joel.

The day after the nationwide tour of It’s Rainin’ Men! ends, Spooner flies to Scotland where he will perform with the Modern Maori Quartet at the Edinburgh Festival.

While a Lytton High student, he performed in a couple of school productions, and was involved with kapa haka, but his decision to take on musical theatre as a career was a whim, he says.

In 2009 he trained at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) in Christchurch and was an intern with the South Island city’s Court Theatre. Having taken on the role of the good-natured miner Big Davey in last year’s Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) production of Billy Elliot, Spooner made Auckland his home.

Musical theatre is a discipline that does not provide a lot of work until towards the end of the year in New Zealand, he says. He has created other opportunities though.

“I work with the Court Theatre on bilingual shows. I wrote a children’s show in English and te reo that the theatre tours around schools.”

ATC recently toured Maui Me te Ra, Spooner’s adaptation of the Maui and the sun story. He also wrote the music for this show. Spooner gets a little screen work (he played Parekura in the 2002 movie Whale Rider) but the highlight this year was to be part of the backing group for Adele during the English singer’s end-of-tour visit to New Zealand.

Right now, he is in rehearsal for a Jennifer Ward-Lealand-directed production of another show he has written, Superhuman.

The one-man play will hit the stage as part of an international cabaret festival in September.

“The play is created in a way that can be toured,” says Spooner. “No doubt it will be toured to Gisborne. I love the chance to come home and work.”

From Gisborne to Edinburgh, former Lytton High School student Rutene Spooner’s stellar career in musical theatre brings the young tenor back for a stop-over in his home town next week.

As part of the all-male cast in touring company Operatunity’s It’s Rainin’ Men! Spooner, Bonaventure Allan-Moetaua, Rory Nolan and Cameron Barclay will perform songs from acts such as The Beatles, The Temptations, and Billy Joel.

The day after the nationwide tour of It’s Rainin’ Men! ends, Spooner flies to Scotland where he will perform with the Modern Maori Quartet at the Edinburgh Festival.

While a Lytton High student, he performed in a couple of school productions, and was involved with kapa haka, but his decision to take on musical theatre as a career was a whim, he says.

In 2009 he trained at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) in Christchurch and was an intern with the South Island city’s Court Theatre. Having taken on the role of the good-natured miner Big Davey in last year’s Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) production of Billy Elliot, Spooner made Auckland his home.

Musical theatre is a discipline that does not provide a lot of work until towards the end of the year in New Zealand, he says. He has created other opportunities though.

“I work with the Court Theatre on bilingual shows. I wrote a children’s show in English and te reo that the theatre tours around schools.”

ATC recently toured Maui Me te Ra, Spooner’s adaptation of the Maui and the sun story. He also wrote the music for this show. Spooner gets a little screen work (he played Parekura in the 2002 movie Whale Rider) but the highlight this year was to be part of the backing group for Adele during the English singer’s end-of-tour visit to New Zealand.

Right now, he is in rehearsal for a Jennifer Ward-Lealand-directed production of another show he has written, Superhuman.

The one-man play will hit the stage as part of an international cabaret festival in September.

“The play is created in a way that can be toured,” says Spooner. “No doubt it will be toured to Gisborne. I love the chance to come home and work.”

Operatunity presents It’s Rainin’ Men!, the War Memorial Theatre, July 5, 11am. Tickets available from Stephen Jones Photography or TicketDirect.

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