Bravo! Fundraiser in song and dance

BRAVO! BRAVO! From the seedy Berlin Kit Kat Klub to the opulence of a 19th century Paris opera house, from the blues of Catfish Row to Rio de Janeiro’s most famous beach, musical extravaganza Bravo Bravissimo has something for everyone, as the two masked opera goers (right) can see. Picture by Mark Peters

THE opportunity to enjoy an extravaganza of West End to Broadway songs, and support Gisborne-East
Coast Cancer Society, hits the stage on Friday.

The brainchild of Gisborne man Hugo McGuinness, Bravo Bravissimo is a frothing cornucopia of song and dance routines performed by a cast of 24 in resplendent costumes, with a live on-stage orchestra.

He has taken on the role of producer and performer, and a trio of skilled professionals are in charge of direction, choreography and music.

Everyone involved has given their time and expertise free to support the cause.

The musical fundraiser for Gisborne Cancer Society is a celebration of life, Mr McGuinness said.

His inspiration to stage the show was his sister-in-law Deidre, who has lived with cancer for several years. After a third diagnosis in 2016, on her 30th wedding anniversary, McGuinness wanted to do something positive that could help in some way.

“I guess everyone has some kind of story or experience with cancer and everyone involved in Bravo Bravissimo is keen to provide a fantastic night out,” he said.

Old and new musicals

He came up with the concept of a show composed of tunes from musicals, old and new. Following his involvement with Musical Theatre Gisborne’s production of Hairspray last year, he asked the show’s Christchurch director Bryan Aitken if he would direct Bravo Bravissimo.

“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,” Mr Aitken told The Gisborne Herald earlier this month.

Performed by seasoned hands such as Treva Rice, Walter Walsh, Gavin Maclean, Lesley Nia Nia and Liz Cutts, as well as younger stars, the programme includes songs from Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Grease and Hairspray.

Because cancer affects one in three New Zealanders, Deidre McGuinness hopes people will support the Gisborne Cancer Society by buying tickets for Bravo Bravissimo.

“When you have a diagnosis of cancer, your life changes. The lives of the people closest to you also change, especially your immediate family.

“The Cancer Society has played an important part in my recent cancer journey. The support and friendship they offer, and meeting people going through different cancers but with the same hopes and fears, has been of great help to me.

"The Cancer Society does not qualify for government funding but their role in our community is huge for those living with cancer.”

Having worked in an oncology ward in Perth, and having long been involved in musical entertainment, the opportunity to perform in Bravo Bravissimo gives Lulu Vermeulenthe chance to combine her two passions, “Singing musical theatre and giving back to an amazing cause as I deal with cancer sufferers on a daily basis.

“There really are no others more deserving of our support.”

THE opportunity to enjoy an extravaganza of West End to Broadway songs, and support Gisborne-East
Coast Cancer Society, hits the stage on Friday.

The brainchild of Gisborne man Hugo McGuinness, Bravo Bravissimo is a frothing cornucopia of song and dance routines performed by a cast of 24 in resplendent costumes, with a live on-stage orchestra.

He has taken on the role of producer and performer, and a trio of skilled professionals are in charge of direction, choreography and music.

Everyone involved has given their time and expertise free to support the cause.

The musical fundraiser for Gisborne Cancer Society is a celebration of life, Mr McGuinness said.

His inspiration to stage the show was his sister-in-law Deidre, who has lived with cancer for several years. After a third diagnosis in 2016, on her 30th wedding anniversary, McGuinness wanted to do something positive that could help in some way.

“I guess everyone has some kind of story or experience with cancer and everyone involved in Bravo Bravissimo is keen to provide a fantastic night out,” he said.

Old and new musicals

He came up with the concept of a show composed of tunes from musicals, old and new. Following his involvement with Musical Theatre Gisborne’s production of Hairspray last year, he asked the show’s Christchurch director Bryan Aitken if he would direct Bravo Bravissimo.

“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,” Mr Aitken told The Gisborne Herald earlier this month.

Performed by seasoned hands such as Treva Rice, Walter Walsh, Gavin Maclean, Lesley Nia Nia and Liz Cutts, as well as younger stars, the programme includes songs from Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Grease and Hairspray.

Because cancer affects one in three New Zealanders, Deidre McGuinness hopes people will support the Gisborne Cancer Society by buying tickets for Bravo Bravissimo.

“When you have a diagnosis of cancer, your life changes. The lives of the people closest to you also change, especially your immediate family.

“The Cancer Society has played an important part in my recent cancer journey. The support and friendship they offer, and meeting people going through different cancers but with the same hopes and fears, has been of great help to me.

"The Cancer Society does not qualify for government funding but their role in our community is huge for those living with cancer.”

Having worked in an oncology ward in Perth, and having long been involved in musical entertainment, the opportunity to perform in Bravo Bravissimo gives Lulu Vermeulenthe chance to combine her two passions, “Singing musical theatre and giving back to an amazing cause as I deal with cancer sufferers on a daily basis.

“There really are no others more deserving of our support.”

Bravo Bravissimo, Cancer Society black tie benefit extravaganza, War Memorial Theatre, Friday, 7.30pm, $100 per ticket (includes champagne and nibbles).

Book at Stephen Jones Photography or TicketDirect.

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