Bravo Bravissimo!

Musical fundraiser for the Gisborne Cancer Society 'a celebration of life'.

Musical fundraiser for the Gisborne Cancer Society 'a celebration of life'.

A CELEBRATION OF LIFE: Resplendent in a selection of costumes for Cancer Society fundraiser, Bravo Bravissimo, a production of top songs from movie musicals, are some of the show’s 24 cast members. Among the show’s cast of seasoned and younger performers are (front) Ollie Simpson, Suzan Anderson, Myles Ashworth, (back) Walter Walsh, Brianan Barton, Hugo McGuinness and Lulu Vermeulen. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

Everyone has been touched by cancer one way or another, but an upcoming musical fundraiser for the Gisborne Cancer Society is a celebration of life, says producer and performer Hugo McGuinness.

Bravo Bravissimo is an exuberant song and dance extravaganza made up of tunes from musicals, old and new, performed by a cast of 24. Accompanying songs from shows such as Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Grease and Hairspray is a live, on-stage orchestra.

The production is in the capable hands of director Bryan Aitken who directed Musical Theatre Gisborne’s 2016 production of Hairspray. Chris Reynolds is musical director and Leanne Murphy is on choreography.

Cast of seasoned performers

The cast is made up of seasoned performers such as Treva Rice, Gavin Maclean, Lesley Nia Nia and Liz Cutts as well as younger stars. Among them are Myles Ashworth and Matt Hatten. As a high energy, knockabout duo in Musical Theatre Gisborne’s production of Beauty and the Beast, Ashworth and Hatten were among the show’s highlights.

Tairawhiti Museum’s collection manager by day, classically-trained singer by night, Madeleine Jones is a newcomer to Gisborne theatre, but brings a knockout singing voice and stage presence to her performances. She most recently took the floor at the museum’s gallery where visitors to the Te Ha art awards opening night on Friday were greeted by her performance of Handel’s V’adoro pupille and Ombra mai fu, accompanied by Hemi Porou on harpsichord.

“I’ve always taken singing lessons and have sung in choirs,” says Jones.

“Once I got a proper job, I thought I’d get proper training.”

Before she came to Gisborne last November to take up her role as collections manager at the museum, Jones got serious about singing. She trained and performed for 18 months in Christchurch with professional opera singers Amanda and Ravil Atlas.

Since her arrival in ,she has performed in the Gisborne Choral Society’s production of Shaky Places, and as the singing wardrobe, Madame de la Grande Bouche, in Beauty and the Beast.

As an all-singing star in Bravo Bravissimo, Jones is in her element. In one number, Jones sings Phantom of the Opera song All I Ask of You, with Walter Walsh.

“It’s a different style, a different feeling, a different colour and a different way of singing.

“There is a huge variety of songs in Bravo Bravissimo. Everybody in the cast suggests a number they would like to sing. Some are dance numbers. There are group numbers, solos and duets.”

Experienced performer Liz Cutts is rapt she is involved in two songs from the musical Cabaret. A chorus singer in Keren Rickard’s 2012 production of the show, Cutts now gets to sing the musical’s title song in Bravo Bravissimo.

“I have a lovely blood red dress for that number,” she says.

Other resplendent costumes provided by Showbiz Christchurch are worn by the two performers who dance to a rendition of Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. The woman wears a long sequined number and tall, feathery head-dress while her male partner is glorious in a rainbow-coloured shirt with ruffled sleeves.

Cutts is also one of four dancers to take the stage during Suzan Andersen’s rendition of Mein Herr, another powerful song from Cabaret.

“It’s nice to mix it up,” she says.

Aitken was more than happy to say yes to McGuinness’s request to direct the show.

“Hugo came up with the concept. He wanted the production to be all show tunes a lot of people will recognise.

“The songs in the show are from new musicals as well as old favourites. It’s a box of allsorts.”

The former associate artistic director of Christchurch’s Court Theatre, now a freelance director, is keen to give back to the community.

