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Adam Hattaway and The Haunters share new single & video and announce an 8-date nationwide tour

Christchurch’s Adam Hattaway and The Haunters release the tender new single/video ‘I Need Your Needs’, from their forthcoming album Woolston, Texas, out March 26th.

New dates added for Bill Bailey’s NZ Tour

Due to popular demand, extra tour dates have been added to Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, and Christchurch for the upcoming tour.

Christchurch – Town Hall
Thursday 18 March
+ New show just added Friday 19 March

Auckland – Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre
Tuesday 23 & Wednesday 24 March
+ New show just added Monday 5 April

Following a thumbs-up from immigration, Bill Bailey makes Aotearoa his first International touring destination post-Covid, with his 12-centre 2021 tour of New Zealand.

How did we get here? How do we find our way through this? And exactly who are we again? In Bill’s new show, EN ROUTE TO NORMAL, Bill ponders these and other questions that this moment in history has thrown up and tries to see a way through the strange unreality of our new world. With Bill naming the show before we’d even heard of Covid-19, EN ROUTE TO NORMAL has become not just a funny, heart-warming mix of stories, music and history, but a personal mission to find our way through these strange times!

“Still one of the funniest and most brilliantly original comedians around.” – The Telegraph

Tracing lines through chaotic moments in history, Bill seeks out parallels where human resilience and our ability to endure has got us through times of strife. Through music, songs, and memories, Bill considers our changing priorities, the wonder of dogs, how little things can keep you on track, and rhapsodises on his new-found love of skydiving. He recounts his own experiences of dealing with isolation, ruminating the ‘sounds of lockdown’ which led to a greater appreciation of birdsong and perhaps led to the creation of music itself, and how our reliance on technology has inspired Bill himself to create dance remixes of video-calling ringtones.

Last in Aotearoa in 2018, the British Comedy Award winner is a frequent visitor to our shores, with Kiwis flocking to theatres to see the master in action. Irreverent and immensely talented, EN ROUTE TO NORMAL will be the seventh show that Bill has brought down under, delivered with the energy the multi-faceted entertainer is known for.

“bloody excellent… The material is solid gold.” – The NZ Herald

Never one to slow down, Bill had the opportunity to fulfil some lifelong dreams when Covid put a halt to his relentless touring schedule. Most recently taking the dance floor by storm on the iconic reality series Strictly Come Dancing, Bill has also lent his voice to the animated film adaption of children’s book Dragonkeeper due for release in 2021, and managed to find time to write a new book – Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to Happiness, a collection of funny, meditative and thoughtful essays exploring the nature of happiness.

With his trademark blend of satire and surrealism, stories and dismantled jokes, crowd sing-alongs, weird instruments and musical showstoppers, don’t miss this legendary comedian, musician and actor back on stage in New Zealand in 2021.

“an exquisite romp through every comic trope, from music hall to alternative comedy, all given Bailey’s benignly impish twist…” – The Sunday Times

Great News For Wanaka Music Summit

With a grant confirmed from Central Lakes Trust, along with an outstanding array of Kiwi tutors, YAMI Sounz Summit is set to deliver a packed-outweekend of musical workshops, seminars and showcases in Wanaka, on May 8th and 9th.

Andrew Fagan to play seven North Island dates

Andrew Fagan – singer of some of the finest tunes to emerge from our shores – embarks on a North Island tour with his band in April, to perform People, solo and Mockers classics.

MQFF Together 2021 Program announced

Melbourne’s LGBTIQ+ communities will have a chance to get together again, safely, when MQFF takes over Melbourne cinemas for MQFF Together this March.

The program is now live for MQFF Together, which will screen from Thursday 11 March to Sunday 21 March 2021 at Village Cinemas Jam Factory, Cinema Nova and the Village Cinemas Coburg Drive-In. This will be the festival’s first in-cinema screenings since the postponement of its 30th festival due to coronavirus.

The impacts of COVID-19, however, have not dampened the richness of queer stories with 64 films from all parts of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer communities being featured throughout the festival.

MQFF Together will kick off with the opening night film Dating Amber, a coming-out romantic comedy set in Ireland during the mid-90s about high-school best friends who stage a relationship to hide their sexuality. The opening night will also feature the premier screening of Australian short How to be Queer – funded through MQFF’s Pitch Pleez! film competition.

The festival closes with Breaking Fast a delightfully queer rom-com that artfully explores the contradictory elements of homosexuality, Islamic politics and family. The closing night will screen with the premier screen of Australian short A Big Life also funded through MQFF.

MQFF Program Director Spiro Economopoulos says the MQFF Together program features stories in every genre and touching every part of our communities. “Whether you’re looking for a queer angle on a love story, want to see people who are just like you or want to explore the lives of other queer communities both here or overseas you will find stories at MQFF Together,” said Spiro.

