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New Zealand Premiere of Sizzling New York Dramedy

Auckland Theatre Company brings the hit show, which popularised the famous phrase ‘six degrees of separation’ to ASB Waterfront Theatre in August


The sixth show in Auckland Theatre Company’s (ATC) 2019 season is the New Zealand premiere of Olivier Award-winning play Six Degrees of Separation by American playwright John Guare.

Adapted into the 1993 feature film starring Stockard Channing, Donald Sutherland and Will Smith, the astounding story - based on real life events - depicts the lives of suave, sophisticated and wealthy Manhattan art dealers Flan and Ouisa Kittredge, who are all about keeping up appearances in ‘90s New York.

Their world of comfort and respectability is suddenly turned upside down following the arrival of Paul, who introduces himself as a friend of the Kittredge’s Ivy League children. Only when they begin to piece together the truth do the cracks in the veneer come into clear view and with them a sharp lesson in human connection.

A cultural touchstone, Six Degrees of Separation not only gave rise to the popular catchphrase but also stunned audiences with its blistering satire of class and race relations in 1990. This multi award-winning work has lost none of its brilliant intellect and whip-smart humour.

Headlining the cast in the MiNDFOOD season of Six Degrees of Separation is Jennifer Ward-Lealand CNZM (Vermillion, Lysistrata, Dirty Laundry) as dazzling aristocratic wife Louisa,Andrew Grainger (Filthy Business, The Cherry Orchard, Nell Gwynn) in the role of art dealer Flan, and Lisa Chappell (Shortland Street - The Musical, That Bloody Woman, Polo) as Kitty.Tane Williams-Accra (Shortland Street 2015 - 2019) will make his Auckland Theatre Company debut as the charming Paul.

ATC Artistic Director Colin McColl, who is directing the play, says, “Six Degrees of Separation is a comedy of manners. It pokes fun at the pretentiousness of New York elite society but the wonderful irony is that they too, are all living on their wits. It’s like a mirror, reflecting the upper-classes as essentially the same as the con-man who reinvents himself to get ahead.”

Also in the cast are well-known actors Mark Wright (The Audience, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Streaker), Bruce Phillips (Take A Chance On Me, 360, Brokenwood Mysteries 2), Brynley Stent (Peer Gynt [Recycled], Funny Girls, Jono & Ben) and Shimpal Lelisi(Sione’s Wedding, The Naked Samoans, The Good Soul of Szechuan). Joining them are vibrant newcomers Joe Witkowski (Filthy Business, Under the Mountain), dancer Matthew Moore and recent Toi Whakaari graduate Leo Maggs.

In the creative team, McColl is joined by renowned New York stylist and Costume Designer Lucy Jane Senior (Polo, Boys will be Boys, Other Desert Cities). Lucy will bring her trademark elegance and impeccable style to the production.

Set Designer John Parker (Shortland Street - The Musical, Still Life with Chickens, Red Speedo), Lighting Designer Jo Kilgour (Filthy Business, Amadeus, Nell Gwynn) and Sound Designer Sean Lynch (The Audience, The Daylight Atheist/Joan, Rendered) complete the experienced creative team.

In a similar vein as previous hit ATC shows Other Desert Cities, The Glass Menagerie andAugust: Osage County, Kiwi audiences will relish this fiercely intelligent and entertaining American satire.

The MiNDFOOD season of Six Degrees of Separation plays at ASB Waterfront Theatre 14 - 29 August.


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