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Debut for Ladies in Black

The cast of Ladies in Black. PHOTOS/EMMA BROWN

Broken arm can’t stop the musical

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For the first time in New Zealand, Masterton Amateur Theatre Society will debut the highly renowned Australian musical Ladies in Black.

Rehearsals are in full swing in preparation for opening night on Thursday.

Director Joanne Simpson said she first saw the show in Australia and thought it “charming”.

When asked if she would like to direct a play at MATS, she thought Ladies in Black would be a great fit.

Simpson said, “I thought it would be small, having a small cast and all, but in fact there is a lot going on. The show has a lot of scenes so there are a lot of scene changes and you need to get it to run with pace.”

The cast singing, I Got It At Goodes.

Ladies in Black is Simpson’s first time directing at MATS as well as working with an adult cast. Previously she directed “a lot of productions” during 15 years at Rathkeale College, before leaving in 2017.

She said working with adults hadn’t been too different, and it had been interesting working out how the theatre runs together with the full crew.

People can expect wonderful singing and choreography, she said, adding that the music by Tim Finn was a clever take on 1950s music.

“When I first saw the musical, I found the music very accessible,” Simpson said.

Musical director Anna McBride said. “You listen to it once and it feels like you have heard it lots of times”.

There was a bit of a panic on Friday when the orchestra found out their bass player had broken his arm.

McBride worked swiftly to find someone to fill in and is getting them up to speed.

This is not McBride’s first time as musical director, having already done it for MATS and in Wellington.

Sasha Hart who plays young lead Lisa, is finding the experience “really cool” and different as she relates to her character.

As she is in her last year of school, she feels this coming-of-age character is perfect for her as they are both finding themselves and growing.

She has enjoyed the transition from a youth cast to an adult cast, however, she sometimes misses all the madness and noise from a youth cast.

Simpson said “The show is so warm, funny, colourful and as I say, the heart is in the right place.

“I just hope that people are willing to take a chance on it and see it.

“If they only knew how much they were going to enjoy it.”

Tickets are available from eventfinda.co.nz, adult $35 or senior/student/child $25.

The musical will run for seven shows starting Thursday, July 25, with the final show on Saturday, August 3, at the MATS theatre, 137 Ngaumutawa Rd, Masterton.

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