MQFF Chief Executive Officer Maxwell Gratton says that MQFF Together will be the first chance for queer film lovers to get back to the cinema for MQFF and the team are making sure that the return to the big screen is as safe as possible.

“We know that our communities like to watch LGBTIQ films with other members of the community, to share in the experience of queer stories,” said Maxwell. “We are working closely with our cinema partners to ensure that we provide a safe and enjoyable experience.”

Maxwell says that screening sizes will be restricted to allow for social distancing in line with restrictions, but multiple screenings of films will provide a number of opportunities for festivalgoers to see a range of content. The festival is also planning options to move offerings online if there are any further lockdowns.

“Whilst we will have a number of films available online, we also have contingency plans in place to move a larger amount of our content online should we need to go into lockdown. This means that regardless of what happens, everyone should be getting ready to watch some of the latest in queer film this March.”

The full program and tickets for MQFF Together are available on MQFF’s website.

Tickets are on sale from 9 am Monday 22 February 2021 for members and from 9 am Tuesday 22 February for general admission.

MQFF Together is proudly supported by the City of Melbourne, Quit Victoria, Film Victoria, the City of Stonnington, Me Bank, Thorne Harbour Health, Herbert Smith Freehills, Chapel Street Precinct, Equinox Gender Diverse Health Centre and Squealing Pig.

Jersey Boys – The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – U.S. star to play Frankie

Producers of JERSEY BOYS – THE STORY OF FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS — are delighted to announce they have secured one of the world’s best musical theatre artists to perform the role of Frankie Valli for the Tony Award-winning musical’s seasons in Auckland and Wellington from May.

Hayden Milanés, who has travelled nationally and internationally playing Frankie Valli in Broadway’s hit musical JERSEY BOYS, arrived in New Zealand from New York last week and will join an outstanding New Zealand based cast.

To land the role of Frankie, the actor needed to be 5’9” (175cm) or shorter, have a strong tenor with sweet and strong falsetto and be able to sing in the style of Frankie Valli; strong tenor to high A or Bb plus strong falsetto up to treble G; charismatic and charming; must be a very strong actor (comfortable with narrative text) and have a gritty side as well as a polished veneer; must be very comfortable with traditional four-part harmonies.

Director Grant Meese explains that no stone was unturned to find a Frankie in New Zealand. “We went out to all New Zealand agents and held open auditions in Christchurch and Auckland but were unable to find someone with all these special attributes.

“As the role is unique in the world of musical theatre, we decided we’d go after the best in the world,” says Mr Meese. “With Broadway and the West End remaining closed, and New Zealand being one of only a few countries in the world where people can enjoy live performance, Hayden said yes.

“We then had to apply to have him come into the country. All the correct processes were followed and we were give the green light. I guess you could say that all our stars aligned.”

Mr Milanés joins an exceptional, New Zealand-based cast, that includes one of New Zealand’s finest theatre and television actors, Andrew Grainger, as gangster Gyp DeCarlo. A veteran of the West End, film and television, Andy’s New Zealand theatre credits include Chicago, Billy Elliott, Guys and Dolls, and Six Degrees of Separation.

Tauranga born Matt Cranleigh plays singer and songwriter Bob Gaudio. A graduate of the prestigious NIDA performing arts school in Sydney, Matt spent the next six years working in film and television in Australia and the UK including Dance Academy (ABC Australia), Home & Away (Channel 7 Australia) and The Great Gatsby (Warner Brothers). Following his time in London, Matt’s career found its way back to its roots in musical theatre as he worked in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore with Disney and Universal.

Reprising his role as the reckless gambler Tommy DeVito is Fergus Inder (Chicago; Titus Andronicus; Jesus Christ Superstar; The Wind in the Willows and A Streetcar Named Desire); Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Wicked and Les Misérables.

Andrew Coshan will play Nick Massi – the vocalist credited with training Frankie but ultimately leaving the group after tiring of their internal battles and rooming with Tommy.
An Otago University graduate, Andrew has spent much of his professional career in Melbourne, receiving a Greenroom Award nomination for best performance in a supporting role – and then his professional musical theatre debut in the ensemble of The Production Company’s Thoroughly Modern Millie. Recently, Andrew made an appearance in Neighbours as River Hannlon. Andrew’s top New Zealand based credits include Hairspray as Link Larkin, Mamma Mia as Pepper, PUNKROCK as Nicholas Chatman, Les Misérables, and The Phantom of the Opera.

