'If people only go to one show this year - this should be it," declares New Plymouth Operatic Society president Kevin Landrigan. He is referring to the society's production of The Producers, which opens on Friday.
When this Mel Brooks musical has been performed elsewhere, it has received rave reviews. The Herald Sun in Melbourne described it as "one of the best shows you will see".
The Producers is the winner of 12 Tony Awards, including best musical and best original score.
The New Plymouth production, directed by Warren Bates, includes an all-Taranaki cast of 28. It features Mark Leuthard as shady Broadway producer Max Bialystock who, along with his accountant friend Leo Bloom (played by Shaun Murphy), concocts a scheme whereby a Broadway flop will make them more money than a Broadway hit.
"Max and Leo try every trick in the book to make their production the worst show ever seen," says Landrigan.
"However, the flop turns out to be a phenomenal hit - with a lot of laughs along the way."
Leuthard has entertained Taranaki audiences in leading roles in several previous Operatic productions, but The Producers marks the first time he has trod the boards at the TSB Showplace since his memorable performance as the engineer in Miss Saigon in 2009.
Landrigan believes the New Plymouth Operatic Society's show is one of the highlights on the Taranaki Arts calendar each year.
"The Producers is staged by local people, for local people," he says.
"We have such a hugely talented local cast, supported by a really strong crew. The show could rank as one of the best we have ever produced.'
Approximately 200 Operatic members - all volunteers and all local residents - are required to stage each performance of an Operatic show.
"The cast and crew have been in rehearsals since March for this show," he says. "And rehearsals have gone very well.
"It's probably the funniest show we have ever presented."
The Producers will run at the TSB Showplace for just eight performances, and it must close on Saturday, September 8.
"The set for the show has come from the UK and we were only able to secure it for a very short window, hence a shorter season than we would normally present," Landrigan says.
This year marks New Plymouth Operatic's 60th anniversary.
Since 1952, the society has staged 83 productions for the audiences of Taranaki, with total attendances approaching 1 million people.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, the recently opened ticket outlet at the Operatic premises in King St, New Plymouth, and TSB Showplace.
Evening shows start at 7.30pm. There is a 4pm matinee on Sunday, September 2. There is no show on Monday, September 3.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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