Stagecraft Premieres Locally Written Musical 'Wonderland'
Musical premiere for Stagecraft
Stagecraft is inviting audiences to the freak show, with the premiere of a locally written musical, Wonderland, opening 30 August at the Gryphon Theatre. But it’s writer Bruno Marshall Shirley who’s been left feeling the freak after taking on directing, vocal coaching and orchestration for 16 instruments when co-writer and planned co-director Kira Josephson moved to Christchurch for work.
Bruno has been working in conducting, vocal coaching and musical direction roles with theatres around Wellington since around 2011. In 2013 he co-wrote his first musical, Right Dishonourable with Cassandra Tse.
Wonderland, Bruno’s third musical, started life as a potential children’s show, although after just a few hours brainstorming, the co-writers quickly realised they had the basis of a much darker and stranger full length show.
The story is based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, transporting her tale to post-war England. Wonderland is a travelling circus that she stumbles across after chasing after the White Rabbit.
“Setting Wonderland in a circus made sense for so many reasons,” says Bruno.
“Normal rules and social conventions don’t apply for a brief magical period. It’s a place where Alice can be challenged and tested and become more ready to take on the world. And of course it’s incredibly exciting for our design team and the cast – the theatre is being transformed into a giant circus ring, we’ve got stilt-walkers and magicians, walking tarot cards and more.”
Bruno, who also works full-time in the public service, says the late nights creating the show have been made easier by an incredibly committed cast.
“I can write fairly rhythmically challenging music and there are some in my cast who haven’t even been in a musical before. I set them a challenge to be off book in three weeks and the first time we put the books down they sang the whole show brilliantly. I couldn’t be prouder of the work they’ve put in.”
Show production manager, Julie-Anne Garnons-Williams credits Bruno for the way the cast and crew for the show have gelled.
“Stagecraft was really excited to be involved in the growing trend for innovative, smaller scale musicals in Wellington,” says Julie-Anne.
“Bruno’s just 25 but his talent and passion is making him sought out across musical theatre circles. We’re thrilled with how the show has developed and can’t wait to show it off to Wellington audiences.”
Wonderland runs 30 August to 9 September (show 31 August sold out). Tickets are $35 waged, $30 unwaged, $25 for school age children, available at iticket.co.nz. For more details visit www.stagecraft.co.nz