Russell Dixon plays record producer Bob Crewe. Having recently directed the sold out season of Mary Poppins at The Civic, Russell’s credits include Wicked, Blood Brothers, Mamma Mia and Holiday Inn, Top Hat at London’s Aldwych Theatre and was also cast in the UK tour of The Witches of Eastwick, playing the role of Joe Marino.

Playing radio personality Barry Belson is Lewis Francis, last seen on The Civic stage in The Book of Mormon.

After being on tour with The Book of Mormon Australasia for nearly two and a half years he thrilled to be back to perform in NZ. While completing his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Auckland (majoring in Marketing and Commercial Law) he trained extensively with Frances Wilson Fitzgerald at the Auckland Opera Studio. He was then successful in becoming member of the NZ Opera freemasons chorus from 2015 – 2017. In 2015 Lewis won the president’s cup for most promising vocal artist at the North Shore Singing Competition, and also won the John bond award at NZ Aria in 2016, for the most promising vocal artist.

Today’s announcement coincides with the other exciting news that WANDR Travel is the new Presenting Sponsor of the Tony Award-winning musical, JERSEY BOYS for its New Zealand seasons in Auckland and Wellington beginning in May.

The sponsorship investment will be one of the biggest of its kind in New Zealand theatre history.
The announcements coincide with the release of final tickets to the Auckland season which has been extended one week to 16 May due to popular demand. JERSEY BOYS will open at The Civic in Auckland on 17 April then transfer to the Wellington Opera House, opening on 21 May. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.co.nz and Tickets and travel packages on wandrtravel.co.nz

Wandr Travel, general manager Mr Dan Dalton said the sponsorship reflects WANDR Travel’s ongoing commitment to the community by supporting the arts sector and complements our other sponsorships including the Auckland Unlimited Summernova festivals and The America’s Cup.

Mr Dalton said performing arts had been hit hard during Covid and so it was important to ensure it had a bright future. “Jersey Boys is one of the most popular musicals ever — a show for all seasons! It will be the biggest production to be staged in New Zealand post-lockdown and we are proud to be supporting an event that provides a strong beating heart and vitality to our cities.”

Having smashed New Zealand box office records when it first visited in 2012, JERSEY BOYS is THE most requested musical for a return season by New Zealand theatre audiences. Winner of 57 major awards worldwide, including the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, their story was so good, it was turned into a Hollywood blockbuster, produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and grossing $67 million at the box office.

Featuring hit after legendary hit including BEGGIN’, CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU, OH WHAT A NIGHT, SHERRY, WALK LIKE A MAN, BYE BYE BABY, BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY and many more, JERSEY BOYS is a story full of heart, humour and ‘sheer musical razzamatazz’.

New Zealand Jersey Boy producer Mr Terry O’Connor said he was delighted to have WANDR Travel on board as Presenting Sponsor of Jersey Boys.

“We greatly appreciate Wandr Travel’s generous support at a time when the arts sector needs it most. Without doubt, their sponsorship would be one of the most significant contributions ever made to musical theatre in New Zealand. We look forward to a successful partnership and successful seasons in Auckland and Wellington,” Mr Terry O’Connor said.

Wandr Travel will be offering packages with a combination of tickets & hotels through its site www.wandrtravel.co.nz. Customers will be able to purchase Premium tickets to all performances including the opening night and combine this with a night away at the Hilton Auckland or Sofitel Wellington. It will be the fastest way to book your tickets and travel arrangements.

Punk It Up – V – Venue + Date Change

There’s an old saying, Go Big or Go Home.

Beastwars Announces 10 Year Anniversary Tour with Special Guests Earth Tongue

Wellington sludge metal titans Beastwars are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their iconic debut self-titled album with a nationwide tour headlining the largest venues of their career.

Auckland Live Summer In The Square weekend of events cancelled

Auckland Live, our partners and artists involved in Auckland Live Summer in the Square regret to announce that due to Auckland being in Covid-19 Alert Level 2, events scheduled from Thursday 18 – Monday 22 February will not be going ahead. Due to the nature of the events planned and difficulty limiting audience numbers in Aotea Square, the events have been cancelled to support the welfare and safety of our artists, staff and audiences.

These events are:

– Rise and I am Greta, Thursday 18 February
– Live screening of The Prada Cup, Friday 18 – Monday 22 February
– Towel You What!?, Sunday 21 February 

The Latin Fiesta, which was also originally scheduled to take place Friday 19  – Sunday 21 February, has been postponed until Friday 16  – Sunday 18 April.

We are monitoring advice from the Ministry of Health and will provide further updates on the remaining Summer in the Square events scheduled for this month as soon as information is available.

Villainy Gig Update

Due to the recent change in alert levels, Villainy and their promoters made the difficult decision this morning to delay their Auckland show.