Mamma Mia leads Russell Dixon and Ali Harper at rehearsal this week. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Abba fans are getting excited about hit musical Mamma
Mia debuting in Dunedin.
And that's just the ones in the production.
''I think we're all Abba fans, aren't we?'' lead Ali Harper
enthused this week.
''They're such great songs and great characters. It's been a
really fun show to do. We're singing and dancing to all the
songs we grew up with.''
The Christchurch singer and actor said she could not resist
the lure of the internationally acclaimed musical.
''I first saw it in Melbourne 12 years ago, so when I had the
chance to be involved in the Dunedin production, I was
chuffed. It's a bucket list thing. It's been on everywhere;
Broadway, West End ... and now Dunedin.''
Director Doug Kamo said securing Harper was a coup.
''She brings a wealth of acting experience, as well as a
voice that, right now, is one of the best in the country for
this particular production. It's a big role, as the show
hinges on her performance.''
Harper appeared at the Fortune Theatre last year during a
national tour of her one-woman show Bombshells, which
won her actress of the year at the Chapman Tripp Theatre
She will be joined by fellow lead Russell Dixon, of Auckland,
who has been performing at the West End in London.
''I came back early to do this,'' Dixon said.
''You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't know Abba.
They have such a huge repertoire. You already know most of
It will be the first time the 13-year-old international hit
musical has been seen in the South Island.
Mr Kamo said five extra shows had been added to the Dunedin
season, which opens at the Regent Theatre on May 22, after
''unprecedented'' pre-sales of nearly 5000 tickets to the
scheduled four shows.
''We had to add more [shows] to cope with the demand for
tickets. We initially only released four shows, to test the
market, and we've been delighted with the response.''
Taieri Musical executive producer Tania Graham said the heavy
interest was encouraging after such a big investment in the
''There is nothing better than to be rewarded with full
houses, after the countless hours the cast give to