“I was taken by the range of talent in Gisborne and because this is a charity event I’m giving my time to help create a musical and visual spectacle,” Aitken says.

“A lot of people have come together to support this Gisborne community event. People I worked with in Hairspray have offered their time and talent.

“It’s going to be a celebration of life.”

Everyone has been touched by cancer one way or another, but an upcoming musical fundraiser for the Gisborne Cancer Society is a celebration of life, says producer and performer Hugo McGuinness.

Bravo Bravissimo is an exuberant song and dance extravaganza made up of tunes from musicals, old and new, performed by a cast of 24. Accompanying songs from shows such as Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Grease and Hairspray is a live, on-stage orchestra.

The production is in the capable hands of director Bryan Aitken who directed Musical Theatre Gisborne’s 2016 production of Hairspray. Chris Reynolds is musical director and Leanne Murphy is on choreography.

Cast of seasoned performers

The cast is made up of seasoned performers such as Treva Rice, Gavin Maclean, Lesley Nia Nia and Liz Cutts as well as younger stars. Among them are Myles Ashworth and Matt Hatten. As a high energy, knockabout duo in Musical Theatre Gisborne’s production of Beauty and the Beast, Ashworth and Hatten were among the show’s highlights.

Tairawhiti Museum’s collection manager by day, classically-trained singer by night, Madeleine Jones is a newcomer to Gisborne theatre, but brings a knockout singing voice and stage presence to her performances. She most recently took the floor at the museum’s gallery where visitors to the Te Ha art awards opening night on Friday were greeted by her performance of Handel’s V’adoro pupille and Ombra mai fu, accompanied by Hemi Porou on harpsichord.

“I’ve always taken singing lessons and have sung in choirs,” says Jones.

“Once I got a proper job, I thought I’d get proper training.”

Before she came to Gisborne last November to take up her role as collections manager at the museum, Jones got serious about singing. She trained and performed for 18 months in Christchurch with professional opera singers Amanda and Ravil Atlas.

Since her arrival in ,she has performed in the Gisborne Choral Society’s production of Shaky Places, and as the singing wardrobe, Madame de la Grande Bouche, in Beauty and the Beast.

As an all-singing star in Bravo Bravissimo, Jones is in her element. In one number, Jones sings Phantom of the Opera song All I Ask of You, with Walter Walsh.

“It’s a different style, a different feeling, a different colour and a different way of singing.

“There is a huge variety of songs in Bravo Bravissimo. Everybody in the cast suggests a number they would like to sing. Some are dance numbers. There are group numbers, solos and duets.”

Experienced performer Liz Cutts is rapt she is involved in two songs from the musical Cabaret. A chorus singer in Keren Rickard’s 2012 production of the show, Cutts now gets to sing the musical’s title song in Bravo Bravissimo.

“I have a lovely blood red dress for that number,” she says.

Other resplendent costumes provided by Showbiz Christchurch are worn by the two performers who dance to a rendition of Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. The woman wears a long sequined number and tall, feathery head-dress while her male partner is glorious in a rainbow-coloured shirt with ruffled sleeves.

Cutts is also one of four dancers to take the stage during Suzan Andersen’s rendition of Mein Herr, another powerful song from Cabaret.

“It’s nice to mix it up,” she says.

Aitken was more than happy to say yes to McGuinness’s request to direct the show.

“Hugo came up with the concept. He wanted the production to be all show tunes a lot of people will recognise.

“The songs in the show are from new musicals as well as old favourites. It’s a box of allsorts.”

The former associate artistic director of Christchurch’s Court Theatre, now a freelance director, is keen to give back to the community.

“I was taken by the range of talent in Gisborne and because this is a charity event I’m giving my time to help create a musical and visual spectacle,” Aitken says.

“A lot of people have come together to support this Gisborne community event. People I worked with in Hairspray have offered their time and talent.

“It’s going to be a celebration of life.”

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