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Once Were Warriors Closes Triumphant

25 May 2004

Once Were Warriors Closes Triumphant

Despite predictions Once Were Warriors could not work as a musical drama the final curtain fell on the musical drama of Once Were Warriors on Saturday at the end of its planned season.

"The final performance was magnificent, absolutely stunning, people we shouting and cheering throughout the performance," say producer Tony Runacres, "I felt so proud of our achievement."

At the production's final party, Runacres, who cash flowed the production, was overwhelmed by emotion as he talked about the show.

"Producing musicals in New Zealand is a tough ask," says Runacres, "it's even tougher to produce a new New Zealand musical in New Zealand."

"Overseas a show can be tested in small towns and tweeked in advance of opening in major towns. In New Zealand we have to open in the big towns to get a large enough audience to make it viable, all the tweeking is done on the fly, it's very exciting" says Runacres.

Following for the production built throughout the run with a substantial number of New Zealanders taking the opportunity to see the show including the Highlanders, Crusaders and Blues super twelve teams.

Runacre's is delighted the production brought so many new people to the theatre, "we had a lot of young people and Maori in the audience, that's new for musical theatre in New Zealand. Hopefully our future programming will appeal continue to appeal to this people."

Among those present at the final performance was the novel's author Allan Duff who reiterated his sentiment from the opening night that the show "was stunning," adding "I'll be at the front of the plane going overseas to promote this show."

Runacres is currently in negotiations with investors and promoters locally and overseas to secure the productions future. "I'm unsure which will come first, overseas or a regional tour. Either way it wont be this year, a production of this scale requires a lot of planning."

ARTCO now looks forward to its forth-coming national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats."

"It couldn't be more different from Once Were Warriors," says Runacres, "but I'm just as passionate about that show. I love musicals and I want to continue to make it possible for the New Zealand public to share in the excitement of musicals," he says.


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