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Waikato ‘world premier’ musical celebrates opening success

11 July 2014

Waikato ‘world premier’ musical celebrates opening night success

Hamilton’s Clarence St Theatre was packed-out last night as hundreds of locals flooded in to see the opening night of world premiere New Zealand rock opera musical ‘State Highway 48’.

The locally written musical is based on the at-times “tumultuous” journey of life at middle age and set to continue showing at the Hamilton-based theatre for the next two nights.

And following opening night, the writer himself, Hamilton musician Chris Williams, couldn’t be more impressed with the turnout or the standard of performance.

“Last night was an amazing life experience. I have been working on State Highway 48 for the previous five years and was incredibly excited, albeit nervous, to finally share it with the region.

“And it all exceeded my expectations. Lead performers Bryan Bevege and Kersten Hickman are truly some of Waikato, and New Zealand’s, leading performers. They captured the emotion of the musical in a way that was raw and real,” he said.

“Hundreds of people came to enjoy the show, and ticket sales are looking similarly impressive for the next two nights. I hope as many locals as possible will choose to see what State Highway 48 has to offer.”

Following its premiere at Clarence Street Theatre, State Highway 48 is one of the only musicals written by a New Zealander performed to such a large commercial extent.

The musical, told through lyrics, melodies, and dance, traces a typical middle-aged couple, their kids and their friends as they grapple with their daily lives, relationships and work.

“Really it’s a commentary on life at middle age, intended to help make us all feel that it’s perfectly normal to have some ups and downs, and that we can all feel comfortable in our own skins. I also wanted to emphasise what’s important, which above all is communication and family,” Williams said.

“Eventually I’d like to tell the State Highway 48 story to a world-wide audience. I want people to go away fully entertained; but also with the feeling that they related to the story.

"It’s a reminder that sometimes those who appear to be on top of things are those who are most struggling. Everyone has their own battles they are struggling to overcome, whether it is relationship issue, work, or something else.

“Expect laughs, a few tears, and a happy ending,” he said.

Tickets are available now through or through Ticketek.


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